Why does someone deserve popularity?
The possible reasons remain endless. However, a level of likability always precedes such admiration. It would be impossible not to like a stylish, humble, and friendly singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist—with a brown paper bag on his head (who emotes with Sharpie-penned expressions).
Underneath the bag, Mr. Popular is a lot more complex—and proves it in his upbeat and undeniable “ADHD pop.”
“Being popular is often associated with shallow factors like wealth, attractiveness or charisma,” he explains. “My vision is for Mr. Popular to be the antithesis of this sort of thinking. I want to be liked for the right reasons, like caring deeply for others, listening to them, and helping those in need.”
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Mr. Popular a.k.a. Ethan played music with his family growing up. Initially fascinated with soul, jazz, and the classics, he learned “all of The Beatles instruments,” becoming adept at guitar, drums, bass, and piano. Shortly after high school, he made waves in music with over 100 million cumulative streams to his credit under various musical identities—which shall remain unnamed. Then, he flipped the script. He began ghost-producing under the name “Mr. Pop” and started to make waves from behind-the-scenes and under-the-radar. Drawing inspiration from “The three Justin’s—Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver)” he developed a signature solo style characterized by sonic unpredictability and live instrumentation.
Adopting the bag in 2018, Mr. Popular came to life
“I describe my music as ‘ADHD Pop,’ because it’s all over the place,” he goes on. “A lot of the production is rooted in dance music and hip hop, but the vocals are undeniably pop. The bag was a simple way for me to conceal my identity so I could freely create without any boundaries or expectations. There was no history attached to the bag and I could become anything i wanted, figuratively and literally. Plus, bags are cheaper than masks,” he laughs.
His first independent single “Mix Up” introduced a new sound and amassed over 1 million Spotify streams in under a couple months. Meanwhile, “Fight It” ignited 2.3 million Spotify streams as he caught the attention of Casablanca Records who signed him in late 2018. Now, he makes his 2019 debut with the single “Poison.” Rife with synthesizers, 808’s and bouncy cadences, it jumps from confident verses into airy and ethereal crooning on the chorus.
“It’s one of my most heartfelt songs, and it’s totally about my ex-girlfriend,” he admits. “She got engaged. So, the lyrics are a metaphorical middle finger, letting her know that I’ll be drinking alcohol and living out my dreams if she needs me. I’ve
since forgiven her, and more importantly myself. The song remains as a snapshot of that period in my life.”
Ultimately, he’ll naturally achieve the popularity his name implies through the best way possible—just being himself.
“At the end of the day, I really care about people who are marginalized or left out in any regard,” he leaves off. “I’d love to create a culture and an environment— especially at shows—where everybody feels like they belong and they are important. That’s the end game in making simple songs with deep messages.”
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Spotify
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