Remember Tay Zonday? Remember “Chocolate Rain”? He who moves away from the mic to breathe in and his deep-voiced viral hit first took YouTube by storm 10 years ago yesterday, and Zonday caught up with BT News on the anniversary of the song’s release to discuss his past decade of memedom.
So what’s it like to go from some dude getting his doctorate in American studies to an overnight viral sensation? “I know I did about 30 radio interviews in the course of a week,” Zonday says. “Three of the four major labels wanted to sign me. People contacted me to sing at their corporate parties, their kids’ Bar Mitzvahs, sign me to publishing deals. It was extremely overwhelming.”
Nowadays, that kind of viral attention would likely translate to some serious cash, but Tay decided to give “Chocolate Rain” away as a free download, a decision he now regrets. “If I had made smarter business choices when it was hot that would have been good, but I didn’t know,” he laments.
But in a world where Donald Trump can become president of the United States, Zonday believes that the song’s lyrics about racism still apply, even if only “about 20% of people who watched it at the time appreciated a deeper social message,” as he admits. “I think I’m very lucky to have content that is truly evergreen. I feel ‘Chocolate Rain’ is as relevant today as it was 10 years ago.”
Revisit his evergreen content below.