The Chainsmokers Song That They Thought Would be a Disaster, Made the Duo’s Music Career
No, it isn’t “Closer”. This story is about finding your lucky break.
Is there an artist whose live event you’ll throng to by faking a sick leave? I did.
I attended The Chainsmokers ( TCS ) concert on day 2 of Sunburn Goa 2019. It is a 3-day EDM fest held in Goa on the last weekend every year.
I didn’t visit the day 3 events. It shows how much I value my time. It also elucidates how much I admire TCS.
If it weren’t for jet lag, I wouldn’t have even attended day 1. I would’ve just landed in Goa on day 2, attended the show, and returned to work. But here’s the truth — Sunburn Goa is the greatest EDM fest in India. I would be stupid to miss the view.
What the majority knows about TCS
I love TCS’ music and their fashion sense. I even have “Beach House” as my ringtone.
Now whenever I talk to people about what they know about the duo, I always hear two responses:
- the “Don’t Let Me Down” guys or
- the “Closer” guys.
The bold one is the most popular.
If I ask you what song you think gave their career a big break, you’ll probably say one of these two. And why not? These chartbusters garnered more than one billion views on YouTube!
The song that made their career
The song that put TCS on the map is not the one you might think! It is “Selfie”. It has 591 million views on YouTube.
Yes, the song that made their career was the first one itself! It is a video that TCS thought of making for some fun and just posting it as a joke on social media. 591 million views back then are equivalent to 1 billion views now.
The success story
Here is an excerpt from the interview ( link at the end ) where TCS talk about the history of this song:
Andrew: “Selfie was meant to be a joke.”
Alex: “I think it would almost ruin our career.”
Andrew: “We were always thinking of clever ways to market ourselves and get ourselves out there. We were making funny videos and funny photos and funny jokes on social media.”
Alex: “All we cared about really was, like, getting likes on our Facebook page and getting, like, on Steve Aoki’s Instagram.”
After they released Selfie, three hours later:
Adam Alpert, Manager, “It was just boom. In my inbox. Was Selfie. We thought it would perform great on Facebook.”
Andrew: “Within three weeks, it was a massive viral sensation!”
Manager: “We got a record deal, and it became a global phenomenon.”
Lessons from TCS journey
Here is what the TCS have to say about their life after Selfie released:
Andrew: “We’re gonna have to really do a lot of work to unbecome the “selfie guys”.”
If you live the way you are and embrace your quirkiness, your luck may or may not favour you. But once you take a step in the direction that was long overdue, your life will change in miraculous ways.
And when the shift happens, you’ll have to let go of your old lifestyle before the break happened because once you switch your identity from a “social media freak” to a “singer”, you change how you look at everything.
I relate to this story because that’s how I started my blogging career.
In 2017, I enrolled in Data Scientist Nanodegree at Udacity. One of the projects ( all projects were mandatory to finish the course ) was to submit a data science blog post.
I had no idea how to plan, structure, and deliver the content for review. I was doing a college project at the same time.
To finish the online course project, I finished my college project in haste without caring about the grades. Then I submitted a blog post based on the college project. It was my first blog on Medium. The rest is history. You’re reading my 197th blog.
I was nervous about my first blog. I thought it would be a fiasco, and nobody would read it except the project reviewer ( that is only one human ). To my surprise, that blog is one of my most well-received posts on Medium, partly because it was based on a real-life incident. And some other reasons that I am unaware of.
I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t published my first blog. I was so apprehensive about the community reaction that it took almost one month to wrap my head around the blog’s topic.
If I had to go back and do it again, I would do differently by taking less time to start and not worrying about the reaction.
The lesson from the journey of TCS is:
You never know when your lucky break will come, but take risks when your gut feeling says. And when the risk does go in your favour, you commit to become a different person, a better person — which includes identity shift by striving to live like the new person you want to become.
Source: This article is from The Chainsmokers interview on Apple Music. You can watch it here. I don’t know if it is anywhere else on the internet.
Sanjeev is a mentor at Udacity who writes about mental health, productivity, writing, and lifestyle in his off-work time. When he is not clearing students’ doubts or grading projects, he is sweating either in a workout or playing badminton.