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 41)[2]
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Occupation(s)YouTube personality, singer, songwriter, voice actor
Years active2006–present

Adam Nyerere Bahner (born May 21, 1982), better known by the pseudonym Tay Zonday[3][4][5] or as "Chocolate Rain Guy",[6][7] is an American YouTube personality, singer-songwriter, and voice actor.[8] He is known for his bass singing voice.

Zonday garnered mainstream exposure when his song "Chocolate Rain" became a viral video[7] in July 2007. As of May 2024, "Chocolate Rain" has over 138 million views on YouTube.[9]

Early life[edit]

Zonday was born Adam Nyerere Bahner in Minneapolis, Minnesota to an African-American mother and a Caucasian father. He is the youngest of three children, and his parents were both teachers.[10] He attended the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and dropped out before graduating,[11] but later graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2004.[12] Zonday is Autistic, having been diagnosed as high-functioning at age 15.[13][14]

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.[15][16] 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.[15]


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.[17]

"Chocolate Rain"[edit]

Zonday released "Chocolate Rain", a viral song on race and race politics, on April 22, 2007.[18] He was soon making appearances on national television. He appeared on G4TV's Attack of the Show!, VH1's Best Week Ever,[19] Lily Allen and Friends, Jimmy Kimmel Live!,[20] Tosh.0 and Maury[21][22] 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[23] and People[22] and has appeared on CNN[24] 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".[25] 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".[22] 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,[26][27] along with appearing on Best Week Ever improvising a parody to the tune of Nelly Furtado's "Say It Right".[28] Green Day drummer Tré Cool recorded a parody of "Chocolate Rain" which he posted on YouTube.[29] 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.[30][31][32] 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.[33] He released a video called "Cherry Chocolate Rain",[34] 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.[35] He appeared in-person at Intel's Consumer Electronics Show booth, rendering the source files of the "Chocolate Rain" YouTube video in Sony Vegas.[36]

After "Chocolate Rain"[edit]

In February 2010, he cameoed in a Vizio Super Bowl commercial opened by Beyoncé.[8]

In August 2011, Zonday released his only EP so far, titled "Chocolate Rain 2.0". In November he uploaded "Mama Economy (The Economy Explained)" in response to an economic crisis in the United States.[37] "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 2022 has reached over 6.7 million views.[38] 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]".[39]

Voice acting[edit]

Zonday voiced "The King" in the Happy Wheels animated web series based on the video game of the same name, which premiered on Go90 in November 2016.[40]

In July 2017, Machinima, Inc. and Hasbro cast several YouTube personalities, including Zonday, for the animated web series Transformers: Titans Return to garner online attention.[41] Zonday was cast as "Chorus of the Primes".[42]

The TF2 Incident[edit]

Zonday's Twitch stream ended up in disaster after trying to fix his audio on the stream while playing the video game Team Fortress 2.[43] This has been dubbed the "Tay Zonday moment" and has become synonymously used when there is a feedback loop on any stream.

See also[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. Archived from the original on December 12, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
  4. ^ Sweat, Zach (July 2, 2021). "Tay Zonday Opens Up About 'Chocolate Rain' Going Viral And The Struggles Of Internet Fame As We Look Back On The Last 14 Years". KnowYourMeme. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  5. ^ "Tay Zonday Of 'Chocolate Rain' Fame Shares Brilliant Observation On The Dilemma Of Being Poor In America". Archived from the original on July 21, 2018. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  6. ^ "Canada on Strike (2008)". South Park. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  7. ^ 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 Archived April 8, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Chocolate Rain" Original Song by Tay Zonday on YouTube
  10. ^ "Ep. 67 Tay Zonday - Ear Biscuits". Archived from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  11. ^ Finley, Klint. "Hogwarts for Hackers: Inside the Science and Tech School of Tomorrow". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  12. ^ "Congratulations to The Evergreen State College Class of 2021!". Evergreen State College. Archived from the original on July 16, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  13. ^ Zonday, Tay (December 3, 2021). "Frequently Asked Questions". Medium. Retrieved April 6, 2024.
  14. ^ Zonday, Tay (December 12, 2019). "Let's talk about #aspergers (a thread)". X. Archived from the original on February 6, 2024. Retrieved April 6, 2024.
  15. ^ 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. Archived from the original on October 24, 2021.
  16. ^ C.J. (June 13, 2017). "'Chocolate Rain' and its many memes bring sweet success to Tay Zonday". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on December 31, 2017. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  17. ^ Kale, Sirin (August 24, 2016). "Tay Zonday Does Not Want You to Understand the Meaning Of 'Chocolate Rain'". www.vice.com. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  18. ^ "Tay Zonday on the Opie & Anthony show". YouTube. July 19, 2007. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2007.
  19. ^ Chocolate Rain on Best Week Ever on YouTube
  20. ^ Minneapolis City Pages: Rain Man Archived November 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Tay Zonday On Jimmy Kimmel on YouTube
  22. ^ a b c Orloff, Brian (August 9, 2007). "'Chocolate Rain' YouTube Sensation Makes TV Debut". People. Time Inc. Archived from the original on March 29, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
  23. ^ "The latest from the StarTribune". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on January 7, 2009. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  24. ^ "CNN.com - Transcripts". CNN. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved November 13, 2007.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Keiper, Nicole (August 4, 2007). "Concert Review: John Mayer brings soul to Nashville". The Tennessean. Archived from the original on December 19, 2007. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  27. ^ 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. Archived from the original on May 28, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2007.
  28. ^ John Mayer on Best Week Ever Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Chocolate Rain Sung By McGruff The Crime Dog on YouTube
  31. ^ Video on YouTube
  32. ^ Chocolate Rain McDonald's Spot / Tay Zonday on YouTube
  33. ^ funnyguy1375 (November 15, 2007). "Last Laugh 07 Chocolate Rain - Tay Zonday". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 4, 2007. Retrieved January 12, 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  34. ^ "Cherry Chocolate Rain" Original Song by Tay Zonday on YouTube
  35. ^ Riley, Duncan (January 7, 2008). "Exclusive: Mozilla Secretly Launches A Viral Campaign For Firefox". Techcrunch.com. Archived from the original on January 13, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  36. ^ channelintel (January 7, 2008). "Chocolate Rain at CES". YouTube. Archived from the original on August 6, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  37. ^ "'Chocolate Rain' Creator Tay Zonday Explains The Economy In New Single 'Mama Economy'". Huffington Post. November 15, 2011. Archived from the original on December 20, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  38. ^ Video on YouTube
  39. ^ Menyes, Carolyn (June 14, 2012). "The 10 Best 'Call Me Maybe' Covers" Archived September 12, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Billboard
  40. ^ Trumbore, Dave (November 15, 2016). "'Happy Wheels' Animated Web Series Brings the Hit Game's Dark Humor to Life". Collider. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  41. ^ Spangler, Todd (July 18, 2017). "Transformers: Titans Return' Series Casts Peter Cullen, Judd Nelson, Wil Wheaton". Variety Magazine. Archived from the original on July 19, 2017. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  42. ^ Fahey, Mike (July 19, 2017). "The Transformers: Titans Return Animated Series Gets Real Voice Actors". Kotaku. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  43. ^ Tay Zonday Plays Team Fortress 2. Retrieved April 24, 2024 – via www.youtube.com.

External links[edit]