His unrecognizable take on SAINt JHN's woozy 2016 track topped the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs Chart for 23 weeks in 2020.
When Imanbek Zeikenov came across SAINt JHN's woozy 2016 track "Roses" last year, he felt the singer-rapper’s vibe but thought that something was missing. “I listened to the song and heard that it could be something else,” he says, speaking through a translator from his home in Aksu, Kazakhstan.
Zeikenov, who produces music under his first name, dramatically spiked the tempo, added a propulsive bassline and pitched the vocals up beyond recognition — then watched in shock as his version went viral after he posted it on a Russian social media site. In August 2019, he signed to Russian label Effective Records, which helped him sort out the rights with SAINt JHN’s camp. Not long after, the remix became a global TikTok hit, fueling a 23-week run atop the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart in 2020 and earning Zeikenov a Grammy nod for best remixed recording. Below, the 20-year-old reflects on his breakout year.