Barely a year after graduating from high school in May 2017, iann dior was living part time in a recording studio in his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. Recently fired from his job at UPS, he used the opportunity to go all-in on his dream of making music, regularly posting songs to SoundCloud. “I wasn’t always the best in school, but I found myself interested in essays, just making up my own stories,” he says. “That really helped influence a lot of my songs — I wanted to put stories into music. So that’s how I got my jump.”
One of his earliest tracks, “Where You At,” raked in tens of thousands of streams on SoundCloud and eventually found its way to Internet Money producer Touch of Trent, who offered to work with the rapper. After a year-plus of helping hone dior’s sound, the producer sent his music to Internet Money label founder Taz Taylor. Within weeks, Taylor invited dior to Los Angeles for a few sessions, and by January 2019, dior had booked a one-way ticket, determined to launch his career. “All I was really focused on was making sure that I was never coming back,” he says.
The 21-year-old not only avoided moving home but also landed a record deal, released three projects in just over a year and joined a wave of artists successfully blurring the genre lines among rap, rock and pop. Now, thanks to his feature in July on “Mood” by 24kGoldn, a friend and fellow rising artist, dior can add a top five Billboard Hot 100 hit to his list of successes in his breakout year.