Following the viral success of double take, dhruv is making it known that he is a musician that has a lot more to show.
When TikTok started to explode in popularity, one thing that the video-sharing app was known for was its ability to make songs go viral. Some of the big hits of the past couple of years (like Say So by Doja Cat) can thank their success partially to TikTok. Seemingly any song can go from relative obscurity to overnight success if it takes off on many an FYP.
This is something dhruv knows all too well. The London-born singer released his debut single double take in 2019 to little noise. But two years later, the track has now become one of the year’s most surprising hits thanks in no small part to it going massively viral on TikTok. While it is rare for most artists to catch lightning in a bottle the way dhruv has, the 22-year-old musician is making sure that he won’t waste his chance to prove that he is more than just a viral sound.
DHRUV’S START IN MUSIC
Growing up, music was a big part of dhruv’s life. At a young age, he already had his hands in making music. “I was very into making melodies from a young age. And then, kind of when I was 15, I started writing like full-fledged songs.” When it comes to his family, aside from the fact that his dad sings and his sister knows how to play the guitar, he says that his family doesn’t have that big of an appreciation for music, at least when it comes to Western music.
But that didn’t stop him from pursuing a career in music, something he says came naturally to him. “I did it because I loved it. And because I thought it was like, an amazing form of self-expression. So I’ve always wanted to do it. But I’ve never looked at someone on a stage and be like, ‘Oh, I want to be that guy on the stage.’ I’ve always just been what I do. I didn’t have to think about it. It just felt right.”
Citing Frank Ocean, The Beatles, and Amy Winehouse as his musical inspirations, dhruv describes his sound more in the realm of pop music. But one thing he really gives effort to is his writing style and lyrics. ”I try and really write my lyrics like their poetry. I think about every line so it’s like poetic pop. Like I really try and think. I’m not just like ‘oh this lines like you know this is the best, like, this is a banger of a line.’ I really am thinking like how do I like, convey it in a way that people will understand, but it’s not like so on the nose.”
THE STORY BEHIND DOUBLE TAKE
double take, which dhruv admits was inspired by personal events, is about falling in love with a friend. “It happened at a time in my life where that was what was happening and yeah, if you’ve experienced that to anyone you know, is an experience that is very destabilizing,” he explained. “It’s like, you don’t expect it. You don’t see it coming. Like it doesn’t feel like the same relationship and it’s a difficult thing to reconcile. It’s about the shift that happens. Makes you do a double take and that’s why I named it that.”
“I found a producer who really understood what I wanted to do. I wasn’t trying to do this huge, like, track thing with it. Like I wanted to make something that felt like the lyrics. I wanted to make something that sounded like falling in love. And he understood that brief perfectly.” said dhruv as he explained how the sound came to be.
DOUBLE TAKE’S VIRAL SUCCESS
Prior to 2021, if you asked someone if they knew what double take by dhruv was, you most likely would get a shrug. The song wasn’t necessarily heating up the charts, but that all changed in 2021 when the song suddenly exploded in popularity on TikTok. The main driver of the song’s success was that it was used as the sound along with people using the Photo Crop filter. Soon, a new viral TikTok trend was born and double take took off. As of this writing, the song has been used in over 3.5 million videos on TikTok and has over 132 million streams on Spotify. The song’s rise in popularity was so big that dhruv even released a music video for it just recently, more than two years since the song’s release. And it so happens to be his very first music video.
dhruv said that he started noticing double take going viral after seeing fans send him screenshots of the song climbing the charts. “That was the first time that I really started thinking that this was something way bigger than I could have expected. It’s one thing for people to use it on TikTok but it’s another thing for people to actively look for it and listen to it.”
What amazed dhruv about the song’s success was that there wasn’t even a big push from him to promote the song. “And I’m not like a very like public-facing person. Like it’s not like I’m I go to crazy lengths to like promote music. Especially with those songs, I made them independently I didn’t even have a team or anything and so like it’s bizarre but it’s amazing. We didn’t really expect that to blow up like that.” And if you’re wondering, dhruv has done the challenge himself, but he hasn’t publicly posted it. “I think it’s a cool trend and I’m happy that’s the trend that my song was associated with, because that’s really fun.”
DEALING WITH VIRAL SUCCESS
While a song going viral, especially years after its initial release, is welcome news for most musicians, there also is the worry that the song’s meaning and message can get lost behind the sensation. People may associate the song with its virality or accompanying challenge instead of its lyrics or musical content. But for dhruv, he has no qualms about this. “I definitely won’t complain that went viral. It’s amazing. It’s really cool because yes, like I think the message does get lost at times. But what ends up happening is just because more people hear the song more people make an effort to find me.”
Because of this, dhruv says that’s when people realize he’s more than just the singer behind a viral song. “When they find me and my music, they understand that this wasn’t like some song that was engineered to be a viral hit like not at all. Like this is a song I remember falling in love with that I wrote two years ago. And I try and stay as honest as I can and just true to what I do in my music and I think it’s been nice to have that level of discovery. I don’t think it would have happened and had it gone so viral in the first place.”
HONESTY IN HIS MUSIC
Speaking of dhruv’s music, aside from double take, he also has three other singles. moonlight and vulnerable were both released in 2020. His latest single, airplane thoughts, was released just this September 28. “moonlight is a song about basically wanting your first relationship to be this amazing movie-like fantasy relationship. I literally didn’t have anything going romantically for me until the age of 18. And so the song is about just waiting for love. And it’s like a naive look at like, what you think your relationship should be.”
As for vulnerable, it came from his experience embarrassing himself in front of someone he loves. “It’s about like a drunken night out. And it just ends up being just too humiliating, but I thought the only way that I could cope with it was to put it in song.” For airplane thoughts, it features a laid-back R&B sound as he opens up about his thoughts on someone he likes, while on an airplane, of course.
And while dhruv does like all his songs, he does have a soft spot for moonlight. “For moonlight, I like the sentiment. I’m not trying to make a song that’s very complicated. The sentiment of it is very simple. I think it’s very relatable. And the lyrics are super simple. But I feel like, in some ways, writing songs like that, where you’re not like being super roundabout and super complicated. And you’re not using big words, just basic sentiment. Writing songs like that is one of the hardest songs to kind of write. And so it took me a while to figure it out, but I’m proud.”
If it hasn’t been made clear yet, dhruv is very honest when it comes to his music. He uses his personal experiences to fuel his music and songwriting. While for some people, being too honest in your work may seem scary, for dhruv, it’s a part of his identity as a musician. “There is a level of uncertainty, for sure. I’m not sure whether people are going to like it. But I’ve made so many songs. And the ones that I put out are the ones that just convey a truth in a way that I feel is accurate and reflective of my life. So it’s not even a question anymore. I just, I cannot get behind the song unless it’s like there’s real truth there.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR DHRUV
For those waiting for more music from dhruv, you’re in luck. He said that he’s dropping a project later this year. What exactly that project is, he did not specify. But one thing is for certain, he’s not pressured to live up to the success of double take. “I don’t feel any pressure to make a song that goes viral. I never did. And the good thing about this project is I made it before double take went viral on most of it. So, I wasn’t thinking about ‘Oh, is the audience gonna like it or not?’ I was just thinking, when I make music, that’s good and that’s honest. And so I’m not scared. The goal has never been virality. The goal has always been like, honest, good quality, and I don’t want to ever compromise on that.”
At the end of the day, dhruv is very humbled by the recent success of double take. “Genuinely, it makes me so happy that people have found that song and are using it in their own way. But there’s some interesting stuff coming out that I think they’re gonna like if they liked double take.”
He’s also hopeful that people can look past the virality and see that he has a lot more to offer. “I would like people to know me for more than double take. I think that’s a huge goal of mine. Because at the end of the day, there are so many viral songs and there’s a much smaller number of artists who go past the virality, you know. So I really want people to get to know the rest of my music. I’m excited about the future releases. I’m excited to be putting out visual content videos. So, it’s gonna be fun.”