18-year-old artist Ant Saunders releases the official music video for his viral hit, “Yellow Hearts”. Emanating a nostalgic and intimate tone, the video was shot in his hometown of Woodbury Heights, New Jersey. The 16mm filmed video features Saunders and his real-life friends spending time together as they walk around their neighbourhood and their usual hangout spot on the train tracks near Ant’s house. Several scenes take place in Saunders’ childhood home, as well as a classroom in his former high school where he wrote “Yellow Hearts.”
On the day of his high school graduation, Saunders released the laid-back R&B influenced pop track. A full DIY effort, he wrote, recorded and produced “Yellow Hearts,” designed the artwork using Microsoft Paint and used TikTok to ask friends to share the track. Soon, two million TikTok videos were created in response. Since, “Yellow Hearts” has become a viral sensation, with over 75 million streams and charting on the Billboard Hot 100.
Saunders’ disarmingly genuine performance on “Yellow Hearts” translates a universal human emotion through a simple, almost accidental metaphor. “A lot of people think it’s a love song, and it’s really not,’ says Saunders. “It’s about a girl who was interested at first, but over time I couldn’t tell anymore. Whenever I would give her a compliment, she’d respond with yellow hearts. I looked it up, and they stand for friendship but since not everybody goes by those meanings, the fact that I wasn’t sure became really stressful.”
Born in Germany, where his parents were stationed in the military, Saunders’ family eventually settled in the small town of Woodbury Heights, New Jersey after moving around when he was young. Singing since he can remember, Saunders learned to play guitar in middle school and began releasing original music at age 14 using Audacity and a USB mic. “My parents let me use our spare room for my recording setup,” says Saunders. “I eventually got a MIDI keyboard and a new mic that I used to record “Yellow Hearts.’” In high school, Saunders studied in the music department, sang in varsity choir, played in the band and performed in musicals. “If I couldn’t sing or make music, I don’t know what the hell I’d be doing,” says Saunders.
Influenced by R&B and hip-hop acts like Frank Ocean, Daniel Caesar, Tyler the Creator, as well as singer-songwriters like Ed Sheeran, John Legend, and John Mayer, Saunders’ sound combines lyrical storytelling, oozing, lullaby-like urban production and velvet vocal delivery to create a palpable mood. “I want to emphasize do it yourself,” he says. “I want to inspire the outcasts, the introverts and show them that they can do anything.”