Artists who find viral success on the newest social media app that actually have staying power in the industry are few and far between, but when they do pop up, it’s crucial to take notice.
Southwest Florida’s Sebastian Portillo’s rise to notoriety is one to watch, considering his debut single “2000 Degrees” accidentally went viral last year on TikTok after it was featured in other people’s videos, eventually receiving 5 million views across the entire platform. This success translated over to DSPs seamlessly, garnering Portillo over 1.6 million streams to date on Spotify alone.
Portillo’s success out of Southwest Florida follows trending acts like Dominic Fike, Nate Traveller, and Brendan Bennett as well as producer Kevin “Capi” Carbo, who worked on Fike’s “3 Nights” and songs off of of Fike’s debut album, What Could Possibly Go Wrong.
During the fall of 2020 when things were slowly looking a bit safer for Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, Portillo and his collaborators (Capi and Josiah Garrett), were able to start meeting up again to work on music: the feeling of optimism and positivity is emulated in the track.
“Little Hickory” weaves multiple storylines together: the first verse is all about the feeling of freedom when revisiting something from the past that you enjoy and falling in love with it all over again, the second verse about the struggles of getting over someone that you know isn’t right for you and choosing to move past it amidst the pain. Though Portillo has stated his musical influences range from Ed Sheeran to John Mayer and Carlos Santana, I hear lots of mid 2010s indie rock sounds “Little Hickory,” specifically reminiscent of artists like Foster The People and Gorillaz.
As we get into the thick of a new (somewhat unrestrained) summer, we’re going to start to see tons of new music from artists hoping to make theirs the biggest of the season. Don’t count out “Little Hickory” quite yet.
Follow Sebastian on Instagram here. “Little Hickory” is out on all platforms now.