TikTok star Tayler Holder is officially making the transition from influencer to musician with his first single, “100 Rounds.”
But his debut may not be what some expected. Backed by an atmospheric beat that showcases Holder’s smooth vocals, “100 Rounds” is an outright, intimate display of sensuality. With a powerful chorus that sees Holder exercising his strong middle range, the song was made for dimly lit rooms and satin sheets.
Holder — who has over 18 million followers on TikTok and six million on Instagram — knows that much of his already existing fan base is younger, but he felt the need to stand out with “100 Rounds” in order to prove himself in the R&B genre.
“I just really love the [R&B] space and I wanted to make a hot song,” Holder tells Variety. “I do want to be taken seriously as an artist and I think with the R&B thing being my passion, that’s a perfect lane for me to hit.”
Holder co-wrote and co-produced the song with his main collaborator, Glenn Travis, about a year ago, but Holder felt strongly that his foray into music was revealed at the right time. In anticipation of his first release, Holder says he has been figuring out how to produce songs himself and refining his singing voice. Fans have been given a peek into Holder’s skills through pop covers posted on TikTok of Tate McRae’s “You Broke Me First” and Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License,” but Holder hopes to wow them with his original music.
“Selling out stadiums, that’s obviously a goal and something that we will get to, but I think there’s just so much more to it than just that,” Holder says of starting a music career. “You can’t do music if you don’t wanna do music. You can’t do it for the short-run, you have to fully invest your time into it and really want to do it.”
Holder has been playing guitar since he was 10, and is also a self-taught pianist, drummer and saxophonist. Growing up, he would listen to Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo and Bryson Tiller — whose impact on Holder can be heard on the track — but he never really saw himself as a musician until he was surrounded by the right team and his platform gave him the resources to really dive in.
Now, Holder counts Derulo as one of his friends and mentors, and says they’ve even spent a few days in the studio together.
“It’s just still so surreal to me, like being in the space and being able to call the people that I once looked up to, or that I still look up to, my friends,” Holder says. “Being able to create and do what we both love together is just still so mind-blowing to me.”
Derulo will also appear in the “100 Rounds” music video, premiering Feb. 26.
“I don’t want to give too much away, but he plays a pretty big role in it,” Holder says. “The music video itself is just definitely something that’s going to shock a lot of people – it’s not my average content.”
Unlike many of his TikToker-turned-musician counterparts, Holder is releasing “100 Rounds” independently of a label.
“I’m not like opposed to labels, obviously if the right opportunity comes I’m definitely open to it,” Holder says. “But I kind of wanted to see for the first one, what I could do on my own. I’m a very independent person.”
Holder teases that “100 Rounds” is just the beginning – a few more singles and even an EP may come before the end of the year.
“I definitely have a whole portfolio filled up with songs, ready to go,” Holder says. “But for right now, I’m focused on getting my music out for people to listen to and starting to build myself as an artist.”
Listen to “100 Rounds” here.