Loren Gray recently released her song "Nobody To Love" with TELYKAST. Her sweet, angelic voice pierces through the shimmering beats and it's absolutely contagious.
It's easy to write Loren Gray off as another social media star, she's enviably gorgeous, and she makes trends look effortless, but in the era of TikTok transforming the music charts, you simply can't ignore their presence in the music scene.
She knows what everyone's thinking. She says, "I think people just have this assumption based on my online personality and me being bubbly and blonde and happy that I don't know what's going on and I'm stupid, and I don't have real thoughts or opinions. And I do. I'm very opinionated, and I always know what's going on."
Loren rose to fame on Musical.ly, the TikTok precursor, and she quickly found her footing. She's been working since she was 13, and her fanbase has followed her musical journey since those early days. She currently has over 50 million followers on TikTok and over 20 million on Instagram, but she's not just another Influencer trying out music. She explains, "I have been singing for as long as I can remember. I have an older sister who swears up and down that I couldn't sing, but I loved it." Once she performed on stage she knew she needed to pursue this.
Loren grew up in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, far from the glitz of the entertainment world and it's not like she found music after Internet fame. She explains, "No one in my family was necessarily musically inclined at all. So it was something I had to figure out on my own," and she did.
Loren is only 18 years old, and she’s still finding her voice and her sound, but the way she can blend into different songs feels so natural. Her newest song with electro-pop ensemble TELYKast showcases her effortless voice. She doesn’t miss a beat but manages to find her own sound in the layers. Her voice is like glass, so clear and effervescent. It’s the perfect addition to the production.
"Music is a lot more personal, and I'm not necessarily always super open on social media, and that's really difficult for me to learn to open up a bit and be honest. I also didn't have a whole lot of life experience to write about," she laughs, "I think that's been really difficult, but I'm sort of finding my way." That's the thing about younger artists, you watch their sound grow with them, and Loren isn't your typical 18-year-old. She's constantly working on new music, new content, and she's in college.
While she's had to sacrifice a lot for her career, including a lot of her social life, she assures me, "I'm really grateful to be in a position to have a voice and be able to speak to the younger generation. I know that sounds super cliche, but it does. It's a really special thing, and I wouldn't trade it for anything."
Loren's already in Forbes 30 under 30, a feat for anyone, but she doesn't take anything for granted. While she would easily spend her life riding the social media train, she's currently in college studying business. Being a young woman in music, she's seen far too many other artists and influencers have their careers tanked due to poor management and naivete.
She says, "I think running a business at such a young age for a lot of people, including myself, can be really scary. So you have to find people and surround yourself with people that are willing to help and have your best interests at heart." She keeps her circle tight for a reason, it keeps her grounded, and she knows who she can trust.
That attitude, that grounding, helps in a climate where anonymous commenters will find any reason to tear down influencers, especially women. Social media stars have been getting a lot of clap back for entering the music industry, but for Loren, that's where she always was.
She explains, "The way that I look at it is anyone who's entering the music industry or wants to make it in the music industry, you have to prove yourself even if you're not an influencer. You have to prove that you're capable of making good music and being open and honest and making music that people can connect to."
It's important for her to separate the two, her creative process changes, and it's a challenge to have both. She says, "I feel like me as an artist is a lot more open and honest. And me, as an influencer, is a little more relatable but in a different way." That relatability is vital. It's what's made her successful both in music and in social media.
It's impossible to deny the impact TikTok has had on the charts and all the music industry as a whole. Now artists find themselves content creators, and vice versa. Social media and music have never been more conjoined, but Loren is transparent about her journey.
She emphasizes, "I'm a real person with real experiences. I have followers, but I don't view myself as anything better than anyone else. My life is very mundane sometimes, and I just work really hard. I feel like what I choose to show online isn't always what goes on behind the scenes. And I feel like there's more depth to me than what people think."
Loren has more singles on the way and has hinted at an upcoming EP. She's finding her direction, and it shows. She knows she has a lot to prove, but with her work ethic and her natural talent, she's poised for a takeover.