How TikTok hit “I love you so much” brought the late band The Walters to life seven years after release


What happens when a band breaks up and then becomes famous for TikTok? In the case of the Walters, they reunite and sign a recording contract, seven years after the release of their hit song.

Released in 2014, “I Love You So” helped propel the Walters to moderate independent success. Chicago bedroom pop darlings have performed in 200-capacity venues and released two projects – “Songs for Dads” and “Young Men” – without a recording contract. Today, “I Love You So” has over 200 million Spotify streams and is featured in over half a million TikTok videos, surpassing some of this year’s biggest hits. (For reference, The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears” soundtracks topped just over 130,000 TikToks, and Ariana Grande’s “34 + 35” has featured in 184,000 videos.) As of early October, “I Love You So “spent nine weeks featured on Spotify’s Daily. USA Top 50, culminating in the 39th place of the World’s Top 50 streamers.

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According to Walters frontman Luke Olson, the band had flirted with the idea of ​​reuniting before “I Love You So” exploded, but the song’s surprise success prompted them to act. With Warner Music – along with a handful of other labels – flooding the band’s inbox, the Walters have launched a comeback in its own right.

.  - Credit: Kristina Pederson

. – Credit: Kristina Pederson

Kristina pederson

“It was a sign from the universe,” says Olson Variety. “There’s a reason this song comes back over and over again in our lives, and the virality of TikTok was definitely the extra boost we needed to be like, ‘Okay, let’s give it another chance and try to make the most of it. “”

With four sold-out dates this month in New York, LA and Chicago, the Walters are currently recording a new EP and planning an international tour. In November, the band released an updated music video for “I Love You So” and released a brand new acoustic version.

Despite its release date in 2014, “I Love You So” sounds fresher than ever. With reverb-drenched guitar chords and dreamy vocal harmonies, the song precedes the chamber pop craze that currently dominates Spotify’s independent playlists.

When the Walters split in 2017, Olson released solo music under the name L. Martin and formed the tart pop duo the Olson Brothers with his brother Anthony. Meanwhile, the rest of the band banded together and released three singles under the Corduroy name. The Walters’ breakup took an emotional toll on Olson, who said earlier this year, “The band broke up with me.” Today, Olson says the group reunion went smoothly: “They accepted me, and I accept them. “

Olson adds, “A lot of it is about swallowing your ego and realizing that we were young. We were successful at a young age, and it was overwhelming. None of us were perfect. After four years, if we were given this opportunity and we couldn’t pass [the breakup], then we would be doing ourselves, our fans and our family a disservice.

The group’s decision to sign with a label after several years of independence stems from a desire for structure. Olson says the “safety blanket” Warner provides allows him to sit down and focus on music and shows.

While Walters’ hiatus only lasted four years, the music industry has since seen a dramatic change in the way people discover and consume music. Credit: TikTok, the app that popularized sailors’ chants, brought Hoobastank to life and raised Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” to the Billboard charts four decades after its debut. While no one can predict what TikTok’s next musical trend will be, Olson says he attributes the honest simplicity and universal lyrics of “I Love You So” to the song’s viral wave. He’s skeptical of the app’s apparent ability to influence artists’ creative process, but he also appreciates how TikTok has disrupted the music industry and allowed creators to market themselves in non-traditional ways.

“I don’t want to create music that I think is going to explode on TikTok, which I think seeps into the consciousness of artists,” Olson said. “Although I think TikTok is really good. There are so many talented musicians, artists, comedians… and it gives people a platform. Everyone deserves a chance, and if you use TikTok correctly, it can really benefit you.

From a label perspective, Warner’s A&R VPs Chris Morris and Jeff Sosnow see TikTok as an “incredibly useful” tool for discovering new artists and expanding audiences.

“We’ve seen a number of times now that a viral moment on a given song can bring an old record out of obscurity or shatter a whole new artist,” Morris suggests. “So it would be really stupid of us not to take TikTok seriously.”

After all, TikTok is giving a second life not only to “I Love You So” but to the Walters themselves, who have chosen to capitalize on a viral moment, come together and make new music. Now the only difference is that a few hundred million people are listening.

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