13 Seconds to Fame

Tre’ Mutava takes the TikTok spotlight with his music


Ally Pruente, Online Editor

The calendar read Dec. 4, 2020. Former Northwest student Tre’ Mutava led his day as he usually does. Music, college and work filled his hours. As his day settled down, so did he, as he opened Instagram. 

“I was on my phone, and I saw this video from the lead singer of x ambassadors,” Mutava said. 

Lead singer Sam Harris had created a social media video showing how to sing choir style music. In his example video Harris played the band’s song “Belong.” Using this same song as his inspiration, Mutava decided to record a video. He’d known music like this for almost seven years. This was his comfort zone. Approximately 35 minutes later, his video and audio clip was done. 

“I will definitely continue to pursue a career in music and focus on performing and releasing music for people,” Mutava said.

“I put it together pretty quickly and once I was done I was like ‘I’ll throw this on Instagram’ and after I did that I realized it was kind of like a TikTok video,” Mutava said. 

For Mutava, TikTok was far from front and center in memory. He hadn’t opened the app in months. TikTok’s main concept is to share 15-60 second long videos, and that’s exactly what Mutava had created. During his time at Northwest, Mutava was very active in the video production class, KUGR. During his senior year, he was on the team of executive producers. He used his editing skills on Adobe Premiere that he learned here at Northwest to create his video. He uploaded his video to TikTok that night.

As evening fell on the night of Dec. 5 the clock struck 10 p.m. Mutava was with a group of friends working on a project when his phone began buzzing nonstop. He was receiving TikTok notifications on his video. The moment came with no warning. 

“I’m looking at the comments and thinking ‘What’s going on?’” Mutava said. “Everyone’s like ‘This is gonna blow up.’” 

The first comments on his TikTok post were nothing but accurate. Before he knew it, Mutava’s TikTok cover of the x ambassadors song had gone viral. 

“It’s insane because what happened was every time I refreshed, another 99 different things happened on Tik Tok, whether it was likes, comments, shares or mentions,” Mutava said. “Every single time about 100 things happened.” 

Not only were these notifications about likes and comments, but Mutavas followers on the app expanded immensely in size. 

“I know I had 400 followers before the video, and then all of a sudden I’m up to 1,000, and then 5,000, then 20,000, ending with almost 40,000 TikTok followers all within the first week,” Mutava said. 

The video also reached 1 million views in its first day being posted reaching an amazing 2 million views by the next day. Things escalated quickly and became quite overwhelming for Mutava. While scrolling through comments only days after posting the video one caught his eye. 

“I’m looking through the comments of my original post on TikTok, right, and someone said ‘Dude, your sound was used by the NFL’s tiktok’,” Mutava said. 

At the Raider vs Jets game on Dec. 6, the Raiders came through with a 46-yard touchdown with only seconds to go in the game. The NFL used Mutava’s sound in their own clip of this 13 second moment and tagged his account to give credit. Excitement was the only thing running through his mind. 

“I thought, ‘Holy crap,’” Mutava said. “That makes no sense. First of all, ‘Man, that’s awesome.’” 

This quick 13 second video has made a lifelong impact on Mutava. His past music has received hundreds of streams on platforms such as Spotify. His social media has exploded in followers. His fan base has gone from hundreds to thousands. 

“My goal in life is always to get further than I am now,” Mutava said. “This is just me getting closer to it.” 

In the upcoming month, Mutava plans to drop a new single he’s been working on. He continues to move forward with his dream in music and make it his 9 to 5 career. This is the tip of the iceberg for Mutava. He has big plans and is determined to make them happen. 

“I will definitely continue to pursue a career in music and focus on performing and releasing music for people,” Mutava said.