That Kid is a star in the making: A breakdown of his debut era.

That+Kid+as+he+appears+in+an+early+2019+press+photoshoot.

That Kid

That Kid as he appears in an early 2019 press photoshoot.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

American singer-songwriter That Kid spent years perfecting his craft before officially debuting in September 2018 with his iconic debut single, “Dial Tone” — a collaboration with American singer-songwriter Slayyyter and American singer-songwriter and producer Ayesha Erotica that took the underground pop music scene by storm.

Initially intended to be the lead single from his debut mixtape, Dial Up Diaries, “Dial Tone” became the first in a series of standalone singles after the project was scrapped in late April. A total of 12 singles were planned for the era, with the final single scheduled for mid to late December, however, That Kid confirmed via Twitter that the song’s release had been scrapped due to timing, officially bringing the singles project to a close with 11 tracks.

The “Pink Singles”:

“Dial Tone” was produced by Ayesha Erotica.

“Dial Tone”: Kicking off his debut era, “Dial Tone” was released in September 2018 as That Kid’s first official single. The upbeat, high-energy bop is an ode to cybersex, with lyrics describing the art of sending nude pictures to a gentleman caller via all forms of social media — Snapchat, Twitter, etc. — and encompasses everything that you could possibly ask for in a hyper pop track.

As I mentioned above, “Dial Tone” is a collaboration with two very prominent figures on the underground pop music scene, Ayesha Erotica and Slayyyter, bringing the track lots of attention upon its release, and by the end of 2019, it remains That Kid’s biggest song to date with well over 675,000 streams on Spotify.

“80 Mph” was produced by Ayesha Erotica.

“80 Mph”: Continuing the hyper pop sound, “80 Mph” was released in October 2018 as the follow-up to “Dial Tone”, and while it’s not as successful as its predecessor, it’s still a solid track that depicts a high-speed joyride with the boy of your dreams.

“Boyfriend” was produced by Donatachi.

“Boyfriend”: That Kid released “Boyfriend” in November 2018 as his final single of the year. It’s a cute, bubblegum bass track in which he searches for the one, repeating the line, “Do you wanna be my boyfriend?”, over and over on the chorus.

A lyric video for “Boyfriend” was released in mid-June in celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride month. It’s comprised of video submissions sent in by fans of them lip-syncing to the song and features cameo appearances from American singer-songwriter Gameboi, Slayyyter, Ayesha Erotica, and That Kid himself. 

“Boyfriend” was initially set to appear on Slayyyter’s debut mixtape, but after a change in direction, the song was cut from the tracklist and subsequently given to That Kid, who had previously expressed an interest in it, and while the original demo has since been lost, Slayyyter’s vocals are still present in the background alongside Erotica.

The “Blue Singles”:

“Take It Off” was produced by Ayesha Erotica.

“Take It Off”: Moving into 2019, “Take It Off” was released in early January as That Kid’s first single of the new year. Featuring background vocals from Ayesha Erotica, “Take It Off” is a hot and heavy track about sexual desire, with That Kid urging his lover to strip down to nothing.

The song received loads of praise upon its release, with That Kid himself saying multiple times that he considers it to be one of his best songs, and with over 80,000 streams on Spotify, “Take It Off” is well on its way to surpassing 100K, so be sure to stream it to death!

“Arcade” was produced by Donatachi.

“Arcade”: “Arcade” dropped in late March and was highly anticipated upon its release. The song features guest vocals from American singer-songwriter moistbreezy and describes the sexual escapades of That Kid and his lover as they frolic through their favorite arcade in a sticky sweet teenage dream.

“Booty Call” was produced by BOY SIM.

“Booty Call”: Released in early April, “Booty Call” discusses the awkward moment when your friend with benefits catches feelings, and you have to remind them that they’re “just a booty call” and what the two of you have is nothing more than a fling with no strings attached.

In my opinion, “Booty Call” features one of That Kid’s best vocal deliveries, and the song currently has over 170,000 streams on Spotify, making it his second track to surpass 100k after “Dial Tone”.

The “Purple Singles”:

“Rocket” was produced by The Martianz.

“Rocket”: Just in time for LGBTQ+ Pride month, “Rocket” with British singer-songwriter Holliday Howe was released in early June. A spacey love song that compares the honeymoon phase to taking a rocketship through the cosmos, this track marked a few firsts for That Kid’s discography: Not only was it his first single to not have been originally intended for Dial Up Diaries, it’s style moved away from the hyper pop sound of the previous singles and took a more contemporary pop approach with smooth synths, which is uniform across its follow-ups.

“Penthouse” was produced by Ms. Cheeseburger.

“Penthouse”: Arguably his most sexually explicit song to date, That Kid released “Penthouse” in late July following its live debut the month prior — He first performed the song when he opened for Slayyyter during her debut headlining tour, The Mini Tour, in late June.

It’s a bouncy bop about a one-night stand that’s drowned in energetic synths, giving the track a fizzy quality, and another song that was written separately from Dial Up Diaries as well as my personal favorite track from the singles era.

“Blindfold” was produced by BOY SIM.

“Blindfold”: Another non-Dial Up Diaries track, “Blindfold” was released in late August. The most personal single from the era, it’s about ignoring all of the red flags and warning signs in a relationship that’s not meant to be, blinding oneself to the fact that the affair must end.

The “Red Singles”:

“Mind Your Business” was produced by Ms. Cheeseburger.

“Mind Your Business”: Going back to the outtakes from the ill-fated Dial Up Diaries, “Mind Your Business” was also highly anticipated upon its release in late September, having been performed live multiple times since the beginning of the year.

The electroclash banger sees That Kid clapping back against the haters, reminding us all that it’s not that hard to just mind your business and keep it pushing. The song also samples a circus track, making his haters out to be the clowns that they truly are!

“F**k It Up” was produced by Ms. Cheeseburger.

“F**k It Up”: Ending the era with a bang in late October, “F**k It Up” is a massive collaboration with five underground American rap stars: PRINCI, F*Gedelics, Belladonna, VisaS2K, and Wifi Baby. It’s a chaotic, carefree electronic banger with no coherent theme other than going off and f***ing it up! That Kid is largely absent from the track with the exception of the chorus, giving his collaborators room to shine with their individual verses.

That Kid as he appears in an early 2019 press photoshoot.

‘TK1’:

With his debut era having come to a close, That Kid has evolved from a hyper pop newbie to a rising pop star and the next big thing on the underground pop music scene. He’s currently working on his official debut mixtape, dubbed “TK1”, which is scheduled to be released in March 2020. He truly is a star in the making.

Stream That Kid’s music on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7mUQPmZ6OzwtJEEXDOqyOY?si=MzGzjftRSjCaP2i0qSjreQ 

Watch the lyric video for “Boyfriend”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39EXNITyDbI 

That Kid in the lyric video for “Boyfriend”.

This article was originally published in December 2019 and later revised in May 2020.