Viral on TikTok and record deal with Columbia Records

A lot has happened since Aden Foyer took a long-awaited break that changed everything.

Written by Tina Brodal 20.03.2023

Aden Foyer foto
Aden Foyer is back after a two-year break, and this autumn he went viral on TikTok with his debut single "Ballet girl". Photo: Emilie Billington

The past few months has been a whirlwind for Norwegian artist and songwriter Aden Foyer. After releasing his debut single "Ballet girl" in autumn 2022, the single quickly went viral on TikTok and found its way to several Viral Top50 charts in Norway and Europe. Not long ago, he landed a deal with Columbia Records US, as the second Norwegian artist in addition to girl in red.

- Aden Foyer is my new artist project after previously going under the name Jonas Aden. This is a project where I sing and write myself- as Jonas Aden I was an EDM producer and DJ. After a long-awaited break with some deep reflection, I changed everything, and wanted to write and sing instead, says Aden Foyer.

Back with a new image
After a two-year break from social media, he returned as Aden Foyer. Now all music is made alone together with music and business partner Paul Hers. In October 2022, Foyer released their debut single together with a music video documenting the last two years away from the music world. In December 2022, he signed with the record company Columbia Records US.

- It was truly a dream come true; Columbia was at the top of the list of record companies we wanted to work with. The plan was to release the first single independently, make as much noise in the industry as possible by ourselves, and then be able to build a dream team and land the right deals when we had enough leverage. Fortunately, the release went well and there was a lot of interest among the record companies, and we were in dozens of meetings after being flown to NY and LA.

After a short time, they got lawyer Josh Binder on the team, who helped them through the process towards signing a deal they were happy with at Columbia.

- It was the goal from the start to sign with a US-based record company as it is one of the main markets we want to get into asap, and that makes it much easier, especially when an artist isn’t coming from an English-speaking country, says Foyer.

Get to know Aden Foyer here:

Main focus on TikTok
For Foyer, TikTok has been a very important tool in marketing own songs. In addition to a large focus on promoting own content, influencers and other users on TikTok are also used strategically to promote songs in certain markets.

- In the summer of 2022, we did a large analysis of everything that had worked on TikTok, divided it into the categories that empirically worked best and replicated this in around 50 short form videos, with a separate brand aesthetic. Then we got new phones with an American SIM card so that the TikTok algorithm started from the first post - and we began posting a couple of weeks before release. We started a huge TikTok campaign in-house with the main focus on influencers. Our micro-campaigns gained traction quite quickly and we gradually contribute larger companies that specialize in larger influencers to test this and - albeit with varying results, Foyer says.

Several Norwegian companies contributed to the project, from Kiil Mgmt (Dennis Kiil, Ruben Looschen) on marketing, Twins Productions (Andreas Hem, Erik Hem) on video assets, to Aden's girlfriend (Emilie Billington) on styling and creative.

Working on a debut album
For Aden Foyer, the plan and objective for 2023 is clear: to get as much music and content out as possible. They are now working hard to complete the first album. Their aim is to achieve success in larger markets in Europe, as well as the USA and to start building a live show. Another focus is to do a lot of promotion and establish themselves on the radio, as well as in the media. A bonus goal is to gain success in Asia; for example in the Philippines or Indonesia.

- Right now, we are capitalizing on what we see works; which are markets like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France and Germany. These are markets where 'The Ballet Girl' has charted, either on Spotify or Shazam and is played a lot on the radio. We are planning a radio promo tour soon in some of these countries and will have extra focus on these through a TikTok strategy on the next release, says Foyer.

In the few weeks they were at home in Norway, Foyer and the team have had extra focus on creating promo opportunities in coordination with Sony Norway. They also work closely with the other local Sony departments around Europe, especially Sony Germany, and together they will collaborate closely on a strategy going forward.

- In parallel, we want to work with Columbia to start building in the USA and create opportunities in that market, and in-house we are also targeting markets like the Philippines and Indonesia.

Eyes on the US market
The US is naturally a challenging market where Aden Foyer and the team haven’t seen many results yet. They believe that it has everything to do with the sound and music.

- The Ballet Girl got a much better response in European markets, while we think the next songs that will be released are much more suitable for the American music market and this will make it a lot easier. It will also help to release songs with Columbia USA on the team from the start.

Foyer points out that physical presence in the various markets will be important in the future, and therefore expects a lot of travel in the time to come.

- Starting the process of building a unique and solid live show will be very important as concerts will be able to help a lot with the challenges we see in the more difficult markets, as well as the songs being very live-focused, concludes Foyer.

Aden Foyer received NOK 130,000 in marketing grants from Music Norway in 2022.