How TikTok fame transformed Keenan Te’s music career

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How TikTok fame transformed Keenan Te’s music career

keenan te
Words by Mixdown Staff

"I made a conscious decision to treat social media as a business project to hopefully launch a music career, rather than a casual platform"

There is often no set formula for “making it” in this industry, and Melbourne singer-songwriter Keenan Te is living proof of that notion.

He has been making waves in the digital streaming world (1.6 monthly Spotify listeners) and has done it off the back of building a cult following on his social media platforms, namely Instagram and TikTok where he has accumulated almost two million followers across both platforms combined.

Read up on all the latest interviews here.

Many might recognise him from his intimate driver’s seat performances and the vast array of content he’s producing – which has netted him a handy little endorsement with Mazda Australia (plug incoming!).

Being Content Creation Month here at Mixdown, we thought we’d catch up with Keenan to see how he’s gone from being a content creator on people’s screens, to now infiltrating their daily listening.

Hey Keenan, thanks for sparing the time in what seems like a busy period for you! You just returned from LA, can you tell us a little more about that?

It’s my pleasure! So great to speak to you guys. LA was amazing, it was my first time to the States ever and I was there to write some songs and I also had a few photoshoots, as well as a music video shoot! It was a very hectic trip but so much fun, I can’t wait to go back.

What has your musical journey looked like up until this point? What are some of your earliest memories?

I have pretty much loved music since the day I was born hahah! I used to put on mini concerts for my parents and their friends when I was around three years old, and pretend to play air guitar and air piano.

I have always been surrounded by music and really blessed that my parents have always supported my love for music and put me into piano, guitar, and singing lessons since I was seven years old.

When did you start to see music as more of a career prospect than just a hobby? What triggered that?

I’ve always dreamed of having a career in music since I was young, but it turned into a career for me at the start of last year. I released my song ‘Dependent’ in April 2021, thinking that not many people would listen to it, but the song went viral on TikTok immediately and then charted in over 10 countries, including the #1 spot in Indonesia!

Ever since that song release, music has been a full-time career for me which I am super grateful for.

Your social following is unbelievable, especially on TikTok! Was it a conscious choice or more a gradual progression in moving into the content creation space?

Thank you! It was a mix of both for me. I’ve grown up using social media to connect with friends and family, and I used to post a few singing videos here and there in high school, so jumping onto TikTok was a natural thing for me socially.

Once I saw my first few viral videos on TikTok, I made a conscious decision to treat social media as a business project to hopefully launch a music career, rather than a casual platform for friends and family. I was super intentional about how much I was posting, the content I was making and set myself goals.

I hit over one million followers in less than a year, which exceeded my expectations but it was definitely intentional decisions and a lot of hard work that led me up to that point.

@keenantedont know what to call this♬ original sound – Keenan Te

How has it helped your music career so far? Did you expect that?

TikTok was the launchpad for my music career! So it has helped me immensely. I now use it as a way to connect with my fans and also market my music and I have seen the direct correlations of it translating into streams and sales for my music.

There is always a big shock element when it comes to TikTok because you just never know which videos and songs will go viral!

What efforts have you made to keep the direction of your content fresh? Has there been some trial and error or is it just as simple as setting up your camera in your car?

Aesthetic wise, my content is intentionally pretty raw and candid, as I love giving my fans an insight into my life and personality. In saying this though, everything that I post has been planned beforehand and there has been heaps of trial and error that goes into my content creation!

Even with the videos of me singing in my car, the angle has been tested 10 times, and I’ll probably do 5-10 takes of the same video to make sure I get it perfectly. I recently partnered with Mazda and got the new CX30 though which does make my life so much easier because it’s SO spacious so getting that perfect angle and lighting is a bit easier.

In terms of keeping direction of my content fresh, I dedicate two hours a week to planning my content for that week, writing out every detail (eg. Where it’s filmed, what song I’m promoting, what I’m going to sing) so this helps me get creative.


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A post shared by Keenan Te (@keenante)

What does the future look like for both your music and content creation career?

I feel like this first year of my career has been a great starting point for me, so I am really excited for all the plans we have for the coming year. Definitely will continue putting out music regularly, with an EP on the way and definitely albums down the line too!

I’m really blessed to have so many amazing fans around the world, so I can’t wait to tour and put on some fun shows for everyone to enjoy as well!

You can follow Keenan on Instagram here, or download ‘Halfway There’ here.