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From TikTok Fame to Onstage Game

Former NYU student Sadie Jean opens up about her recent and sudden rise to fame after posting a song on TikTok, eventually making a name for herself and performing across the country.

From TikTok Fame to Onstage Game (@sadiejean via Instagram)

New York City, NYby Bruna Horvath

This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.

When Sadie Jean, a former student at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, first released her song “WYD Now?” she never imagined that it would blow up on TikTok overnight. Now, only two years after her big break, Jean has performed across the country and seen her songs hit millions of streams, collaborating and appearing on tour with artists including Rod Wave and Johnny Orlando. 

In an interview with WSN, Jean spoke about her rise to stardom, her love for songwriting and her experience touring nationwide.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

WSN: How did you find community at NYU?

Jean: Where I grew up, and at my school, there was no one else doing music. I didn’t know anyone that wanted to have a career in anything involving the entertainment industry. So going to NYU and being surrounded by people who had big dreams was super inspiring and mind-blowing, there was a level of culture shock, almost. It was so good for me, and it was my first time co-writing with other people, like my friends who also went to NYU with me — my friends and I wrote my first song together. That changed my life so much, so I feel like I owe so much of my whole career to the people I met at NYU. 

Originally from Orange County, California, the 21-year-old singer-songwriter said she has always had a passion for writing songs. Jean said that when she found Clive Davis at the Tisch School of the Arts, she immediately knew she wanted to spend her undergraduate career there, and began her studies in 2020. Jean said her education centered around songwriting, and added that she would sometimes write up to three songs a day. 

WSN: Did you expect to rise to fame so quickly? 

Jean: I went into a state of paralysis, almost. I felt like I left my body for like 10 months because I was just under so much pressure, especially for the second song. Everyone was like, “If the second song doesn’t do really well, then you’re just kind of going to be seen as a one hit wonder.” I didn’t even know how the first one happened — how am I supposed to do that again? I then had another viral moment, and that’s when I put out my second song. I don’t regret it at all because I really liked that song. But definitely, it was so stressful. I kind of just tuned everyone out and it worked out. 

Jean dropped out of NYU in 2022 to pursue a full-time career in music after “WYD Now?” went viral on TikTok. The song has now reached more than 140 million streams on Spotify.

Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.

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