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Tayler Holder knows that people might see his debut single, “100 Rounds,” as “just another TikToker trying to make music.” But he is determined to make “musician” the descriptor at the forefront of his identity, five years into his career on the internet.
When he arrived in Los Angeles half a decade ago, music was on the (very) distant horizon. Holder was far more interested in making social media his dream; he looked up to collectives like the Magcon Boys with hopes of touring, performing, and meeting fans.
“I realized that’s not forever, that’s temporary … it’s a platform to start something even greater,” Holder tells EUPHORIA.
Thus, that narrative shifted when Holder decided to pursue music — rather than performing as the Holder that the internet is akin to, he wants now to perform as Holder, the artist.
And Holder isn’t wrong in recognizing that music is becoming a more frequently traveled path for online creators — recently, Addison Rae, Dixie D’Amelio, Jaden Hossler, and more have set out to expand their impact beyond the bounds of social media apps.
But the feedback to his first single, “100 Rounds,” has Holder feeling more confident than ever that the internet star-turned-artist pipeline is destined to be his long-term space. With over 22,500 videos made on TikTok alone and 1.3 million streams on Spotify (and counting), it’s a fittingly viral entry into the music industry.
The decision to dive into making a name in music was anything but spur of the moment; “100 Rounds” was developed a year prior to its release with collaborator Glenn Travis, a choice Holder says was grounded in his desire to be taken seriously as an artist outside of the social-scape.
“The day I made that song, I was like, ‘This is the one that I’m gonna release first,’” Holder says. “And I still felt that way a year later … it’s very hard to step out of that social media realm and be taken as a serious artist and stuff like that. I felt like that kind of would help solidify me as an artist with the topic of the song, the vibe of the song, even the music video. Just really like making a stamp that I’m a musician, and that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
He wasn’t exactly radio silent when it came to showing off his vocal chops, though; Holder’s cover of Tate McRae’s “You Broke Me First” made waves on TikTok, garnering 27.5 million views and more than 5.2 million likes while drawing the attention of potential future fans.
Releasing cover music might’ve been a way, albeit indirectly, of easing Holder’s audience into the original music that was to come. It was a game of patience, searching for the right moment to release something that Holder could truly call his own — not a cover, not a recreation of a trending TikTok dance. “I really wanted to put out music, but I wanted to make sure I did it the right way,” Holder says.
Though he is used to baring it all on the internet (whether that be public breakups or drones hovering around his home), Holder’s intro into the music space is not accompanied by a true story on “100 Rounds.” The song’s foundation was simple: he wanted to make something “hot.”
The result is a sex-driven track with a music video to match, complete with an appearance by TikTok collaborator and musician Jason Derulo. It’s a party-centric visual, lending to the song’s high-energy take on intimacy.
And like many other internet-first artists, Holder was able to make it happen (mostly) independently.
Though Holder didn’t have a label attached to his first release, he found that having a team behind the music — even just for distribution with ONErpm — made the debut experience more palatable while allowing him to maintain creative control over the track and its accompanying visuals.
Finding his way into the music scene more broadly was an independent process, too. Holder is quick to respectfully note that he doesn’t come from a musically inclined background; when it came to vocals and instruments, YouTube was one of his primary instructors.
“It’s crazy because, with all due respect, none of my family is musically talented at all,” Holder says. “I play guitar, piano, drums, saxophone, I started singing a few years back; I’ve always wanted to sing … Slowly, with even instruments and singing, I just watched YouTube videos on vocal lessons or guitar lessons and just how to play different chords, and then started making my own chords and writing my own music and stuff like that.”
If his loaded learning process is any indication, it’s safe to say that Holder is interested in doing it all, and he does. Music is only one piece of the puzzle — at least, for now. Holder’s growing list of responsibilities between his on- and offline worlds means struggling to strike a balance when setting priorities.
Between his Instagram reality show, training for fights, staying active on social media, and making music among other projects, Holder will be the first to admit that he is stretched rather thin. “But hey, it’s what I signed up for, and so I have obligations,” Holder says.
Putting in so much front-facing work can mean baring it all online, too, especially when it comes to Holder’s personal life. The things he is able to keep out of the public eye are limited to his relationships and his family; anything else, though, feels like fair game, with some even going as far as flying overhead drones to watch Holder and friends’ everyday activities.
“I try to be a pretty transparent person on the internet,” Holder says. “I try to put my entire life out on the internet, that way, you know, there is nothing to hide.”
Holder explains that the constant workflow and often lack of personal life can be “very mentally unhealthy,” but he hopes that the end result, the manifestation of his goals, will make the heavy workload worthwhile. And with a second single coming “sooner than you think,” Holder says that he sometimes has to remind himself to press the pause button in order to avoid burnout.
“At this point, it kind of feels like a robot,” Holder says. “I’m just repetitively doing so many things, but I love it. I chose it, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
But music is a motivator for Holder, bringing him unprecedented happiness in spite of a schedule that can bog him down. “100 Rounds” isn’t the end-all-be-all of Holder’s musical identity; he wants to explore other genres and sounds before landing on one that defines him.
Ultimately, Holder explained that the act of creating music is more important to him than being the best at it, and he’s willing to go through some long-term trial and error to get it right.
“It would be dope to be the biggest artist in the world, it would be dope to sell out shows, but at the end of the day, I love doing music and that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life,” Holder says. “I just want people to fuck with my music.”
Holder is, undoubtedly, hoping to make an impact with music, but he isn’t going anywhere online in the meantime. Evolution feels natural to Holder, so he will not be setting any expiration dates on his existing projects; as he demonstrated in the year leading up to the debut of “100 Rounds,” patience is key to growth, and he’s in it for the long haul.
“I do believe that everyone kind of changes as time goes by, but I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be a bad change,” Holder says. “I think it’ll be a good thing, for the better, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”