Dixie D'Amelio on Her New Music and How TikTok 'Changed My Career'

CUL_PS_Dixie D'Amelio
Max Montgomery

"TikTok has not only changed my career, it essentially created my career."

For Dixie D'Amelio, TikTok star and regular viral sensation, 2020 has been quite a year. "I graduated high school, released my first single, signed to a label, launched a podcast with my sister [Charli D'Amelio] and launched my YouTube channel." Her single released in June, "Be Happy," quickly exploded, taking in more than 55 million streams. She released a second earlier this month, "One Whole Day," but she's just beginning, with hopes of collaborating with "Billie Eilish, Lil Uzi Vert or Trippie Redd."

Besides music, D'Amelio has a slew of other projects in the works, too, which she's able to do alongside her popular family: she and her sister, Charli, are two of the most-followed accounts on the video sharing site TikTok, with a combined following of more than 150 million users. "When everything started, we had a rule in our family that we only do things that we want to do." Her recipe for social media success? "Be yourself and don't do something that you're not into or not proud of because people can see through that (especially on social media)."

You cover so many different areas: singer, actress, influencer, etc. What would you say your main focus is?

There is so much happening at the moment, and while I am being pulled in so many different directions I feel so lucky to love what I do. I get to work with my family and friends so often, which makes work fun for me, but it's definitely a hectic schedule. If I had to choose, I would definitely say I put my priority on my music; it's been a passion of mine since I was a little girl, and when I was given the opportunity to record my own music it was something I immediately jumped on. I released "Be Happy" this summer on my own. It was pretty intimidating because I had no idea how my fans would react, so I chose to release it on my socials and just see how it would be received. Now I'm in awe that the song is charting and I've even been able to work with such talented artists for not one, but two remixes. We just released the dance remix with Dillon Francis. The first remix was more rap focused and featured Lil Mosey and blackbear.

How has TikTok changed your career?

TikTok has not only changed my career, it has changed everything. My friends and I spend hours a day scrolling through and watching other people's videos and content—we are addicted. In terms of how it has changed my career, it essentially created my career. I just graduated high school this year and pre-pandemic planned to go immediately to college. Now all of a sudden I have this new path and direction, due to TikTok opening up so many incredible doors and opportunities that I never could've dreamed of before. I am grateful every day.

I also strongly believe it is because of my fans and followers. None of this would be possible if it weren't for them constantly supporting and showing love. Inevitably, since I share almost everything online it can sometimes bring in a lot of negativity and judgment because the internet can be such a mean place. One nice comment can just make me feel so much better. I think it's part of the reason why I am constantly interacting with fans and followers by liking and commenting across my different social platforms.

I guess if anything comes out of all of this TikTok success, I hope I can make a difference in helping make social media more of a safe space where people feel supported instead of being torn down.

Your first single was "Be Happy," which was a big success and led to being signed with L.A. Reid's HITCO Entertainment. You've since released your second single "One Whole Day." What's next for you musically?

I'm in the studio a lot. The goal is to release an EP or album next year. I'm working with such incredibly talented producers, songwriters and artists. I'm really excited to share when I can.

While you have achieved solo success, you often work with your sister, Charli D'Amelio. How do you find the balance between your solo work and working with your family?

When everything started, we had a rule in our family that we only do things that we want to do and we have fun with it. I've loved being able to do all of this with my family since they are experiencing it all alongside me. The extra support and understanding has helped so much. We are all there for each other always—and family always comes first, over any work. The best part about my focus on my solo career, separate from my family or Charli, is that when we do have to film or work together, it just feels like fun. We have a great time with the projects we do together, like our fashion and makeup partnerships with Hollister and Morphe and our podcast 2 CHIX, but then I can go pursue the things I'm passionate about like music, fashion and doing outrageous things for YouTube. I feel like because of that balance, we support each other even more.

It seems social media has upended the traditional path for young artists to be discovered. In what ways do you think young artists like yourself can use social media to find their big break?

I would say just be authentic and have fun. Be yourself, and don't pretend to be anyone you're not or do something that you're not into or not proud of because people can see through that (especially on social media). Also, your content will be more interesting if you're having fun! It makes a big difference. I don't know if there is any type of formula for a 'big break' on social media, I still don't understand why we blew up, but those would be my tips.

Who would be some dream artists for you to collaborate with?

Billie Eilish, Lil Uzi Vert or Trippie Red... and probably 100 more. There are just way too many talented people to count!!

2020 is coming to a close, and it's certainly been a chaotic year. If you had to pick one, what would a highlight from 2020 be for you?

It's hard to pick ONE highlight, so much happened: I graduated high school, released my first single and signed to a label, attended my first Paris Fashion Week show with Chanel (virtually, of course), launched a podcast with my sister and launched my YouTube channel.

How have you been coping with the pandemic?

I think I've had more time to focus and be creative. Most importantly, I've been able to dive more into music during this time. It's kind of wild how much can be done virtually and really, I never experienced creating music before the pandemic, so for me, it's all I know. Liam Payne asked me to be on his Christmas song "Naughty List" (I was shocked when he called, I also think I dropped the phone). We did everything virtually, from recording to filming the music video, but I do hope to meet him in person at some point.