- 07 Apr 21
Rising star 24KGoldn on hitting No. 1 in Ireland, conquering TikTok and making a career out of confidence.
With a name like Golden Landis Von Jones, it would seem comical for the rising multi-genre artist to lack any confidence. At the tender age of 20, the Southern California rising star is gearing up to release his brand new album El Dorado, named after the city of lost gold. With a pattern of utilising his birth name to affirm his own limitless potential, the project will cement 24KGoldn’s status as the next hip hop superstar to blow up on TikTok following Lil Nas X’s incredible ascent.
24KGoldn recently exploded onto the music scene after amassing over 4.5 million TikTok followers and having a major impact on the charts with the infectious global No.1 hit ‘Mood’ - featuring Iann Dior. Shrugging off any accusations of being a one hit wonder with follow up viral tracks ‘3,2,1’ and DaBaby collaboration ‘Coco’; the enigmatic San Francisco native has energy to burn and ambitions of owning his own record label someday. It’s impossible to avoid getting swept up in his enthusiasm.
“The Irish have really great taste! It was No. 1 in your country before it was No. 1 in the US, which is really awesome,” Golden says, grinning. “I believe in my music and I think the rest of the world should feel just as passionately about it as I do. It’s going to hit everybody at different moments - that’s just a fact of life.”
For some young artists who have already dominated charts before they can legally enter a club in their homeland, a braggadocious air could present itself as arrogance, but 24KGoldn’s earnest playfulness allows his self-belief to win any audience over. It’s also the reason why his sense of humour and larger than life personality has gained him millions of young followers on TikTok, despite his record label signing him before ‘Valentino’ went viral two years ago.
“No one I’ve worked with has left me totally starstruck, because I’m at that level now. I might be younger than them all, but I’ve proven that I deserve to be among the top. I’ve worked incredibly hard for this, but I can’t fault people for not having the same belief in myself that I do,” Golden says, switching to a serious tone.
“They don’t know how strong I am and how hard I work, so it’s easy for my contributions to be overlooked, but I know that that will change one day. Anybody who understands what I’m trying to do now has the vision. If you don’t know what you’re missing, that’s your loss. You have the chance now to be early adopters.
“It’s the same people that would write off artists like XXXTenacion as ‘just a SoundCloud rapper’. I’ve always been a strong proponent of the idea that you shouldn’t be judged based off of the platform that brings you success,” Golden says, when asked about the difficulties of being preconceived as a viral ‘TikTok rapper.
“You should be judged on your music. Why does the fact that TikTok propelled me matter at all? I think it’s a great thing that the app is having such an impact on the music industry, because it’s putting the power back into the hands of the people. For so long, there has been gatekeeping in radio where the only way to knock down those barriers is to build a cult fanbase. TikTok has given anybody the ability to put something out there and have it naturally react and multiply purely based on whether people like it or not. Music should be decided by the people.
“You have to work in a way that will naturally compliment your strengths and minimise your weaknesses,” Golden explains, commenting that TikTok was a business decision as well as an entertaining way to connect with his legion of fans.
“I have a huge personality, TikTok just made way too much sense, but not everybody has the type of energy that will translate to the platform. One thing to remember for anyone who wants to be an artist out there is that everything starts with the music. Followers don’t matter if your tracks aren’t of the highest quality.”
His palpable excitement for the March 26 release of El Dorado brings back Golden’s animated ardour, forgetting his business mindset for a moment. His blend of pop, rap, emo-rock and R&B encapsulate the precise type of catchy, escapist anthems that radio stations adore in such a turbulent global era.
“I’ve always got to keep people on their toes, you know? I never want them to be able to guess what a Golden song is going to sound like. Every track has something unique about it that makes it stand out,” the artist says. “I’m proud that every part of El Dorado fits within a cohesive sound. That’s the most beautiful part of it to me.”
Despite his vibrant zest for climbing higher and higher in the music industry, experiencing such a meteoric surge at a young age can take its toll.
“It really depends on the day, if I’m being honest with you,” Golden says, referencing the spew of negative comments and criticism that tends to creep in after going viral. “Before, that stuff didn’t bother me at all but I’m pretty hard on myself. Things changed around the time of ‘Mood’ going No. 1 everywhere, because there was a lot of pressure. I’m working towards giving less of a fuck. It’s just figuring out what routines I have to do to stay strong.
“I’m really smart, so I can see through a lot of bullshit but I’ve had experiences where I was around people who really didn’t have my best interests at heart or had ulterior motives,” Golden says. “I’ve had to lose friends and family, but I accept that those are the sacrifices you have to make to be the greatest. Now I feel really comfortable that the people around me care for me and love me. I’ve got to trust in that because the more I question myself, the worse things get. I’ve got to keep my head down and keep going because I know what I’m doing - for the most part.”