Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit

Whether you’re 5 or 50 you’ve likely heard of the Chinese app Tik Tok, a social media platform which has become 2020’s new favorite place to break songs and artists. If you’re a frequenter of the music industry today, you’ve likely heard phrases along the lines of “This one’s gonna blow up on Tik Tok” or perhaps the more honest question, “How do we make something blow up on Tik Tok?” People have their methods, catch phrases or punch lines that elicit an obvious visual, a danceable tune that can easily be matched with Charli Damelio-esque dance moves; yet when one takes those artists who did indeed initially blow up on Tik Tok, it becomes evident that it usually wasn’t planned at all, often resulting from a real dedication to one’s genuine self.

Case in point: 19-year-old, South New Jersey native, Ant Saunders. Perhaps his name doesn’t quite ring a bell just yet but his infectious bop “Yellow Hearts” likely does. The song that changed the young artist’s life has become a certified Gold record, landing on Billboard’s Hot 100, accumulating over 2 million user-made Tik Tok videos and over 300 million streams. Not too shabby for a song that was created in his bedroom studio the day of his high school graduation. The beauty of Ant is this passive yet passionate approach to making art for art’s sake.

A self-proclaimed introvert who often falls on the shyer end of the spectrum, as a child Ant often felt soft-spoken and overshadowed by his louder peers. Though volume pales in comparison to true talent, Ant’s teachers began to notice the beautiful singing voice possessed by this quieter-than-average child. As he became more aware of his gift, music became Ant’s outlet to say in private what was often difficult to articulate in public, and with time this penchant for music built Ant’s confidence while fine-tuning his craft in the process.

This mastery of craft is captured in the wunderkind’s freshman EP ‘BUBBLE.’ Inspired by the idea of stepping out of a personal bubble he’d grown acquainted with, the 6-track body of work is 100% written, performed, and produced by Ant himself (save the luscious “Yellow Hearts” remix featuring friend and fellow budding artist Audrey Mika). A testament to Ant’s dedication to transforming his unique perspective to universally relatable jams, ‘BUBBLE’ is a manifesto of feel-good vibes and self-realization. Heavily influenced by R&B, soul and hip hop, yet coined with Ant’s honeyed vocals and quirky production, the sonorities bounce and sparkle under Ant’s intoxicating tone, curating a unique listening experience with each and every track.

We had the opportunity to get to know Ant Saunders a little bit better though a dynamic round of 20 questions. Read on below for childhood anecdotes, a few words of advice, and the best food spot in South Jersey…

How did you first figure out music was your “thing”?

All of my teachers back in elementary school knew I could sing so sometimes in class they would just ask me to sing for them and they would call other teachers into the room because they wanted everybody to hear me.

Proudest moment in your career thus far?

Definitely hitting gold on “Yellow Hearts.” Never in a million years did I think I would have a gold record so early on in my career.

When was the moment you realized “Yellow Hearts” could change your life?

I realized the song could change my life when one day I was looking through my email and I saw A&Rs from multiple major labels trying to reach out to me so we could meet up.

How many instruments do you play?

Just guitar really. I play keys a little and I also played trumpet back in elementary and middle school.

What is your best personal quality?

My morals.

What is a personal quality you’re working on?

My communication skills.

Best food spot back at home?

Bonefish Grill. <3

What’s the music scene like where you’re from?

In South Jersey, there’s plenty of open mic nights going on and little events but it’s nothing crazy. We also don’t really have our own musical style. People are just influenced by what they like to listen to.

Favorite thing about South Jersey culture?

People are really influenced by Philadelphia’s culture because we live so close to the city. We support all Philly teams and we love cheesesteaks but we’re also beach lovers because we also live close to the beach. I just love how South Jersey is so calm and there are Wawas everywhere.

Was making music always your life goal?

It was definitely the goal, I just lacked the confidence that I would be able to do it as my career. With “Yellow Hearts” rise in popularity, I gained that confidence I needed.

Your EP is 100% you: written, produced, & performed. How did you become a jack of all trades in music?

I just had the curiosity to try everything out and the determination to improve my craft to the best of my ability and I eventually felt like I was meant to be doing it.

Favorite part of the creation process?

The moment when you find that one special melody/lyric/drum pattern/etc. It gives you such a wave of excitement.

What’s one part of childhood do you wish was implemented into adulthood?

Nap time.

What is an unusual hobby of yours?

Obstacle training (American Ninja Warrior type stuff) and playing video games that are more peaceful like Minecraft and Animal Crossing.

Rick or Morty?

Morty because he was me growing up

What is the sexiest and least sexy name?

Sexiest – Logan, least sexy – Agatha.

In 40 years, what will people be nostalgic for?

Modern day hip-hop, the dawn of social media and movie theaters.

Why is your new EP titled ‘BUBBLE’?
Growing up, my mind would always suppress me from giving myself a voice. I always thought it felt like being trapped in a ‘bubble’.

Quarantine pros and cons for you?

Pros: All my studio equipment is at home, I get to hang out with my girlfriend and the new Animal Crossing game is addicting.
Cons: I’ve always been bad with staying in one place at a time, I can’t hang out with all my friends, I miss being around a lot of people at once.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Stay true to yourself!



photos / courtesy of Arista Records

story / Jessica Thomas

Close Menu