Since 2018 and mid-2019, the soul-pop of Ant Saunders has been the cool, cloudiest part of a Soundcloud diet, with songs such as “Miles Per Hour,” “U Know It’s Real,” and “Dial Tone” blowing like a hot wind. Yet, with the sturdy, smooth and earnest R&B of “Yellow Hearts,” the Gloucester County, NJ native (just 20 minutes outside of Philly), Gateway Regional High School native has truly broken through – going viral on TikTok, reaching 114 million Spotify streams, hinting at the Billboard Hot 100.
Saunders’ chart numbers are as high as his aspirations.
“I’m always making sure everything I make is up to my own standards which are normally very high, and although I rush myself a lot of times, I‘d never wanna compromise my musical integrity,” said Saunders about how he plies his aesthetic toolbox to his career’s trajectory. “I haven’t normally set a timeline for any concepts because I’ve always been on my own schedule, but for my upcoming album, I want to make sure everything is cohesive and everything I’m trying to express makes sense.”
Talking up his influences, the inspiration of R&B artists such as John Legend and Frank Ocean, as well as John Mayer, Ed Sheeran and Post Malone, Saunders casually mentions the creation of “Yellow Hearts” as something he worked on for a month or so (“I usually write and produce at the same time so it all really blends into each other”), building the track slowly, line by line.
“Yellow Hearts” came from a moment of time where I was talking to a girl and, to make a long story short, it didn’t go the way I wished it went,” he said. “The first idea I jotted down was the beginning line, “She put my name with yellow hearts.” I thought it was relevant to the situation I was in, and also relevant to how young people communicate over the phone nowadays. I had been writing and producing it for about a month before I scheduled it to release on the day of my graduation.”
Along with that track nailing down a deal with Arista Records, the hit that “Yellow Hearts” became allowed Saunders to film a video in his old high school classroom with his old school friends.
“When planning the video, I knew that the people I was close with would definitely be down to be in the video, especially the administrators at my school,” said the singer. “My school has been so supportive of my music ever since I was attending it. My friend Kiaura and I gathered a list of friends to ask to be in the video and it came down to the three that were seen (Gio, Carl and Purp). I told them that we would just act like we would when we would all be hanging out to make it look natural.”
Saunders’ main plan, post “Yellow Hearts,” is to put out more music sooner than later. “I tell everyone, to “not be a one-hit-wonder”. I also just wish to feel more comfortable and to keep my mental health in check in this new situation my life has taken me. Personally, music feels real to me because of all the real emotion and creativity put into it. The idea that music can be spread to the point where everybody knows it is what feels unreal because it can all happen so fast and our lives can change in an instant, and I’m so grateful for this all to be happening to me.”