From a young age, Flo Milli dreamed of music stardom. However, the 21-year-old rapper from Mobile, Alabama, could not have predicted that an app from China would be instrumental to her success.
Before she was famous, Flo Milli, whose real name is Tamia Monique Carter, wrote music and posted each new recording online. One day, a song called Beef FloMix started trending on TikTok. Flo Milli said she didn’t have an active TikTok account at the time.
TikTok executives noticed Flo Milli’s music and helped her join the platform. Flo Milli said that within weeks, she gained attention within the music industry. She has since signed with RCA Records and was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2020 BET Hip Hop Awards.
“I didn’t choose this path, but I will embrace it, you know, the fact that my music made it on TikTok,” Carter said on Foundering: The TikTok Story. “I’m just using it to my advantage.”
Episode three of the podcast explains how TikTok has redefined American pop culture and upended the music industry, advertising and the economics of fame. The company’s hands-on approach with its creators and artists helped mint a new generation of social media stars and positioned TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance Ltd., as the first Chinese tech giant to come out with a truly global consumer app.
— With assistance by Lucas Shaw, Sarah Frier, Tom Giles, Zheping Huang, and Isabelle Lee