You might not have heard of him (yet) but if you’re a TikTok user, chances are, you’ve heard his music. Aaron Paredes, known widely by his moniker, A-Wall, is one of the latest emerging artists to top the charts thanks to gaining major traction on TikTok. You’ll have a hard time scrolling through even just a few videos on your For You Page without hearing his unavoidable viral hit “Loverboy” – there are currently over 900K TikTok video creations using the song. Over the last few weeks, “Loverboy” hit #1 on the Viral 50 Chart, both in the U.S. and Globally. Behind his overnight chart-topper lies a whole discography of “anti-pop” tracks crafted from his bedroom in Dallas, Texas. With the release of his new music video for “Loverboy” out today, we had the opportunity to catch up with A-Wall to talk creative inspiration and where he sees his music going next.
Crowdsurfer: Let’s talk about your viral hit Loverboy – it’s so catchy! What was it like seeing one of your songs catch fire so quickly?
A-Wall: Well first off, I’m super thankful for everyone who’s been streaming it and supporting me. It’s an insane feeling, really. A lot of the time, it still doesn’t even feel real. I knew the song was one of my fans’ favorites way before it blew up. But I never could have imagined that it would ever grow to this magnitude and so quickly.
CS: Your song was mixed with a soundbit on TikTok and a new trend was born where users simply post about what makes them smile. The trend is really wholesome and has created its own happy corner on the internet. How does it feel to have gifted little moments of positivity to so many through your music?
It’s an incredible feeling. I get messages everyday from people telling me how my music has helped them with whatever they’ve been going through. Which is crazy, knowing that people relate to the music so much that they will go out of their way to send me a message and let me know how it’s helped them. Things like that will make my day, or my week even, for sure.
CS: Bro who got you smilin’ like that? Do you write your songs from personal experience?
I do! Although, when I first started writing, I tried to make my music as relatable as possible by keeping the themes somewhat simple and vague. I would go into the process like:
“Okay. To me, this sounds like a break-up or a love song. What are some things that I’ve dealt with that I think could be relatable? And how can I simplify them so that someone else can listen and think about something similar that happened to them.”
To add to that, I’m not very good at displaying my emotions or talking about how I feel. However, recently, I have been getting more personal in my writing and allowing myself to be more vulnerable, because music has always been my way of expressing myself. And as a result, I’ve become more open as a person in general.
CS: How has your sound evolved since you first started putting out music in 2018? Where do you see it heading from here?
Well, I’m 22 now, and I’ve been making music since I was in middle school. I wanted to be an EDM Dj at first and I would make beats and upload them to SoundCloud. I didn’t start recording myself until I got to high-school. My friends kept telling me I should put out an album and that’s when I paid for my first studio session.
When I first started recording under my “A-Wall” alias, I was very much trying to find my sound and see what sort of music people liked from me. I was definitely inspired by the whole “Flowerboy” era Tyler [The Creator] started. I loved the vocals from artists like Rex [Orange County] and Frank Ocean on that project as well as the rapping from Tyler. But I actually never knew about the indie/bedroom pop category of artists until I started releasing my own music. Which is kind of funny because whenever people would ask who my biggest inspirations were, I’d say artists like Kanye, Tyler, Kid Cudi and they’d be confused [laughs].
Once I finally put out that first album, I was actually going to stop there…I was starting college and I knew I’d have less time to work on music. But somehow out of nowhere, I got placed on a couple editorial playlists on Spotify, and that’s when I got my first wave of fans listening to my music and sending me messages from across the world. This was back before pitching your songs was a feature on Spotify too, so it was really crazy for me. I took that as a sign that I should keep going. Since then, I’ve made it my goal to stay consistent and put out a project every year.
In that time, my sound kept developing more and more while I taught myself new things or experimented with new directions. Last year, I worked with CHROMA on a project called Primavera and I became so inspired from that experience. They pushed me to challenge myself and really step out of my comfort zone. We worked on music that I never would’ve thought I could make. I believe I truly found my sound during that project.
So basically, I’ve taken everything that I’ve learned up to this point (and all the people I’ve met along the way), and I’ve put it all into this next project that I’ve been working on for some time now called AutoPilot. I can’t wait to share it once it’s ready – it’s easily my best work and, for once, I’m proud of every song on there.
CS: There are two features on Helios – one with Pretty Boy Aaron and one with Xavier Flowers – and as you mentioned, you also released a collab album with CHROMA last year. Who are some artists you’d love to work with on future projects (sky’s the limit)?
Oh man [laughs]…I mean, I’d love to get the chance to work with, or just meet, the artists who influence/inspire me one day like Frank Ocean, Tyler, and Kid Cudi.
I also would love to work with some of the bigger artists that have been pushing the boundaries and blending genres in the alternative space too, like Dominic Fike, Kali Uchis, Omar Apollo, Joji, Rich Brian, Aminé, etc…
Oh yeah! And I really wanna work with some EDM artists in the future! I am still super into EDM music. I go to local shows and the bigger festivals here in Texas pretty often. I couldn’t imagine what it’d feel like to be in the crowd at a festival and hear a song featuring my music.
CS: From production to recording to designing your own merch…you do it all. Where do you find yourself drawing creative inspiration from lately?
I mentioned them a bit already before, but I’ve always been inspired by the artists like Tyler and Kanye who go crazy when it comes to putting out an album. Not only do you hear it in the music, but you can literally see their whole vision in the videos, the marketing, the set design, the merch, the story…I love working on all that stuff. Anything that allows me to channel my creative energy, I love. I feel like those types of artists are the ones that last in the long run too, because they’re always creating new ideas, and further pushing the envelope of what it means to be an artist. Now that I’ve met so many talented people that can help me bring my visions to life, I get excited when I think about all the little things that go into a roll out.
CS: You’ve described your music as “Pop music off an Ambien.” Give us a deeper dive into how you’re putting your own spin on the “bedroom pop” genre.
Well, honestly I just make whatever I like. I used to be scared of trying new directions but that’s really how you learn and grow as an artist. I think I’m at a point where I know what a typical “A-Wall” song sounds like, but I wanna continue to surprise fans and show that I can do even more. I still love making catchy songs, but I love it even more when I make a catchy song have some real meaning behind it.
CS: You’re originally from El Paso. As a Latinx artist, is it important for you to pay homage to your Hispanic roots with your brand and sound?
Definitely. I think paying homage to my background is super important because it’s a part of who I am and where I came from. Family is also very important to me – I have a lot of family back home in El Paso. They’re some of my biggest supporters. I can’t wait to do a show there soon, so I can go all out for them the way they do for me.
CS: What are some obstacles or stereotypes in the music industry you’ve run into so far?
Well to be honest, I feel like I’m barely getting into the music industry, so it’s just been pretty normal I’d say so far. It has been crazy doing all these calls and interviews though. It honestly got a little overwhelming at one point. But then I realized, I have a great team and this is exactly what I’ve always wanted, so I’m ready now. I’d say the biggest obstacles came from the grind to get to where I’m at now. All those second thoughts and feelings I dealt with, like doubting myself, all that uncertainty, and just being scared of life in general is kind of what my next project is all about. But yeah, I genuinely love music and I’m excited to see where else it takes me.
CS: Do you have any live shows planned? Where can we catch you playing in Dallas?
I really wanna tour soon! We’re in the process of planning one hopefully if everything works out. But I’ve been making some guest appearances here and there at some of my friends’ shows here in Dallas. Whenever I have my release party soon for AutoPilot, that will probably be the next real show I do.
A-Wall’s music video for “Loverboy” is out now – check it out here: