Wanted a hit in 2015? All it took was a dance step.
Pandas. kids. Clintons. In 2015, everyone and their grandmother made videos dancing to rapper-singer Silento's "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)." The song, which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, led a wave of top 20 tracks from indie-rap unknowns (ILoveMemphis' "Hit the Quan," T. Wayne's "Nasty [Freestyle]") powered by user-made online clips. "Before it was even a song, it was an a cappella on Instagram -- I got 200 comments," says Silento. "It's called 'Watch Me,' but I made it so everyone would think it's talking to them, telling them to dance."
Now the question is: Can he and his peers parlay viral hits into careers? After signing with Capitol this summer, Silento is about to find out. "I know how to go viral, but I want people to see another side of me -- I don't want to be 'the dance kid,' " says the 17-year-old, who recently released a more traditional R&B track, "All About You." "But if one of my regular songs doesn't get popping? I'm going to make another dance song."