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Sundial Now: Monsieur Periné went viral on TikTok, but they're not making music for social media

Monsieur Periné's song "Nuestra Cancion" hit number on the TikTok U.S. chart.
Juan Retallack
Monsieur Periné's song "Nuestra Cancion" hit number on the TikTok U.S. chart.

A Colombian band's song “Nuestra Cancion” hit number one on the TikTok U.S. chart. We discuss the impact and pressures that TikTok is having on how music is being created today.

The Colombian band Monsieur Perine recently went viral on TikTok with their song ‘Nuestra Cancion’.

It’s become the sound behind a popular dance trend that includes foot tapping and arms swinging. Families, couples, and even pets are doing it.

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The song was released in 2015––only to explode on social media six years later.

The lead singer of the band, Catalina García, and guitarist Santiago Prieto joined Sundial Now to talk about their North American tour and reflect on the music creation process.

They will perform at the Miami Beach Bandshell this Saturday, August 13. Find more information about that event here.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

Going viral on TikTok 

GARCIA: We never create music for a platform or a trend. We don't create music for getting #1 anywhere. It's just beautiful if it happens in an organic way. And that's how we love this career to be, organic and true. We look for freedom in this world, it's not so easy to be free. All of the artists talk about that ‘we do whatever we want to do.’ It's not so easy. For us, it was a huge surprise. It was so beautiful to feel a lot of people around the world connected.

I remember one [TikTok video] that was a couple of grandparents dancing and smiling. It was very cute. I'm sure that the video was recorded or at least thought of by their grandchildren. It was so good to see them doing it, like, wow, wow. You always expect social media going to do young people and of course, it is. But then when you see people just whatever kind of people anyway just having fun. It’s beautiful. So that was a nice video. Also, a lot of celebrities like on TikTok and everywhere in the world like we're doing that [trend].

PRIETO: It was very weird, unexpected. I just felt like a big blessing. It was very cool at this moment because we were like at a certain point in which the label was not so hot with us. They were not so engaged with the things we were doing because our music is not like the main pop mainstream Miami [style] that everybody is doing. I think this changed a lot of the vision of many of the people that worked with us. It was a very nice opportunity that life gave us with this stuff.

The pressures social media puts on the pressures of making progress

PRIETO: We were recording our fourth album, which we still are now finishing. At that moment, we were both recording and all of this stuff was happening on TikTok and exploding and they asked us for a song that we could quickly release. And then we had some songs like kind of ready, but they were more melancholic songs––beautiful, but not in the mood of what maybe people would expect, like this Monsieur Perine sound that is more swing and more Latin. We created this song, ‘Volverte a Ver’, to reunite those people who are far away from each other. We happen to compose this song in late November. And we did all the recordings and arrangements and everything, even the video, like in five days it was like a very super quick production.

GARCIA: I always feel a little bit rushed by the fact that you have to be putting content and like everything that you can share on social media. But when I create a song, I don’t feel rushed, I feel happy. I try to be as real as possible. Creating a song is like opening my soul.

On an interview, I saw Adele say, ‘hey, I'm over 30, and I don't want to make music for social media. What is going on with the people of my age today? We still need music for other generations.’ And she is so right because it's a little bit frustrating for artists around the world to be so pressed to fit in a target to fit in an algorithm and to just scrap creativity. Music is not about that. So it's beautiful to have been doing whatever we wanted, like what we feel and then after some years getting one of those songs viral in an organic way.

We’re retooling Sundial - you’ll now be hearing shorter ‘Sundial Now’ segments that reflect our community, starting today. We want you to be a part of the retooling process as we enter this new era of the show. See how you can participate at the bottom of this story.

Want to be a part of Sundial’s retooling? Tell us, what topics are catching your attention these days? Is there a particular story or subject you'd like us to dig into?

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Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the lead producer behind WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.