Exclusives Interviews 26 January 2023
Author: Andra

GRM EXCLUSIVE: Armani White talks “Billie Eilish” blowing up on TikTok, how to go viral & his next move

26 January 2023

Armani White became a worldwide sensation last year when his song “Billie Eilish” took TikTok by storm. The sound went viral overnight and secured him an international career in music, which he is constantly expanding doing what he knows best – good music and entertaining content on social media. 

Since his blow up Armani White has received cosigns from countless celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Michael Blackson, Tom Brady, Ludacris, Lebron James, and of course Billie Eilish and many more. 

In the meantime the Philly-raised rapper followed up his hit song with another record called “Diamonds Dallas” after the WWE champion, which was also very well received by the world.

Check out what Armani White has to say about his TikTok journey, his marketing strategy, music and many more in the interview below.

Everyone’s attention now is on TikTok, artists are trying to crack the algorithm and blow up their music. You’ve been active on TikTok since 2019 and I really like the content that you was posting even back then. It falls in line with all the rules that people follow to make their algorithm a bit more friendlier. Was TikTok always the centrepiece of your plan to blow up? 

“No, so what happened was I had this idea, like around that time. This is when it first kinda started to shift towards this but I was like “Yo, there’s a lot of videos that are like really popular that are vertical now.” You know, we all watch and consume content on our phones so I wasn’t making any music videos that were like three minutes long. I was making like short form music videos like 30s music videos, 28s, like every video that I had that blew up or went viral etc it was this clip that was no longer than 25s to 30s.

“So I was like “Why don’t I just make all of my content like that?” And that was kinda where it started. I didn’t have like a real plan on implementing TikTok at the time, it didn’t happen until I had a couple of spike up moments in 2021 that I was like “Hmm”. I was seeing all these other artists just going there and just putting their music on it and it would fly so I was like “Why don’t I actually make a real plan to get popular on TikTok?” And then that was when I did this thing.”

So you basically studied the whole social media game, didn’t you? 

“Yes, yes, yes. You know, I took that little time for the remainder of 2021 and just like learned it. Like I learned it, I practised it, I put things up to see what would work, what wouldn’t work, like you know, just all of that.”

What was your TikTok journey before “Billie Eilish”? 

“I had to create something that kind of like warmed my algorithm up, that got people going on my page and that got people excited to be on my page. So I had made these Philly board diaries and it was just a bunch of like stories about what it was like me being in Philly, I talk about me breaking up with a girl, cheating on a girl, like random funny stories.”

“It started to create some consistent traffic to the page and, you know, at that point I just had to develop. I wanted to utilise TikTok mainly to not only spread the music but also be another avenue, a vessel that kind of expressed my personality. I was like “Yeah, I’m a lot more than a 16 bar verse or a 8 bar hook”, like I’m a person, I’m funny, you know what I’m saying? So I was using it originally for that and once I got the traffic it made it a little easier for videos to blow up or go viral.”

What’s the story behind how you got the song to blow up? As in what was your strategy, how did you build that up? 

“So yeah I made like, from the earliest point, I had made this video in the crib or in the studio with all my friends and we were all just jumping around. This was right after we recorded the song so I was super excited about it.”

“So I had created this whole strategy, that was the first video of like a 15-part strategy but it was like all the things that I would do to blow the song up. It was that, there was the skits that I was doing, umm… There was just different creative ways to tell everybody what was going on. So we tried to get the sample cleared, we found a cool creative way to say that.

“There was like (a skit) I played, one part of me was like a patient, the other part was a therapist, you know. I was creating all those skits campaigns and things around spreading information. So it was like you’re getting information but you’re getting it in a way that’s entertaining almost so much that you forget that, you know, you’re even learning something.”

“And when we did “Billie Eilish”, that first day, I couldn’t tell you that was gonna go viral that night but once it did I already had like the steps in place to say like “Aight, once this happens this is how we should react, this is what we should do, you know, this is the roadmap.”

What advice do you have for the people and artists who are trying to blow up on socials? 

“I’d say find like a unique piece of you and just amplify it. Like if you’re a chef, find a cool way to tell people that you’re a chef. If you’re a rapper, find a cool way to tell people you were a rapper. For me, you know, I’m from Philly, at some point I was making videos about like, I was like a fake pastor doing a sermon on how big Chloe Bailey’s butt was, like you know, it was just little things like that to have fun. But that’s my biggest recommendation, find ways to be yourself and amplify it.”

Is there anything that you miss from the time before fame? 

“Umm.. Grocery shopping?” (laughs)

You said in a post on Instagram, when you gifted your mum the 100K, that everything people love about you you learned from her. What did you learn from your mum?

“I just learned, like.. It’s a level of fearlessness, like you know, taking risks, being fearless and getting back on your two feet when you get knocked down. Those are just the biggest things that I picked up from my mum.”

I know she bought you a mic when you was in high school and then you dropped out of college to be a musician, which usually isn’t great news for most mums. What role did you mum play in your come up since the day she got you that mic? 

“I think from there after the mic situation I had to put it on my own and figure it out. There was a moment, like one of the biggest roles she played was after my father passed – I was a little lost, just not really knowing which direction to go with it all. And she bought me a plane ticket to LA. So I moved out there for a little while. She bought me a plane ticket for LA, after that she was like “Figure it out yourself” but like it exposed me to so much and it kind of like brought the dream back to life I guess, if that makes sense. It kind of just put it on a new level and opened me to say “Nah, this world exists on the other side of this plane. I can be this.” 

What else have you got planned for 2023?

“Just a lot more content, just getting back into what got me here in the first place, making a lot of content, just having fun. We got projects lined up, we got videos lined up, EPs, you know, just everything under the sun. We’re just going all the way with it in 2023. I think that I got exposed to my first big moment in 2022, my first hit record, so now I’m just like “Aight we didn’t just get lucky, let’s just do it again! Let’s just make a lot more hit records, a lot more big moments, you know?”

Did you just say EPs… As in more than one?

“Yesss! Yes, yes, yes. We got a lot ready, we got a lot loaded up for 2023.”

Are we going to see you in the UK next year? We’re waiting for you, you know!

“Oh, of course! I love it out there!”

So you’ve been here before?

“Yeah I was just there. I just did the EMAs in Germany and then I stopped in London on the way back. We went to some place called The Box. Wiiiiiild. I can’t tell you what I’ve seen there (laughs) but it was some madness.”

And last but not least, what’s one thing that no one knows about you?

“I steal chapstick from Walmart. I’m a klepto when it comes to chapstick at Walmart, like I go crazy on chapstick at Walmart! (laughs)”