TikTok has rapidly become a platform for tastemaking, launching songs into popularity just by playing in the background of everything from choreographed challenges to makeup application to self-deprecating wisecracks. For Fousheé, her voice was recognized across the platform before listeners even knew her name when rapper Sleepy Hallow used an instrumental sampling her voice on its makeshift hook. Dwayne Wade made use of the track, along with thousands of other people, yet the song went credited only to Sleepy Hallow for several months.
After appealing to users on the platform, in a post that has over 5.7 million views, old and new fans fought to have the singer's name credited, and it now appears across streaming and video platforms. Having racked up 21 million views on YouTube alone, it's exposure featured artists dream of. The singer shared the visuals for her own smoothed out and extended version of the track on Friday. FADER spoke with Fousheé candidly about what it's like to blow up anonymously and what she plans to do next.
The FADER: With the video for “Deep End,” you’re sending a pretty clear message about empowerment. Can you talk a bit more about that?
Fousheé: The story behind “Deep End” had a lot to do with the creation of the song and video. It’s really a success story for Black women. It’s about fighting to get what’s due to you because it isn’t always going to be handed to you.
When did you realize Sleepy Hallow's "Deep End Freestyle" was starting to blow up on TikTok?
I found out around a month in. I remember being tagged in a lot different music people were making with the pack at the time so it initially missed my radar. My homie Jwords hit me like “is this you?” with the YouTube link and when I finally realized what was going on the streams were already in the millions. After that, I just started to hear it everywhere.
I actually came across one of your first TikToks talking about your version of the song and that “nobody believed you” when you said it was you. Were these just random people? Label execs? Lawyers?
When I said that I was mostly referring to the feedback I was getting in the comment section before making that viral TikTok video. There was a lot of misinformation going around. People were popping up with alternate versions using my sample and claiming to be the original. There were a lot of confused people who didn’t know it was me and people who didn’t believe it. After I made the video on TikTok, the majority of people believed me but there were still doubters. For the most part, TikTok went above and beyond in fighting for me to get my flowers.
You’re obviously still very active on the platform and I feel like the dances in the video are a nod to that. How important has it been to your development as an artist?
I wasn’t really active on TikTok prior to all this happening but seeing how supported I was motivated me to embrace it. I feel like it’s helped me grow in a lot of ways. It’s made me open-minded to movement in my videos and creating more dynamic music. I’m such a laid back person so before “Deep End” I wasn’t doing much dancing. It’s definitely challenged me to step outside my comfort zone in a lot of ways.
You’ve been making music long before “Deep End.” Do you feel frustrated at all that newer fans’ first introduction to you is a song that samples your voice?
I actually think it’s interesting. I would’ve never imagined “Deep End” would be the one that everyone resonated with but I’m not mad. I just want people to know I have a lot more to say and that this is just a glimpse.
If you had to describe your music to a new fan with a sense other than sound, how would you?
Airy vox and harmony paired with the angst of a very emotional Black Leo femme. I like to look at it like poetry sometimes taking the form of raps or melody depending on the occasion. A lot of genres layered into my music journey & roots. Sometimes alt-soul, but always the truth. It would feel like a back massage and taste minty.
What upcoming singles or projects can people look forward to?
After “Deep End,” I plan on releasing a lot of music. An album soonm of course. I've been creating a lot nonstop, so now I’m just perfecting everything. I want to hold myself accountable for using my platform to uplift. I want to make music that is as honest. I want to represent new perspectives. I want to be a shining example to Black women everywhere and to people who resonate with my story. I plan on reflecting on the times and my truth. I want to create your favorite song. All those things + consistent growth = a happy me.
Watch "Deep End" above.