In July 2021, Instagram introduced reels, spawning a community of content creators and artists looking for platforms after the Tiktok ban.
Social media has led to the rise of a lot of careers, and the use of music in reels has helped establish many artists.
Here are some singers and songs we discovered on reels, that are stapled to our playlist now-
1. Tesher- Jalebi Baby
Who doesn’t love some Jalebi? Indo-Canadian singer Tesher, aka Hitesh Sharma, collaborated with Shweta Subram to create Jalebi Baby after the success of Young Shahrukh. Unexpectedly, the English-Punjabi rapping blew up with millions of food, wedding and dance reels.
In late March 2020, Jason Derulo heard the song and got involved. The self-styled “Bollywood Hollywood duo” even performed the track live on NBC’s The Today Show, marking Sharma’s first-ever televised live performance. Even Zomato loves Jalebi Baby!
2. Yashraj Mukhate
In August 2020, Yashraj Mukhate became an overnight Internet sensation after his viral parodical video where he set rap beats to a scene featured in the television soap opera Saath Nibhaana Saathiya. The song Rasode Me Kaun Tha? crossed 4 million views and turned into merch too.
Ever since, he has been creating other music videos set to viral dialogues with millions of views. He has also created original music with Shehnaz Gill and Rekha Bharadwaj, with his most recent Boring Day song crossing 24.7 million views on Instagram.
3. Doja Cat- Say So
Doja Cat’s career is blessed with virality and social media success. She dropped her viral hit, Mooo, in the summer of 2018. Yet again, in 2020, she went viral with Say So, her first single to reach the Top 40 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The song blew up with Tiktok and reels dance videos. Doja even paid homage to the dance in her performances and music video. Almost every song of hers has become a reel-favourite with millions of dances, from Woman, Kiss Me More, Need To Know to Naked.
4. Viepsa- Jashn-E-Bahaara
Viepsa Arora is a 20-year-old musician who went viral in July 2020 with a cover of Jashn-e-Bahaara that crossed over 1,14,000 views. Her voice range, make-up, and editing have gained her almost 40,000 followers. Her covers have been reported by Bollywood celebrities like Siddharth Malhotra and Ayushmann Khurrana.
Each cover of hers has been used thousands of times for scenic and artistic videos. She averages over 50,000 views, and her Spotify has over 5,000 monthly listeners. Ever since Jashn-E-Bahaara, she has released four singles with tremendous success. She has now signed with Filmygyan.
5. Rahgir- Aadmi Ch****a Hai
Over the past year, over 35,000 reels were made to just two lines from Rahgir’s song Aadmi Ch****a Hai over the past year. It has been in Reels about dates, men, girlfriends, parenting, curfews, wearing heels, marriage, pesky clients, pets, diets, careers and even chipped nails. The 28-year-old artist composed a three-minute-long song. But these are the 2 lines that went viral: “Phoolon ki laashon main taazgi chahta hai, aadmi ch****a hai, kuch bhi chahta hai”.
Rahgir uploaded snippets of songs from his album, Mere Gaon Aoge, on Facebook and Instagram. A few weeks later, one person uploaded a video with the two lines of Aadmi Ch****a Hai as the background. The song crossed a total of 5 million streams. Now, he has a subscriber base of 133K followers and 150K monthly listeners on Youtube and Spotify.
6. Saweetie- Icy Grl
Saweetie has been buzzing since her first single, Icy Grl, went viral in 2018. Along with releasing multiple EPs, she’s landed several Billboard Hot 100 hits ever since, and teamed up with the likes of Dua Lipa, Jhené Aiko, and Tyga and YG.
She is the only female rapper to be nominated for Best New Artist at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards. Her collaboration with Doja Cat, Best Friend, was also nominated for Best Rap Song.
7. Akanksha Sethi- Thoda Sa Theher
Akanksha Sethi is a Mumbai-based musician who released her singles Thoda Sa Theher (2020) and Winter (2021) during the pandemic. Sethi found further accolades and crossed 1,00,000 followers on Instagram when her reel covers of Kitne Dafe crossed 8 million views and Aaoge Jab Tum crossed 1 million views. Over 1,35,000 videos have been made on her reel audios, appreciated by nitzens with their outfit, dance, wedding, date and aesthetic videos.
Her cover has also been appreciated by director Anand L. Rai.
8. Olivia Rodrigo- Driver’s License
In January 2021, the power ballad Driver’s License was released. Olivia Rodrigo ignited an internet craze. She created a connection people were craving for, during the first half of the pandemic — and it was the beginning of Rodrigo’s rise.
9. Mansa Jimmy- Tu Na Aaya
Known for her soulful voice and striking resemblance to Harry Styles, Mansa Jimmy captivates people with her music. She is famous for her reel covers- their wholesome vibe and scenic backgrounds juxtaposed with her wild curls. Her cover of Chupke Se, with Elna, crossed 2.2 million views and helped her gain 1,25,000 followers. In 2021, she released her song Tu Na Aaya to appreciation. Recently, her cover of Jhoom crossed 3.1 million views.
10. Dhruv- Double Take
Dhruv has climbed his way into Top Hits playlists in the US with double take, and has been dominating viral charts across the globe, peaking at #1 in various countries. The song crossed 1000 streams only a few days after being dropped and has been used in thousands of reels ever since.
11. Stephen Sanchez- Until I Found You
Released in September 2021, Until I Found You by Stephen Sanchez went viral due to the 1950s ballad vibe of the song. It has crossed 10 million streams on Spotify alone and more than 30,000 reels have been created to the ballad. The content ranges across wedding, couple and outfit videos
12. Paravi Das- Cloud 9
Paravi Das’ low timbre paved her ascent to prominence. She primarily posts content on TikTok and Instagram, where she now has more than 400,000 followers. She has been covering Bollywood songs and creating remixes to English songs, preceded by dialogues, like “I hate everyone” followed by a love song to a friend. Her cover of Godspeed by Frank Ocean blew up first. She averages approximately 1 million views per reel and each song has thousands of videos made on them.
13. Aditya A.- Chaand Baaliyan
Instagram reels have aided in a lot of old songs going viral recently, the latest addition to the list is the upbeat and soft song Chaand Baaliyan by Aditya A. The song was released in 2020 and gained virality in 2022, with over 200,000 outfits, scenery, dress up and, of course, jewellery reels.
Here’s to more artists gaining success…but I still have Rasode Mein Kaun Tha? playing in my head. Why, Rashi ben, why?