How TikTok helped me find my new favorite musician


Photo credit: Kate Nuelle

illustration by Kate Nuelle

Ok, I’m gonna say it. I am not a fan of TikTok. Sure, I have an account and watch singular videos that my friends send me, but I don’t post or scroll through it for fun. I guess it just never appealed to me. Consequently, I never know any of the trending songs or “dances” that gain popularity from there unless they are reposted and end up on my Instagram explore page. The only songs that I have significant exposure to are songs from bands that I like that just so happened to be picked up by the alt side of TikTok. But now, Kim Dracula, a stereotypical goth with long black and purple hair, has taken over my thoughts, given me an actual excuse to go on TikTok from time to time, and found his way onto my Spotify playlists.

Personally, I am drawn to music that fits into rock or metal genres (and the various sub-genres that fall under those as well). I’d like to think I don’t live under a rock, but I am generally one of the last people to know about trending songs outside of those genres unless their popularity is absolutely Earth-shattering.

To clarify, I by no means “hate” other genres of music. I believe music is entirely subjective and all genres have appealing elements that draw in their listeners. But for me, with some of my favorite artists being Fall Out Boy, Marilyn Manson, and Slipknot (and tons other questionable pop-punk and screamo bands), and spending years of my life hiding under the rock genre umbrella, I’ve never found the desire to venture into new territory. But, hearing Kim Dracula’s amalgamation of rap music and metal vocals has somehow managed to pique my interest.

His original tracks are unlike anything I have ever heard before. Though he only has three full-length songs produced as of now, each of them is completely different. “Killdozer” (my personal favorite) and “The Bard’s Last Note” are relatively similar with the latter being a little calmer and taking on an almost satirical sound with occasional upbeat track clashing with the lyrics and the heaviness of all other aspects of the song. They are both composed entirely of screaming vocals and spoken word in his low, grating voice.

His most recently released song, “1-800-CLOSE-UR-EYES” includes a bit of screaming, but it features more of a different approach with the majority being comprised of actual singing and rapping. This one is definitely the most subdued and reminds me of a lot of other rap artists who have become popular. To me, it stands out the least of all of his songs because aside from his occasional screaming, it sounds like it could have been done by just about anyone else who is considered to be popular in the music scene. But, despite this, it’s pretty solid, and I can see how it has the potential to attract listeners who prefer more of the rap than the metal. All three are great in their own aspects and represent Kim Dracula’s abilities well. When I realized that there were only three out, I definitely wanted to hear more. They add a new and interesting sound to my playlists that I am always happy to hear when they start to play.

However, Kim Dracula’s claim to fame is arguably most attributed to his short, metal covers of famed TikTok songs and iconic songs from the past. This is pretty cool to me, not only because I could have never pictured “Hey There Delilah” or “Fergalicious” as anything close to emo or nu-metal, but because I feel as though it can show people that screamo and metal have their place in the music industry just as more popular sub-genres do.

Kim’s alternative vocals paired with the electronic vibes of the backing music may make it more appealing to listeners instead of the typical hardcore guitar riffs and lightning-fast drum solos. I have heard the same complaints over and over that screamo and metal bands are just “people screaming into a microphone” and that it “isn’t real music.” Personally, if Kim Dracula covering WAP on TikTok is what it takes to get one step closer to ignorant comments like this to fizzle out, then I am all for it.

Even though I will always prefer traditional hardcore music, Kim Dracula’s mainstream rendition is not something to disregard simply because of the lack of physical instrumentals. Conversely, for those who enjoy more pop or rap sounds, give the vocals a chance. Kim Dracula proves that the imaginary gap between these two genres does not really have to be as far as fans typically make it out to be.

Though I’m not a huge fan of TikTok, I am glad that has introduced me to artists and genres of music that I normally wouldn’t find or even consider listening to. I hope that it continues to expose other people to new music and sounds that are outside of their comfort zones. Once you’re open to new things, you’ll be happily surprised with what you’re able to find.