TikTok Boy Band, On The Outside, Launches Self-Love Campaign With New Single, “How Beautiful”

As the world begins to unpack the past 12 months of pandemic-induced turbulence, there’s a sense that some of the uglier aspects of our society have been laid bare for us all to see. Some of them are relatively new phenomena, like the world’s governments fumbling to match the scale of the crisis. Others, however, are older problems that have remained hidden in the fabric of our society for generations, only to now rear their heads in the public conversation.

Videos by American Songwriter

Now, on March 8, the TikTok-viral, country-pop boy band, On The Outside, is tackling one of these issues: beauty standards. With their new single, “How Beautiful,” and its corresponding self-love campaign, the band is sharing a declarative message of positivity, encouraging their listeners to recognize their true beauty within.

“We thought this was the perfect song to release, especially during a time like right now when everyone’s on their phones more than usual because of quarantine,” one of the group’s members, Devin Hayes, told American Songwriter. “They’re comparing themselves to others, they’re trying to fit into a societal standard. So, we felt that this year needed a ‘refresh’ for everybody—mentally, physically, emotionally, everything. It was a no-brainer that we went with ‘How Beautiful.’ The message behind it is: your insecurities may be insecurities to you, but to other people, those are your differences and differences are what make you beautiful.”

While other boy bands—like One Direction—have been making a similar appeal for years now, On The Outside does have a point that the added screen-time brought on by the pandemic has done a number on the self-confidence of young people everywhere. Part of what gives them this insight is the sheer nature of their main platform: TikTok. With over 4 million followers and a constant stream of organic, uplifting content coming out, On The Outside is a perfect case study for how TikTok—and the opportunity it provides to directly connect with your audience—can be the secret ingredient to success for any musical project. 

“We read a lot of the stories from our ‘Outsiders,’” Hayes said, referring to the dedicated followers of the band. “They’re very vulnerable, but they’re very strong. They like to talk about their problems with each other and publicize it for others to read and relate to. We admire them like no other… so much so that we want to talk about our own insecurities. It’s a strong message and it’s a broad message, but at the end of the day, we want people to look into the mirror and truly love what they see.”

In that spirit, going along with “How Beautiful” is a TikTok-centric social media challenge wherein the band is encouraging their followers to call up someone in their lives and tell them how much they’re appreciated. While it’s a simple act, the band hopes this wave of positivity can be a force of change throughout the world.

“Pick up the phone and let somebody know how beautiful they are,” Hayes said. “That’s the campaign. It’s easy enough to do… but nobody ever thinks to do it. Just call up your mom! Or your friends or somebody who you think needs it. It can make somebody feel great. That’s what the campaign is about.”

While something as idealistic as this campaign may seem a little futile in comparison to the complicated web of economics and marketing influencing modern beauty standards, On The Outside actually has a bit of muscle to flex here thanks to their massive online following… another testament to the power of TikTok in the current moment. 

“I totally believe that TikTok, as a platform, has been a blessing to have,” Jon Klaasen, another member of the group, said. “We just happened to be there at the right time and it helped us get a tremendous following. The people who are on TikTok and the culture around it are both completely different than any other app I’ve ever been on. It’s been a huge blessing to be able to connect with so many people.”

Continuing, Klaasen noted how the app not only allowed them to foster stronger relationships with their fans, but it gave them something invaluable in the music industry: data. By being able to directly gauge the demographics and genuine interests of their followers around the world, On The Outside was able to adapt their image and their music to create an even more meaningful product. 

“The main thing it does is allow us to connect with our fans internationally,” Klaasen said. “Since we started really pushing hard on TikTok, when we do our livestreams, we meet so many people from across the world. We’ll be like ‘How’d you find out about us?’ and 90% of the time, they say: ‘TikTok.’ It’s so cool that we can connect with the entire world through a single platform. It’s been so fun to go on that journey.”

And now, sharing “How Beautiful” and its message of positivity with their online following, it’s very possible that the entire world could be reached by On The Outside. While that small seed of positivity might not seem like much, sometimes the only thing separating a seed from a mighty oak is time.

Watch the music video for “How Beautiful” by On The Outside below:

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