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Tay Zonday

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Tay Zonday
Zonday in 2010
Zonday in 2010
Background information
Birth nameAdam Nyerere Bahner[1]
Born (1982-05-21) May 21, 1982 (age 38)[2]
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
GenresOutsider music, electronica, R&B, experimental music, spoken word
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, voice actor, YouTube personality
Years active2007–present
Websitetayzonday.com

Adam Nyerere Bahner (born May 21, 1982), better known by the pseudonym Tay Zonday[3] or as "Chocolate Rain Guy",[4][5][6] is an American singer, songwriter, voice actor, and YouTube personality.[7]

He is known for his bass singing voice. He garnered mainstream exposure when his song "Chocolate Rain" became a viral video[6] in July 2007. As of February 2021, "Chocolate Rain" has over 129 million views on YouTube.[8]

Early life[edit]

Zonday was born Adam Nyerere Bahner in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is of half African-American descent. He is the youngest of three children, and his parents are both teachers.[9] He attended the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy but dropped out before graduating.[citation needed] Zonday graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2004.[citation needed]

Zonday enrolled in the University of Minnesota American studies PhD program in 2004, studying the history of theater and social change, with the intention of becoming a professor. After the viral success of "Chocolate Rain", he left university with a master's degree in 2008 and moved to Los Angeles, California.[10][11] He used a stage name because he wanted a separation between his academic and entertainment career. Bahner chose "Tay Zonday" because he thought it was catchy and nobody had claimed the name yet, according to a Google search.[10]

Career[edit]

While a PhD student in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Zonday began performing at open mic nights in 2006. Looking for more feedback, he began uploading his performances online the next year.[12]

Zonday released "Chocolate Rain", a viral song on race and race politics, on April 22, 2007.[13] He was soon making appearances on national television. He appeared on the Opie & Anthony Show,[14] G4TV's Attack of the Show!, VH1's Best Week Ever,[15] Lily Allen and Friends, Jimmy Kimmel Live!,[16] Tosh.0 and Maury[17][18] where he performed "Chocolate Rain" on national television a little over three months after he posted his composition on YouTube. He made the front page of Sunday's Los Angeles Times on August 12, 2007 with additional features in The Toronto Star, The Chicago Tribune's RedEye, The Star Tribune[19] and People[18] and has appeared on CNN[20] for a televised interview. On February 12, 2008, he appeared on the television show Lily Allen and Friends on BBC Three, and performed a cover of Lily Allen's debut "Smile". In March 2008, the video won a YouTube award in the category "Music".

The Australian Daily Telegraph newspaper wrote: "Tay Zonday has written perhaps the most listened-to song in the world right now".[21] People said: "He's scored a YouTube hit with his repetitive, keyboard-driven 'Chocolate Rain', and after a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Tay Zonday's star is shining even brighter".[18] The article also noted that celebrity musicians paid tribute to the song as its popularity rapidly peaked in August 2007. John Mayer reportedly copied Zonday's keyboard riff with his guitar in concert,[22][23] along with appearing on Best Week Ever improvising a parody to the tune of Nelly Furtado's "Say It Right".[24] Green Day drummer Tré Cool recorded a parody of "Chocolate Rain" which he posted on YouTube.[25] Zonday also became the subject of thousands of other parodies and remixes on YouTube. A clip of his video was also shown on The CW's short-lived series, Online Nation.[26][27][28] Zonday has also been interviewed twice on Good Morning America, in March and November 2008.[episode needed]

Zonday starred in a commercial for Comedy Central's "Last Laugh 07", hosted by Lewis Black.[29] He released a video called "Cherry Chocolate Rain",[30] in a promotion with Dr Pepper. He starred alongside Leslie Hall in a commercial for Firefox web browser singing a song called "Users Against Boredom" in a parody of "We Are the World". Zonday has said that his voice is often compared to Paul Robeson, Barry White, James Earl Jones, and Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies.[31] He appeared in-person at Intel's Consumer Electronics Show booth, rendering the source files of the "Chocolate Rain" YouTube video in Sony Vegas.[32]

The Grammy Award-winning music video for rock band Weezer's single "Pork and Beans" featured Zonday, along with other YouTube celebrities. As well, in May 2008, Zonday performed an acoustic version of the song with Brian Bell of Weezer, spoofing his own performance in "Chocolate Rain".[33]

Zonday was featured on the Jace Hall Show, where he was comically interviewed at a famous Hollywood restaurant in a play on the dissonance between Internet fame and the traditional entertainment industry.[34]

In February 2010, he cameoed in a Vizio Super Bowl commercial opened by Beyoncé.[7] In October 2010, he appeared on Comedy Central's Night of Too Many Stars autism charity event during a musical number with Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert.[35]

In August 2011, Zonday appeared on America's Got Talent and performed 15 seconds of his song "Chocolate Rain". Zonday was also featured in Dave Days' YouTube video spoof of Justin Bieber's song "Baby", which has over 16 million views. He had a cameo in The Guild season 5 episode 3 "Megagame-o-ramacon!", which aired on August 9, 2011. In November he uploaded "Mama Economy (The Economic Explained)" in response to an economic crisis in the United States.[36] "Mama Economy" features Lindsey Stirling playing the violin.

On June 22, 2012, Zonday uploaded a cover of Carly Rae Jepsen's number one single "Call Me Maybe", which as of 2016 has reached over 6.5 million views.[37] It was featured on "The 10 Best 'Call Me Maybe' Covers" on Billboard.com. He is seen performing the single in front of a microphone in what he claimed to be "as low as I could [sing]".[38]

In 2015, Zonday co-starred in the sitcom The Jack and Triumph Show on Adult Swim.

In 2016, he appeared in the films Internet Famous and Laid in America.

In 2017, he appeared on Steve Harvey to celebrate the tenth anniversary of "Chocolate Rain".[39]

Voice acting[edit]

As a voice actor, he voiced part of a multimedia presentation built to celebrate 50 years of NASA history.[40]

He also voiced a Count Chocula-inspired parody of himself in Adult Swim's Robot Chicken, in the 16th episode of the fourth season, "The Ramblings of Maurice." In the sketch, Zonday performs a spoof of his viral hit "Chocolate Rain", entitled "Chocolate Grain".

Zonday voiced "The King" in the Happy Wheels animated series based on the video game of the same name, which premiered on Go90 in November 2016.[41]

In July 2017, Machinima, Inc. and Hasbro casted several YouTube personalities, including Zonday, for the animated series Transformers: Titans Return on Go90 to garner online attention.[42] Zonday was cast as "Chorus of the Primes".[43]

Personal life[edit]

Zonday has stated that he has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.[44]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Profile on official site[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Tweet from May 21, 2017". Twitter. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  3. ^ Ryan, Joal (August 9, 2007). "The "Chocolate" Reign of Tay Zonday". E! Online. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
  4. ^ "Tay Zonday Of 'Chocolate Rain' Fame Shares Brilliant Observation On The Dilemma Of Being Poor In America". Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  5. ^ "Canada on Strike (2008)". South Park. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Fox News report about Numa Numa also mentions: ...fellow viral video star, 'Chocolate Rain Guy', aka Tay Zonday (Sep 22, 2010): Foxnews.com
  7. ^ a b "Chocolate Rain Singer Tay Zonday Still A Star; Chocolate Rain Has Gotten Almost 48M YouTube Views". MYfox Phoenix. February 17, 2010. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  8. ^ "Chocolate Rain" Original Song by Tay Zonday on YouTube
  9. ^ "Ep. 67 Tay Zonday - Ear Biscuits". Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Padilla, Anthony (February 4, 2020). I spent a day with VIRAL MEME STARS (Kombucha Girl, Hit or Miss, Chocolate Rain) (YouTube video). 6:04 minutes in.
  11. ^ C.J. (June 13, 2017). "'Chocolate Rain' and its many memes bring sweet success to Tay Zonday". Star Tribune. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  12. ^ Kale, Sirin (August 24, 2016). "Tay Zonday Does Not Want You to Understand the Meaning Of 'Chocolate Rain'". www.vice.com. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  13. ^ "Tay Zonday on the Opie & Anthony show". July 19, 2007. Retrieved July 20, 2007.
  14. ^ Tay Zonday on the Opie & Anthony Show on YouTube
  15. ^ Chocolate Rain on Best Week Ever on YouTube
  16. ^ Minneapolis City Pages: Rain Man Archived November 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Tay Zonday On Jimmy Kimmel on YouTube
  18. ^ a b c Orloff, Brian (August 9, 2007). "'Chocolate Rain' YouTube Sensation Makes TV Debut". People. Time Inc. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
  19. ^ "The latest from the StarTribune". Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  20. ^ "CNN.com - Transcripts". CNN.
  21. ^ Montgomery, Garth (August 1, 2007). "Chocolate Rain goes huge". Daily Telegraph. News Limited. Archived from the original on September 19, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
  22. ^ Keiper, Nicole (August 4, 2007). "Concert Review: John Mayer brings soul to Nashville". The Tennessean.
  23. ^ MTV News Staff (August 6, 2007). "Jennifer Lopez And Marc Anthony Roll Out Tour Dates; Plus Lindsay Lohan, Gwen Stefani, Nas, Amy Winehouse & More, In For The Record". MTV News.
  24. ^ John Mayer on Best Week Ever Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Cashmere, Tim (August 3, 2007). "Green Day Drummer Tre Cool Covers Tay Zonday". Undercover. Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
  26. ^ Chocolate Rain Sung By McGruff The Crime Dog on YouTube
  27. ^ Video on YouTube
  28. ^ Chocolate Rain McDonald's Spot / Tay Zonday on YouTube
  29. ^ funnyguy1375 (November 15, 2007). "Last Laugh 07 Chocolate Rain - Tay Zonday". YouTube. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  30. ^ "Cherry Chocolate Rain" Original Song by Tay Zonday on YouTube
  31. ^ Riley, Duncan (January 7, 2008). "Exclusive: Mozilla Secretly Launches A Viral Campaign For Firefox". Techcrunch.com. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  32. ^ channelintel (January 7, 2008). "Chocolate Rain at CES". YouTube. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  33. ^ Pork & Beans Acoustic - Tay Zonday and Brian Bell on YouTube
  34. ^ Video: The Jace Hall Show with Tay Zonday, Gearbox (June 27, 2008). "Video: The Jace Hall Show with Tay Zonday, Gearbox". GameArgus.com. Archived from the original on October 10, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  35. ^ Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert - "Everybody's Talking 'Bout Sully" (October 22, 2010). "Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert - "Everybody's Talking 'Bout Sully"". Comedy Central. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
  36. ^ "'Chocolate Rain' Creator Tay Zonday Explains The Economy In New Single 'Mama Economy'". Huffington Post. November 15, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  37. ^ Video on YouTube
  38. ^ Menyes, Carolyn (June 14, 2012). "The 10 Best 'Call Me Maybe' Covers". Billboard
  39. ^ ""Chocolate Rain" 10 years later!". Youtube. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  40. ^ "50th Anniversary of NASA". Nasa.gov. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  41. ^ Trumbore, Dave (November 15, 2016). "'Happy Wheels' Animated Web Series Brings the Hit Game's Dark Humor to Life". Collider. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  42. ^ Spangler, Todd (July 18, 2017). "Transformers: Titans Return' Series Casts Peter Cullen, Judd Nelson, Wil Wheaton". Variety Magazine. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  43. ^ Fahey, Mike (July 19, 2017). "The Transformers: Titans Return Animated Series Gets Real Voice Actors". Kotaku. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  44. ^ Zonday, Tay (December 12, 2019). Twitter https://twitter.com/tayzonday/status/1205143811527065600?lang=en. Retrieved September 13, 2020. I'm diagnosed by multiple practitioners as having high-functioning autism with aspergers. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]