Nathan Evans, the Scottish postal worker who became a sensation on TikTok with his jaunty sea shanties, has just signed a record deal with Polydor. The singer’s rendition of “Wellerman,” which went viral across the platform at the end of 2020, marks his first single with the label. The original version of the song, as well as a remix by 220 Kid & Billen Ted, are out now.
On December 27, 2020, Evans uploaded a black and white video of himself performing the 19th-century tune. The impressive a capella performance featured multi-layered vocals and a simple beat. While Evans had been sharing the traditional songs – originally sung by sailors, centuries ago, in order to keep up the pace of their work – for several months, it was this particular tune that struck a chord on the TikTok – setting off a new craze across the platform. Some of music’s biggest stars, including Ronan Keating, Gary Barlow, and even Andrew Lloyd Webber have embraced the “ShantyTok” trend and virtually duetted with Evans.
Evans’ original video has been viewed over seven million times on the platform – thanks in part to creators adding their own vocal touches to the song. By early January, remixes of “Wellerman” were in full effect – and being shared across multiple social platforms.
The popularity of the song continues to grow, while recent Decca signees The Longest Johns, have topped the UK and Global Spotify Viral Charts with their 2018 recording of “Wellerman.” The Bristol-based folk group has also broken the UK’s Top 40 with the tune.
Evans’ original recording of “Wellerman” and the 220 Kid & Billen Ted remix, meanwhile, are both getting pickup from radio stations across the globe, and Evans – who recently quit his job with the postal service in order to pursue his musical career full-time – has been all over the media.
In an interview with The Independent, Evans shared that he began uploading videos to TikTok as a creative outlet back in January 2020. But when the nationwide lockdown was implemented, amid the pandemic, he saw it as an opportunity to hone – and promote – his talents. “I’ve been playing the guitar since I was eight, music has always been the passion and always been my dream,” he told the outlet.
Evans, who lists Dermot Kennedy and Lewis Capaldi among his favorite artists, also spoke about what’s to come. “You should be seeing a good few songs out soon. I write my own songs and music too, but if people like the sea shanties and they bring a good amount of joy to people then I don’t mind doing that. Music is an absolute passion for me, if it makes people happy then I’m all for it.”
Nathan Evans’ “Wellerman” and “Wellerman (220 Kid & Billen Ted Remix)” will be available across streaming platforms on January 22.