We had the pleasure of chatting to music producer, sound designer, composer and TikTokker So Wylie! Keep reading to hear about her journey within music, what she thinks makes a TikTok hit and her viral success. Let’s go!
Hi Wylie! Thanks so much for talking with us today. Let’s kick off with what you do and how you got started in music.
I’m a music producer, composer, and sound designer based in New York. I began writing music during childhood on the piano and violin, and eventually studied music composition at a conservatory, focusing on experimental chamber music. While I was there, I had a part-time job in live sound, and that work transformed into post-production work, mixing and creating sound design and music for film and podcasts. The composition and production work I was doing on scores then lead me to start producing for songwriters and artists in the studio.
What drew you to TikTok and how has it complemented the work you do as a producer and sound designer?
I started posting on TikTok to connect with other musicians and put myself out there as a producer. I’m comfortable with a certain level of visibility into my work, because I remember when I was coming up how valuable a peek behind the curtain can be. Plus, I love video editing and photography, so making videos is something I like to do anyway!
Have you learned anything from TikTok that you have implemented into your work? Such as tips, ideas etc?
I’ve thought a lot about how most TikTok sounds and videos that do well have an element of storytelling. There is a drop, a shift in emotion, or some type of spoken prompt. I like to think about how I can tell stories in music I make outside the platform, too.
What trends are you currently seeing in TikTok music and sounds that is going viral on the platform?
One of the biggest facets of TikTok is that a lot of the content is iterative – copying or morphing something that already exists. With that in mind, I think music that has an element that people recognize, or even pairing one familiar sound or song with an unfamiliar one, can drive people’s interest.
You went viral on TikTok for making beats out of bird sounds – how did that come about and why do you think so many people enjoyed it?
It came about when I read an article about the northern saw-whet owl that was stuck in the Rockefeller tree. I’ve always had a soft spot for owls, so I researched it and played back its call, and wanted to make some music with it for fun. I made it that afternoon, and I think people enjoyed it because firstly birds are awesome! Secondly, I think it’s satisfying to see a sped up version of how something random like a bird call could develop into a melody.
What elements do you think form a TikTok hit (video or sound wise)?
Sort of what I said earlier. There are a few different approaches you can take, but as long as your content has a story and an eventual payoff, it is more likely to take off than something without either of those things.
What advice would you give producers when it comes to crafting tracks, specifically for TikTok music?
I’d say be yourself and try to show who you are as a musician. Also understand people are busy and easily distracted, so try to give them a reason to stick around. And try to give them that reason in the first 5 seconds. Beyond that, lean into whatever makes your music yours!
What’s your favorite TikTok trend or challenge so far?
I loved when the producer Kato On The Track made a beat and Reyannamaria rapped over it in a duet, and it was so good she got signed, and they put the song out as “So Pretty”. So cool to see that happen in real time just due to the strength of the music!
Are you working on any music at the moment? If TikTok music, are there any current trends or elements you’re looking to use?
I’m finishing up scoring a horror-comedy at the moment, and I’m also working on a remix for the artist Morgxn for their song Porcelain. I’ve posted some snippets on socials if you’re curious, I’m obsessed with it! I have some other releases coming out in the next few months as well, so follow my socials to hear about those!
Lastly, who are your favorite TikTokkers and why?
A big thanks to So Wylie for her insight (and for all the awesome music she’s been sharing with us all!) To see what she’s up to, you can keep track of her and her work here:
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to also check out our interview on TikTok with Rocky Paterra – another fantastic TikTok creator and actor/musician.