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Sea shanty TikTok star Nathan Evans lands record deal following viral fame

Emily Cope
·2-min read

Sea shanty star Nathan Evans has reeled in a contract with Polydor Records following the huge success of his TikTok videos.

Evans, 26, of Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, shot to fame earlier this year after posting a sea shanty called “The Wellerman” on the video-sharing app.

On Thursday the singer announced on TikTok that he had signed a deal with Polydor Records, saying: “See how I was a postman on Friday? I have just signed to the biggest record label in the world. I have just signed a deal with Polydor Records. I’ve done it. It’s done and I’m releasing a single.”

The sea shanty - which is a type of collective folk music that was typically performed by merchant sailors, fishermen or whalers during the 18th and 19th century - soon sparked an online furor, racking up seven million views and sending #seashanties trending on Google for the first time in history.

People across the world have since followed in Evans’ footsteps with their own sea shanty covers, and TikTok is now host to 1.6 billion videos using #seashanty, including a rendition by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber as well as a duet from Gary Barlow and Ronan Keating.

Evans - who has 570,000 followers on TikTok - has now won a contract Polydor Records, whose long list of world-famous artists includes Billie Eilish, Gary Barlow and Ellie Goulding.

Speaking to The Independent about the decision to quit his day job, Evans said: “There were so many emails, texts, DMs and messages coming through for interviews and people wanting to talk and meet. I thought, ‘I’m going to have to make a change here because this looks like it’s going to go on a little bit longer than a couple of days!’”

He added: “I’ve been playing the guitar since I was eight, music has always been the passion and always been my dream. You should be seeing a good few songs out soon.

"I write my own songs and music too, but if people like the sea shanties and they bring a good amount of joy to people then I don’t mind doing that. Music is an absolute passion for me, if it makes people happy then I’m all for it.”

The Independent has contacted Polydor Records for a comment.

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Sea shanties: What are they and why are they taking over TikTok?