Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
Like Big Shaq, Joji is another YouTube joker-turned-musician, but his backstory is very different. George ‘Joji’ Miller started out making silly (and often unpleasant) YouTube videos as Filthy Frank, and was one of the originators of the Harlem Shake meme. He also released comedy rap music under the pseudonym Pink Guy. It might seem that the Japanese-Australian social media star simply saw music as another outlet for his comedy, and a way to make a bit more money off his online presence, but he secretly harboured a desire to pursue a serious music career. Now based in New York, he began releasing music as Joji on Soundcloud in 2016, and played his first gig as Joji in May 2017, just months after playing SXSW as Pink Guy. His fans embraced his alt-R&B sound, which he describes as “heartbreak music,” and support came from tastemarker sites like Vice, Pigeons and Planes and Pitchfork. His latest single Will He reached the top 20 on Spotify’s viral chart, closely followed by other tracks from his debut EP, In Tongues. Like Cardi B and Bhad Bhabie, Joji has shown that no matter how you achieve social media stardom, you can use it to launch a music career. It might not be the ideal route, but now he has an audience he never would have found without his history as Pink Guy and Filthy Frank.