This week’s Audacy Alternative Pick of the Week is LILHUDDY's "Don’t Freak Out" featuring iann dior, Travis Barker, and All-American Rejects' Tyson Ritter.
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Every once in a while, an artist speaks directly to all of the kids who feel like they just don’t fit in…
Back in the day, these kids congregated at malls and skate parks. In a post-quarantine world, they find solace under the umbrella of social media subsets. LILHUDDY not only speaks to them, but he also speaks for them. Tattooed, nails painted, and always flexing cutting-edge fashion, he immediately commands attention with an unmistakable presence and an incendiary hybrid of pop, punk, and alternative. After building an audience of 40 million total followers on social media by simply being himself, he amplifies this same authenticity through a series of singles and his forthcoming debut album for Immersive/Geffen Records.
“It’s okay to be different,” he exclaims. “That’s the message I’m relaying. In a lot of ways, I’m a very misunderstood kid too. People don’t know the whole story or who I really am. I’ve always wanted to be my full self. Music is my way to finally show them.”
Music would also be his first passion. Growing up in the Northern California town of Stockton, he recognized the power of his voice at a young age. Dad played guitar, ukulele, and banjo, while mom went to college on a music scholarship and his big sister sang in choir. Despite overwhelming shyness, he sang along with his family at home, boasting the best range in the house. At the same time, he developed a passion for a wide swath of influences, ranging from blink-182, My Chemical Romance, All American Rejects, Pierce The Veil, and Black Sabbath to Bruno Mars, One Direction, and 5 Seconds of Summer. Eventually, he found his way to Tik Tok. Starting an account for fun, he posted content at a downright prolific pace, amassing over 1,000 videos and generating 1.5 billion likes as of 2020.
“I never wanted to be an ‘influencer guy’,” he admits. “It was more about making a special connection. I’d message everyone and host little group chats. It wasn’t even about the app; it was about the relationships I built.”
Buoyed by this support and confidence, he formally pursued his dream in 2020. MGK recruited him to star in his musical film experience, Downfalls High. Landing a deal with Immersive/Geffen Records, he cultivated a scorching signature style sharpened by the raw and restless angst of post-internet era adolescence.
Fangs out now, LILHUDDY makes his introduction with the hulking hook-driven single “21st Century Vampire.” The distortion crunches beneath a beat as Huddy confesses, “Can’t feel the pain. I’m immune. I don’t get tired I’m a 21st century vampire.”
“It’s a metaphor for the punks and the outcasts who don’t fit in and need a place,” he says. “They’re ‘21st Century Vampires’. Everybody asks them, ‘Why do you have piercings? Why do you dye your hair?’ They go to a concert, get out of their socially awkward shy zone, and gain acceptance.”
Ultimately, LILHUDDY is revealing himself without filter and with a whole lot of fire.
“If my music makes you feel better in any way, shape, or form, I’d feel accomplished,” he leaves off. “Strive to be yourself. That’s my message until I die.”