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THE B-SIDE
GRAMMY PREVIEW: LIL NAS X
9/25/19

THE NATURAL

By: Michael Dominguez

In what was without question the most captivating Cinderella story of 2019, Lil Nas X went from purchasing $50 “type-beats” on SoundCloud last year to becoming a household name with a record-setting smash. The horse that carried him to glory—the biggest song of the year, decade, millennium— is “Old Town Road.”

The magnitude of this iconic single cannot be overstated. In an age of never-ending content distribution and consumption, to create something that every single person can recite and refer to is unimaginable. Forget song of the summer—“OTR” is the immovable object and irresistible force that has epitomized the year in music, confirmed by its 19-week run at #1.

Lil Nas X doubled down on his disarming unpretentiousness when he connected with Billy Ray Cyrus for the first “OTR” remix, and that move along with his instinctual mastery of memes and social marketing made the song even more irresistible and ubiquitous. The genre-bending unicorn Lil Nas X has earned a distinctive place in pop-cultural history and is a likely candidate for some Grammy love.


When you look back at creating “Old Town Road,” before it hit virality, what do you think made the song so undeniable?
I think “Old Town Road” was something that no one was expecting to hear, and something that sounded so different from everything else that it caught a lot of people’s attention. There’s a story to the song, but it also has some goofiness to it, so I think maybe it was refreshing to a lot of people.

You have a record-breaking smash under your belt; what else do you strive for going forward as an artist?
I strive to stay true to myself as an artist, not limit myself musically and keep making music that I love. I just want to keep growing in every way possible creatively. I still have so much left I want to accomplish.

Who/what has helped you adjust to stardom?
I’m honestly still adjusting to a lot of things, but I just don’t take myself too seriously and try to have fun with everything I’m doing.

Of all the barriers “Old Town Road” has broken, aside from the Hot 100 record, what is most important to you?
I think one of the things I’m most proud of with “Old Town Road” is that it brought all different age groups and demographics together from all over the world. This song is for everybody.

What do the Grammys represent to you?
I feel like awards are always an empowering thing to receive as a symbol of the appreciation of your work. I never want to get too caught up in them, though, especially not to the point where I base my own success off of them.