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article imageKiwi teen tops US chart after Jason Derulo, BTS remix viral TikTok tune

By AFP     Oct 14, 2020 in Entertainment

A 17-year-old New Zealander whose TikTok anthem "Savage Love" has been viewed more than a billion times said Wednesday "it blows his mind" to have now topped the US Billboard singles chart.

Jawsh 685 -- whose real name is Josh Nanai -- saw his viral instrumental remixed by US RnB star Jason Derulo and Korean supergroup BTS to become an international megahit.

"It blows my mind to be US number 1," he said in a social media video post.

"A kid from South Auckland y'know showing other kids you can do it, any street you're from, anywhere. You can do it, believe in yourself, you can do it. Trust me."

The young producer's dream run of success began after the tune -- "Savage Love (Laxed - Siren Beat)" -- was picked up by TikTok users as the backing track for a hugely popular dance challenge.

The challenge -- which saw users showcase their cultural heritage by dressing in traditional outfits and dancing to the song -- was also embraced by stars like Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Fallon.

The "#sirenbeatchallenge" was picked up by stars including Jennifer Lopez
The "#sirenbeatchallenge" was picked up by stars including Jennifer Lopez
Ethan Miller, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

As of Monday the hashtags #sirenbeat, #sirenbeatchallenge and #laxedsirenbeat have collectively been viewed over two billion times on the video-based social media platform.

Nanai was signed by Columbia Records and has now topped the charts in Britain, Germany, New Zealand and Australia among other countries.

The song initially caused some controversy after RnB superstar Jason Derulo took the original beat, added some lyrics, and promoted it as his own.

Following the controversy, Nanai told local radio station Mai FM in June there had been an exchange of messages between the two before the incident, but that it was "unfinished business."

Columbia Records has since said Derulo and Nanai have "put aside their differences and come together".

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