We’re thrilled to share the very impressive news that Joshua Nanai, aka Jawsh 685, the 17-year-old songwriter and producer from Auckland, has taken out the #1 spot in the UK charts with the song ‘Savage Love (Laxed Beat – Siren)’ featuring vocals from U.S. R&B star Jason Derulo.
The song was also named #1 in NZ earlier this week, and is also leaping up charts in Australia and across Europe.
It’s only the third time that an artist from Aotearoa has made it to the top spot in the UK. Jawsh 685 follows in the footsteps of Lorde (along with co-writer Joel Little), who was also only 17 when ‘Royals’ went to #1 in November 2013; and Kimbra, who was 21 when her collaboration with Gotye ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ reigned supreme in January 2012.
The rise of ‘Savage Love (Laxed Beat-Siren)’ has been a whirlwind story of success for the Manurewa teen. Nanai’s been making beats in his bedroom for a while now, and had no idea he was about to unleash a global hit when an instrumental cut of his ‘Laxed-Siren Beat’ started making waves on TikTok.
The track kicked off a “Culture Dance” challenge, which saw users celebrate their own roots by dancing to the song in costumes reflecting their heritage (the ‘685’ in his stage name is a nod to Nanai’s Polynesian roots; it’s the calling code for Samoa). The track continued to generate more than 750,000 TikToks each day, and by the end of May had upwards of 43 million total views.
Jason Derulo took a liking to the beat, and decided to release a track laying his vocals over the top and sampling ‘Laxed Beat-Siren’. This was done illegally without agreement or permission from Nanai, and Derulo was rightly criticised. But an agreement was reached in June with the pair collaborating on the official release. Sony Music has now signed Nanai, and he’s looking forward to continuing his beat making and future collaborations.
It’s not the first time a New Zealand artist has seen international chart success after gaining interest via TikTok – Benee’s track ‘Supalonely’ (which she recently performed on both The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Ellen Show) reached #18 in the UK back in March, as well as reaching #39 in the US.