Trending on TikTok isn’t reserved for dancers – many people share their life updates and happenings to gain viral attention from followers around the globe. St. George’s alumnus, David Ogle ’20, knows this well. After posting a video of his parents reacting to a significant scholarship to play music at the University of Memphis, David gained more than 50,000 followers in a matter of hours.
The story of David’s viral success started at St. George’s. Tom Link, artist-in-residence for middle and upper school band, recognized David’s talent with guitar, and recommended he apply to the University of Memphis band “Sound Fuzion.” The band is one of few collegiate bands that offers significant financial aid to its members.
“I had never heard of Sound Fuzion until Mr. Link told me,” David said. “I learned that Nathan Dumser, St. George’s middle and upper school choral director, was the drummer when he was in college, and I decided with their encouragement to audition.”
Because of circumstances, the first round of the process required David to submit an audition tape to the band’s directors. When he didn’t hear back, he assumed he hadn’t made the cut. That changed when he received a surprise email while on vacation.
“I got an email from Sound Fuzion while I was on vacation asking if I planned to submit my second-round interview tape,” David said. “After I responded, I realized I was inadvertently left off the follow up list for second round auditions. I had five days to prepare my songs, all of which I had to learn in three days, because I didn’t have my guitar with me on vacation.”
In the midst of preparing for his audition, something struck David. For as long as he could remember, his parents had been incredibly supportive of his passion for music. From toting him to lessons to buying him his instruments, his parents had sacrificed significantly to support his ambitions. He was now one audition and a few days of waiting away from delivering the news that his college would be almost entirely paid for.
“That’s when I decided to surprise them,” he said. “It was really all about them, thanking them for their investment in me and for the support they provided all along the way – a way to show them their investment was worth it.”
When he got the acceptance email, he turned to his newly formed TikTok account and hit record. He posted two videos that day – one explaining his plan and the reason behind surprising his parents, and the other surprising them with the significant scholarship.
“They were shocked but excited, I don’t think they understood at the moment what was happening,” David said.
The video slowly accrued about 2,000 views, mostly from people he knew. After an hour, he turned off his phone and headed to guitar lessons. When he opened his phone two hours later, more than 99 notifications caught his attention. In a matter of hours, his video had entered the “for you page” or “FYP” feed of people around the globe.
Since he posted his video, David’s videos have amassed more than 6.8 million views, more than 1 million likes and upward of 6,000 comments. He was shocked by the reaction.
“So much of the feedback was positive, and my parents loved reading the comments,” David said. “My dad laughed at the commenters who roasted him, and my mom was appreciative that people thought she was pretty.”
So, what now for the viral TikTok musician? He’s focusing on adjusting to life as a college student and a member of the UoM’s Sound Fuzion. The band is just now starting to come together for in-person practices, but David’s reputation as a new member of the band preceded their practice schedule.
“Several of my band members reached out to me after seeing the video on their own TikTok page,” he said. “It wasn’t the introduction I was expecting to make.”
David is still somewhat active on his TikTok page, posting original music and music-related content for his 52,000 followers. He doesn’t want to put too much pressure on himself to leverage the platform for future success, but does want to use it to entertain people and share his passion for music.
“I hope this will be a good start to my career, who knows what might happen from here.”
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