TikTok Sensations Earcandy Dish on How the Group Came to Be and An Earcandy Christmas
If you spend any time in the musical corners of TikTok, chances are that you've stumbled upon the talented 11-piece a cappella group Earcandy—or if not the whole team, at least a member or two.
Earcandy consists of Jonathan Tilkin, Sri Ramesh, Anthony Gargiula, Taylor Edlin, Kavya Borra, Ryan Narciso, Jilaine Marie Orton, Naomi Joy Turner, Nina Ann Nelson, Lyric Slaughter and Lyn Lapid, and together, these wonderful singers are even stronger than they are apart. Their 1 million TikTok followers are proof of that.
(Image courtesy of Universal Music Group)
Earlier this year, the group released their first album, the holiday-themed An Earcandy Christmas, and we haven't been able to stop listening. But how exactly did these incredible people come together, and what did it take to put the album together in 2020? We asked the band themselves to find out.
Sweety High: How did Earcandy form as a group? How did the group expand from its original five to the 11-piece a cappella ensemble it is today?
Jonathan Tilkin: Great question! So back in March, as soon as the U.S. went on lockdown, a bunch of us started collabing with each other using the duet feature on TikTok because, honestly, we were all bored and needed to find a new way to create art. My first experience was a group chat with Tay and Sri, but within a week, I think, we were having group FaceTime calls with Anthony and Kavya. Mostly just hanging out as friends and talking about our experiences in music on and offline. Personally, I had seen both Anthony and Kavya on TikTok but hadn't met them yet. The first time talking to either of them was on our first facetime with all five of us, and it's pretty safe to say we all got along really well.
For a few weeks, we made covers and posted them to our personal channels since we all have followings, but eventually, we decided it would be better for engagement to have a single page where you could find all our collabs. Looking back, it was really ambitious to be like "Okay, let's stop posting on our personal channels which have hundreds of thousands of followers and build a new page from scratch," but there was so much excitement around it. We felt like we were doing something really important and special. And this is when we decided that if we were really gonna go for it, we needed more people involved. We needed more singers, arrangers, audio mixers and producers to keep up with the amount of content generated by the other big group pages at the time.
The next logical step was looking at the friends we had all already made on TikTok to see who would be a good fit. There was no requirement of following or anything like that. Our goal was to make the best music possible, so we just went to the people we knew were hard workers and whose voices we loved. We had seen a bunch of other group pages fall apart because they grew too large, so we decided we only wanted to open it up to 11 members and, luckily, everyone we asked said yes. It's truly been a dream team and a huge labor of love.
SH: What would you say is each member's role within the group?
Sri Ramesh: When the five of us formed Earcandy, we made sure that the work would be divided evenly amongst ourselves so that things would run smoothly behind the scenes. For example, Kavya and I take care of our social media presence by making creative stories for Instagram, interacting with our fans and posting our videos. Taylor takes care of making videos by putting them together and making them all in-sync. Jon and Anthony take care of the business side of things by taking care of emails, organizing meetings with our team, and so much more. We also all take on roles when it comes to the actual content: Anthony, Kavya, Tay and I are the arrangers and have arranged all of the covers on our page, either in groups or separately, while Jon mixes and produces them!
SH: What makes TikTok different from all of the other platforms out there?
Anthony Gargiula: TikTok is different from other platforms because it encourages collaboration through many of its features! I literally met most of the members of Earcandy because we had made duet videos singing along with each other on the app! Without the collaborative spirit of TikTok, Earcandy would've never formed. We definitely have them to thank for that, so like, thanks TikTok. Ily. And also the singing community on the app is absolutely insane and doesn't really exist anywhere else! There are so many musically talented creators! My entire "for you" page is full of music, singing, harmonies and also the occasional Ratatouille: The Musical video, but like…that's fine too, I'm not complaining.
SH: Why do you think TikTok has been such a successful platform for you all? What does the band love most about posting there?
Taylor Edlin: We have been so blessed with the amount of support and love that TikTok has given us. The app has been incredible due to all of our followers who watch and share our videos. We love to post on TikTok because so many people get to see and interact with our videos. One of our favorite things to do is interact with our followers in the comment section. Their overwhelmingly nice comments always make our day.
SH: How have you all managed to make this An Earcandy Christmas together in this time of social distancing?
Kavya Borra: A few of the members were fortunate enough to live in a household together in Los Angeles during the arranging and recording process, which allowed for a smoother collaborative experience. Unfortunately, due to COVID, not everybody was able to travel to Los Angeles, so six of the 11 members recorded all of their vocals remotely. Luckily, we all have quite a bit of experience recording our vocals remotely because we have been doing so since we first started Earcandy. Fun fact—for the first couple of months of Earcandy, we had never even met each other in person!
I think something that's really heartwarming about Earcandy is that we were able to create something fun and fulfilling during times of chaos in 2020. This year has been incredibly difficult for everyone, and we hope that our music can be a beacon of hope for anyone going through tough times.
SH: Do you have any favorite tracks on the album?
Jonathan: I'm a bit biased as I co-wrote the intro track, "Christmas From the Heart." But that one holds a really special place in my heart because the lyrics are pulling from my own experiences and my sense of what it means to grow up and find yourself. It's also the only song on the record that has all 11 members involved, so it's special from that standpoint as well.
But as far as which of the Christmas tracks is my favorite? Probably "Grown-Up Christmas List." The backup parts were so much fun to sing and the song has genuinely choked me up half-a-dozen times listening back.
SH: What can we look forward to from the group next?
Taylor: We are all very excited about the future. We will be sharing lots more music, as well as collaborations with various talents!
SH: What are your plans for the band once the world goes back to normal?
Sri: Once the world finally goes back to normal (which is gonna be soon, I'm manifesting it) we are aching to bring the magic of what we do to live performances. From getting to live with many of our members for over two months, I realized just how amazing these singers are live. It's almost mind-blowing. So I have no doubt that the Earcandy World Tour (which I am also manifesting) is something the fans are going to be so excited about.
"Christmas From the Heart" is one of our favorite new holiday tracks of the year. Click HERE to find out what other festive songs made the cut.