Home Tech ‘I May Be a Troll, But I’m Not Stupid’: Super Fan Harry Daniels on Singing Out Loud to Biden, Dua Lipa and Anna Wintour for Their Influence

‘I May Be a Troll, But I’m Not Stupid’: Super Fan Harry Daniels on Singing Out Loud to Biden, Dua Lipa and Anna Wintour for Their Influence

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'I May Be a Troll, But I'm Not Stupid': Super Fan Harry Daniels on Singing Out Loud to Biden, Dua Lipa and Anna Wintour for Their Influence

billie eilish has run of the. doja cat disrupted her security team to allow for a sidewalk serenade for Paint the Town Red. Charli XCX leave He sings a few bars of I Got It before telling her “You need to work on it,” turns on his heel, and walks back to his car.

Harry Daniels keeps an eye on celebrities like Dua Lipa, Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding (and, uh, Joe Biden) and serenades them while filming their responses for TikTok. Most of these interactions seem spontaneous, as if the celebrities were genuinely surprised to be approached by a 20-year-old man who sings to them, usually terribly and often to his own songs. when daniels found Jacob Elordi in a restaurant, the Saltburn star stood across the room with a bodyguard of some sort, looking amused but a little wary as Daniels sang Murder on the Dancefloor in his direction.

Harry Daniels sings Lana del Rey’s National Anthem to Joe Biden. Photography: TikTok user @harry.daniels

Daniels’ videos alternate between old-fashioned trolling (Daniels once grateful Lea Michele for “everything she does for the community of people who can’t read”) and expressions of genuine love for an artist. In an era where celebrities keep tight control over their images, their improvisation manages to reveal whether there’s a sense of humor, a hint of personality or anything beneath the surface. To quote a popular genre of comments Daniels receives on TikTok, “HOW DO YOU FIND THESE PEOPLE?!?!?”

Daniels has long cultivated an online obsession with pop princesses. “I think there’s a big element of escapism in Stan culture,” he told me when I met him and his sister Madeline Daniels at a Lower East Side cafe in New York last week. “I found comfort in other people’s careers and work, because I often felt insecure in my own life.”

Daniels grew up on Long Island, the son of an accountant and a homemaker. “Harry was about 11 when he first enrolled at Stan University, where he has a doctorate,” said Madeline, who sometimes acts as his cameraman and manager. He loved Demi Lovato, Billie Eilish, Fifth Harmony and Haim, and engaging with his fandoms on social media taught her how to follow his favorites in real life.

Two years ago, Daniels began using his fan education to take on superstars. “I would go to everyone’s shows and meet and greets and interact with them to feel like I had a sense of connection with them,” he said. But he found the interactions too formulaic. “How many times am I going to tell someone ‘I love you so much’? “I wanted to make a lasting impression, so I thought, fuck it, I’ll be a troll and be entertaining.”

Daniels and Paris Hilton shortly after he sang his 2006 hit Stars Are Blind to the hotel heiress. Photography: Harry Daniels

Daniels filmed his first TikTok serenade at Sabrina Carpenter’s album signing in 2022. In the video, he sings the rising pop star’s song Skin while she sits behind a table. clearly holding back a nervous laugh. As soon as Daniels finishes, Carpenter lets out a very diplomatic “thank you.” At that moment a trick was born.

Daniels soon became “smarter” than meet-and-greets. He waited outside the door of a Broadway stage to land Sara Paulson. Sometimes she was lucky: one night, while she was eating in a restaurant, I found Ethan Cutkosky, who played Carl in the American version of Shameless.

“I think people think I’m hiding in the bushes, but I really only show up in places where I know they’ll be,” he said. (It helps that I live outside of New York City.)

Over time, Daniels reached such a level of virality that some artists’ teams began to reach out: the music industry’s overreliance on TikTok as a promotional tool means labels are more likely to back an artist who can generate buzz. in the application. A cleverly planned “surprise” encounter with Daniels, who has more than 1 million followers, is a trap for artists looking to go viral or cast relatable online personas.

Lipa’s team invited Daniels to surprise their star during press tours. Likewise, Daniels went to Coachella earlier this month with backstage access that allowed him sing Taylor Swift’s antihero for Jack Antonoff and Paris Hilton’s stars are blind to the heiress herself. Daniels says many of her videos are “just for fun,” meaning she doesn’t get paid. The money comes when a sponsor pays him to film with artists at an event. (Daniels declined to reveal how much she had been paid for an appearance.)

According to Daniels, a team of artists may know what is going on, but the artist “has no idea,” which he says helps the fabricated situation retain its authenticity. “But lately, people have been trying to tell me how to create my own content.” Some artists have asked her to promote his new song or mention the name of a product. “I had to put my foot down because I want my videos to be more culturally relevant than commercially blah, blah, blah,” he said.

Daniels prefers to stay in the realm of pop culture, although she recently filmed a video with Biden after receiving an invite to his fundraising event at the star-studded Radio City Music Hall in March. Daniels was able to approach the barricade where Biden was walking, shaking hands with the attendees so I could sing Lana del Rey’s National Anthem to the 81-year-old politician. “He was very present, but I think he was like, literally, what the fuck?” Daniels said.

Harry Daniels surprises Greta Gerwig in New York. Photography: TikTok user @harry.daniels

Daniels would also sing to Kamala Harris if she had the chance. What song? The Wheels of the Bus, of course, in reference to the The apparent love of the vice president. for the buses, laughing out loud and laughing out loud at the buses. But we shouldn’t expect a Trump video. “I don’t think I’ll ever get that close to him,” Daniels said.

Not everyone appreciates Harry Daniels’ treatment. At Biden’s post-fundraiser party, Daniels tried, unsuccessfully, to sing to Vogue’s inimitable editor-in-chief Anna Wintour: “I knew Anna doesn’t do that. He may be a troll, but I’m not stupid,” Daniels said. “So I introduced myself, said I was a fan of hers, and she said, ‘Thank you, you’re very kind.’ She simply left”.

Daniels also received some criticism after asking América Ferrera whether she would rather have “a gay son or a sexy daughter” at the People’s Choice Awards; His critics accused him of “not being funny” and “not being a real journalist.” He downplayed it, telling Rolling Stone, “My job is to create content that generates clicks and views.”

Daniels has an ulterior motive for his posts. As the first said Rolling Stone, he is a singer himself, and not bad at all. The magazine described his voice as possessing an “innate melancholy similar to that of Troye Sivan.”

“The only reason I really started all of this was because I wanted to do music, and basically everyone I’ve ever talked to in the business told me constantly that I needed to have a following on social media,” Daniels said. “So if people want followers, I’ll give them followers.”

Daniels doesn’t seem bothered by this give and take; he respects the hustle. Still, there’s something grim about the outsider part of him inevitably becoming part of the star machine. The more celebrities receive information about a possible interaction with Harry Daniels, the more the videos feel like SNL shorts: less gonzo fun, more fuel for PR campaigns and album release schedules.

Harry Daniels, his sister Madeline and Charli D’Amelio. Photography: Harry Daniels

Still, Daniels says “music comes first.” She describes her work as hyperpop, the bubblegum genre and chaos typified by Charli XCX and Kim Petras. “It’s larger than life and reminds me of what music should be: It’s supposed to be the soundtrack to something bigger than yourself and make you feel things you can’t put into words,” she said.

He hasn’t released any tracks yet, but says 2024 will be the last year of his current track. It’s not that she’s over it; He knows that he’ll have to create content forever if he wants to stay relevant, and he’s fine with that. He simply sees an opportunity to “strike when the iron is hot.” He is currently in talks to expand his home team to include professionals other than just his sister.

As Daniels left the cafe, a young woman and apparent fan standing near the exit said quietly, “I love you.” Daniels responded with a breathy, saccharine whisper: “I love you too,” the kind of expression he bet she learned from the celebrities he’s sung to.

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