You may not know what it is, who the artist is, or their story, but you’ve almost definitely heard the song in the past few weeks.
The simple, surfy guitar chords that open CITY OF ANGELS and its mildly funkier remix are almost instantly recognisable now after TikTok’s first household name, Charli D’melio, along with a bunch of other influencer types used the San Fran-born, LA-based 19-year-old’s track in their creations.
His distinctly sharp drawl and stressed vocal range first began to pop him through a little over a year ago with a record called Valentino, which has done over a hundred million on Spotify alone.
The newer single has him set up to be a total breakthrough for 2020. Top 25 at Spotify in Australia with absolutely zero radio play (I checked) which is proof this song is a one-listen lovefest and from the conversation you’re about to read, it’s obvious that he’s found his sonic place and his people to make that possible.
I FaceTimed Golden today and caught him with a headset on. 24KGOLDN in bold, Nic Kelly in not-bold.
What are you playing?
Call of Duty Modern Warfare. You actually caught me at the perfect time. I just got a win and now it’s that in-between period, so it’s perfect.
You’re in the afterglow.
I’m just basking in the victory right now. I’m loving it.
How much COD have you been playing the last couple of weeks with the lockdown?
I went back home to San Francisco to stay with my family for a couple of weeks when this first all started popping off. Back there it was like I was back in middle school. Just chilling all day and playing COD with my friends. But now I’m back in LA, I’m working on the album, trying to be productive.
It’s a hard thing, isn’t it? When the world is sort of in a shutdown mode, you’ve got to let yourself go with it. I feel like for someone like you, who’s a hard worker, it’s kind of hard to allow yourself to switch off and have some fun for a bit.
Yeah, I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself to keep working and keep going and keep doing. There’s still ways to be productive whilst on quarantine, but you’ve also got to appreciate like… this is the first time in a long time that I really got to just chill and relax and just kind of blow off some steam, so that feels really good.
Were you with family back in San Fran?
Yeah, that’s where I grew up. That’s where all my family is. It was good to just reconnect with them after being gone for so long working and doing this all day.
Back in LA, this is very exciting, working on music, that’s very exciting. City Of Angels is starting to pop off in Australia, which is really cool.
Why do you guys like it so much?
I think there’s an element of it that sounds and more importantly feels like some Australian stuff in the past.
You know that song Smoko?
YUNGBLUD put me on to that song the other day and I was like, this is just crazy, it’s kind of like City Of Angels vibes.
Of course Yungblud likes Smoko. I saw that he covered City Of Angels on his YUNGBLUD Live YouTube show. Are you guys friends now?
Yeah! We both work with this mutual producer, Omer Fedi, who’s really good friends with both of us. That’s my best friend right there. And that’s like Dom’s best friend too. He introduced me and Dom a minute ago and we’ve just been kind of friends, but that was the first time we got to work on some music together. And the Sublime cover with MGK and Travis, that was so fun to make. Everybody killed it.
Absolutely. There’s like a cool little collective of people like you, Dom and Omer just blowing up at the same time. Has Omer become kind of your ‘guy’?
That’s my guy right there. We’re working on the album right now with him, a bunch of other producers, like Jaasu, and man, we’re really excited to show you what we have next for this project. It’s called El Dorado, it’s gonna be such pure substance that people have to love it. I know you in Australia, y’all are gonna love it, because you guys have got good taste.
We’ve got fucking great taste. I know a lot of the stuff that’s popped off in the past for you has been a little bit more on the hip-hop side, those dirtier kind of beats and then we’ve got a more fun kind of song like City of Angels. What does the rest of El Dorado sound like? Which way is it going?
My goal is to bring as much versatility as possible. I feel like you shouldn’t be restricted to just doing one type of thing, you know? I want to give you everything. And you guys decide what you like the most.
We will. Are you a little sad that you can’t come and tour here at the moment?
You have no idea. Like, especially ‘cos the most beautiful girls in my DM are always from Australia, so I was really excited to come over and visit but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
If this song, or even this conversation, is Australia’s first proper introduction to 24KGOLDN – here’s your chance, what do they need to know about you?
I want them to know that I’m going to be the biggest superstar in the world and that I hope you’re ready for this journey with me, because it’s gonna be a crazy one.