Many of us swore we’d never download TikTok, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reconsider most of our life decisions. The video-sharing app has the ability to bring us 15 to 60 seconds of temporary joy at a time, and we'll take all we can get right now.
TikTok can be credited for the success of many of this year’s hit singles, including Houston native Megan thee Stallion’s “Savage,” which reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Also from Texas is Dallas resident Nate Ontiveros, better known as Nategawd92 on TikTok, who is making a splash with his single “Take a Shot and Make a TikTok.”
Ontiveros has always had a passion for music. He used to make parodies of hit songs on YouTube but wanted to start taking music more seriously, especially after working as a doorman at a luxury Dallas hotel and frequently interacting with musicians.
“One time, Drake and his producer were in the hotel and I was just hanging out and taking pictures,” Ontiveros says. “My boss didn’t like it, but I figured, hey, if this is the way I’m gonna go out, then cool. It’s Drake.”
When the pandemic struck, Ontiveros was ordered to stay home as many hotels, bars and restaurants were temporarily closing. He decided to use his time to improve his craft.
Like many others, Ontiveros’ fiancée Brittney kept herself entertained by watching TikTok videos. One day, when the two were on Instagram live, she uttered a phrase that would change their lives.
“Brittney was the one who was like, ‘Take a shot and make a TikTok, bitch,’” Ontiveros remembers. “We were both drunk, and then she said ‘Make that a song.’"
Ontiveros searched YouTube and found an instrumental track. He took the track to his home studio, and recorded a 15-second clip, in which he repeats the phrase “take a shot and make a TikTok, bitch.”
While the clip quickly took off, Ontiveros didn’t have a full song in mind. It wasn’t until his original clip got 5,000 views that he decided to create a full version.
Under the moniker Nategawd, Ontiveros has released a full version of “Take a Shot and Make a TikTok” on all music streaming platforms. Brittney, who coined the phrase, also has a writing credit on the song. The original video has since garnered 65 million views and fellow TikTokers Jason Derulo and Jena Frumes have made videos of their own with the song playing.
The viral success led to Ontiveros signing to a management team, and the song caught the attention of several rappers. Ontiveros later chose Lil Jon to appear on a remix of “Take a Shot and Make a TikTok.”
“We felt like Lil Jon was definitely the hype man for this track,” Ontiveros says.
Ontiveros had plans to shoot a music video in Dallas, but his manager was able to get a film crew out to Miami to shoot. Ontiveros flew to Miami, where, on the day of the shoot, he learned that rapper Flo Rida would also be hopping on the remix.
“He came to the video shoot, and I was like ‘Yo, this is crazy,” Ontiveros says of Flo Rida.
The remix and the accompanying music video are set to premiere sometime next month. Ontiveros says he wants to produce a Latin remix of “Take a Shot and Make a TikTok” with reggaeton artists. He also hopes to release an album, he says, “when the time is right.”
But for now, Ontiveros is enjoying his newfound fame and is thankful people are having fun with his song.
“I feel like the song has brought the world together for a short period of time,” Ontiveros says. “I’ve seen white, Black, Hispanic and Asian people dancing to it. I’ve seen elderly people and teenagers dancing to it — and whether they’re using alcohol or juice, they’re just having fun while things in the world are going crazy right now.”