Ryan Welton

Sports + Digital + Music + Life

Category Archives: video

2 of the best tips ever for improving your mental health

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“Chycho” is one of my favorite subscriptions on YouTube. I started listening to him for the ASMR but soon figured out that he’s a smart dude and cool cat.

I’m a huge believer in his first two points.

  1. Eat healthfully. You are what you put into your body. Period.
  2. Declutter. Space is energy. Clutter is bad energy.

There’s more than just that. He’s totally worth the listen. And give him a subscribe if you’re into YouTube!

Ryan’s Playlist No. 5: Nothin’ But Damned Great Music

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The month of October has came and went, and just like that we’re faced with the onset of 2020. What a wacky year it’s going to be.

But it’s another chance to offer up some good music, perhaps something you hadn’t heard of or hadn’t listened to enough. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a chronic Shazam-er. I Shazam everything.

And then I go back and listen to what caught my ear and pass the most interesting along to you.

My first selection is a song from Cincinnati band The National. It’s called Rylan, and it first caught my attention because that’s the name of the daughter of a friend of mine. It’s such a unique name that I had to listen to it — and it’s quite an odd song.

But it draws me in. I’m not sure that I get it. But I think I have to acknowledge that I quite like it.


This second song is one of the most depressing I’ve ever heard, and it’s a brilliant example of the power of storytelling. It’s The Unifics, a late-60s band from Washington, D.C., and this is “Beginning Of My End,” a tune that peaked at No. 36 in 1968.

I’ve got SiriusXM Soul Town, Ch. 49, locked in on my car stereo, and I find that it’s an education on a bevy of lower-charting tracks from the 60s and 70s. The  lyrics are desperately mournful, and the music fits it like a glove.

Heretofore, I had thought the saddest song ever was Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again,” but Lord-have-mercy does this tune take you to a sad place. This is some lyrical mastery right here.


Sufjan Stevens
is hit-or-miss for me, but on 2005’s “The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts,” he’s sounding like a hipster Dan Fogelberg, and I’m here for it.


This next one is from St. Paul & The Broken Bones, one of the best bands on the planet right now. Paul Janeway’s vocals and the horns from Allen Branstetter (trumpet), Amari Ansari (saxophone), and Chad Fisher (trombone) have this Birmingham, Ala., octet at the top of their blue-eyed soul game.

Here’s “LivWithoutU:”


Speaking of musicians who turn my head every time they come on the radio, there’s Maryland’s own Maggie Rogers. Discovered by Pharrell Williams as part of a class at NYU, Rogers has leap-frogged into critical acclaim if not worldwide popularity. Anytime I hear one of her songs, I’m walloped by how much talent she has. Great ear. Great production. She’s like a modern-day Nicolette Larson, a reference that totally confirms my age. #Olds Yeah.


Sometimes when I see songs pop up on the SiriusXM, I don’t know which is the title and which is the artist. Such was the case with “Sofia” by Clairo. The artist is Claire Cottrill, the daughter of a marketing exec from Boston. I like to read the stories behind artists and musicians mostly to find out what base they were born on.

But I think this is groovy as heck, so there.


California trio Sir Sly shows off their funky stylings and Beck-styled sensibilities in the 2017 track, “High.” Needs to go onto my running playlist. BTW, this dude totally listens to Beck. I’m sure of it.


I’m a sucker for an awesome music video. Hey, I’m a child of the 80s. I remember when MTV was born! And this 2015 tune from British band Nothing But Thieves doesn’t strike me until the chorus, but it’s an earworm after that. And an eyeworm.


It seems like a lot of the tunes on this list are from 2015. I’m late to the party, but even with a blog post like this, you don’t know when somebody will hear or see something. “Postcard” is a 2015 track from Washington, D.C., trio Jukebox The Ghost. I don’t know that I love this one, but it’s catchyAF and I’m not sure why they’re not huge. As a musician, I sense that this one is a fun one to play live, too.


And now I save the best for last from The Avett Brothers. It took me so long to come onboard their groove, but “High Steppin’,” I think is sheer brilliance. Listen to the lyrics. Watch the video. This is fantastic songwriting, and I think they’re one of the most interesting bands on the planet.

How to play Post Malone’s “Circles” on the piano + chord progressions

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This is my piano cover of “Circles” by Post Malone. I posted it to YouTube a couple weeks ago after becoming obsessed with the song. It’s such a change-of-pace for Post Malone — and I dig it!

More covers and piano tutorials on my YouTube channel at youtube.com/ryanweltonmusic

The song starts in CMaj7 and goes to Em/B. It then goes to an FMaj9 and an Fmin9. From there, it’s mostly all variations of melody.

Post Malone “Circles” lyrics:

Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh
We couldn’t turn around
‘Til we were upside down
I’ll be the bad guy now
But no, I ain’t too proud
I couldn’t be there
Even when I try
You don’t believe it
We do this every time
Seasons change and our love went cold
Feed the flame ’cause we can’t let go
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away
I dare you to do something
I’m waiting on you again
So I don’t take the blame
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away, run away
Let go
I got a feeling that it’s time to let go
I say so
I knew that this was doomed from the get-go
You thought that it was special, special
But it was just the sex though, the sex though
And I still hear the echoes (the echoes)
I got a feeling that it’s time to let it go
Let it go
Seasons change and our love went cold
Feed the flame ’cause we can’t let go
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away
I dare you to do something
I’m waiting on you again
So I don’t take the blame
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away, run away
Maybe you don’t understand what I’m going through
It’s only me, what you got to lose?
Make up your mind, tell me, what are you gonna do?
It’s only me, let it go
Seasons change and our love went cold
Feed the flame ’cause we can’t let go
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away
I dare you to do something
I’m waiting on you again
So I don’t take the blame
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away, run away

Ryan’s Playlist No. 4: How ‘The Git Up’ became a TikTok challenge + Houses, Bleachers, Aldous Harding, Mitski & Local Natives

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I’m way behind on my blog playlists, and I’m not sure if that’s because of my schedule or because of a lack of good music I’m hearing. Maybe I’m out rhythm with it all; I didn’t think it would be a big deal to knock out one of these per month.

Goodness knows I ‘Shazam’ everything.

As I reviewed each of my songs for the month and started down that YouTube rabbit hole, I realized the theme of this month’s playlist was about what a golden age of pop we’re in. There’s more music than ever, and it appears there’s more opportunity for everybody thanks to social media. Take Blanco Brown and his hit, “The Git Up.” I should note that I’m not making the argument that this song is brilliant music.

It is, however, out-of-this-world brilliant marketing.

Brown had already made a name for himself as a producer, but he astutely leveraged the growing popularity of social app TikTok to make a hit for himself. “The Git Up” is one part hip-hop, two or three parts country and all parts catchy af. Thanks to The Git-Up Challenge, it’s one of the songs of the summer for 2019, peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 a couple weeks ago.

The point behind ‘The Git Up’ is to put a smile on people’s faces, Brown said, and that’s how the TikTok challenge was born — to spread that vibe. Its success is where worthy music meets a social, cultural moment, and as a marketer, I’m extraordinarily envious. One of the things we’re taught in digital marketing is to be a first-mover on emerging platforms just in case it takes off, and it’s clear that TikTok is legit.

Here’s a video highlight of some of these challenges in action:

The other trend I’m noticing is one part music and one part persona. It’s widely thought that pop singer Billie Eilish is going to dominate the 2020 Grammys. I recall hearing her “Bury A Friend” on the BBC early this year and thought it was extraordinary. I couldn’t figure out if it was just weird or brilliant.

I’m not sure I know the answer, but she has really taken off with her No. 1 hit, “Bad Guy.”

With the hits out of the way, here are some songs you might *not* know that have caught my ear over the past six weeks!

Aldous Harding, “The Barrel”

This has kind of a Dido vibe. Harding is a New Zealand singer-songwriter, and this tune is from 2019.

 

Local Natives, “When Am I Gonna Lose You?”

This L.A. band got Kate Mara to star in their video for this tune. Great harmony, even better video. TBH, I kept expecting her to get pushed underneath a train.

 

Saint Motel, “Move” (2016)

They had me at news. The video is on a news set. It made me get up and “move.”

 

Mitski, “Nobody” (2018)

Born in Japan but living in New York, Mitski reminds me a little of Kate Bush with maybe a hint of Laura Nyro? The more I hear this, the more I think it’s a masterpiece in emotional dissonance. The lyrics are so sad but the music is so opposite.

 

Houses, “Fast Talk”

Powered by Chicagoan Dexter Tortoriello, “Fast Talk” is hypnotic in its sound and thoughtful in its lyrics:

So maybe heaven is a ghetto with no bad blocks
Shangri-La dealers at the bus stops, and
Maybe God is just a Cop that we can fast talk

I particularly love the lyric, “Maybe karma’s just another word for bad luck.”

 

And then sometimes you stumble upon a masterpiece. Bleachers is a band, a group, really the work of a guy named Jack Antonoff. He’s apparently in the band, “Fun,” also. I don’t know. I get all this from Wikipedia; who’s with me?

The song is called, “I Wanna Get Better,” and it’s from 2014. It’s catchy. But like “Fast Talk,” above, the lyrics are uber-powerful:

Hey, I hear the voice of a preacher from the back room
Calling my name and I follow just to find you
I trace the faith to a broken down television and put on the weather
And I’ve trained myself to give up on the past ’cause
I frozen time between hearses and caskets
Lost control when I panicked at the acid test

And then this from the chorus:

I didn’t know I was lonely ’til I saw your face
I wanna get better, better, better, better,
I wanna get better
I didn’t know I was broken ’til I wanted to change
I wanna get better, better, better, better,
I wanna get better

And the video is fantastic.

 

Anyhoo, I rambled on about ‘The Git Up’ and TikTok because the digital marketing part of it gets me all giddy — but I also gave you a handful of great songs you might not have heard of. If any of them strikes your ear or eyes, brain or heart, let me know in the comments!

R.I.P. Baba Sen, aka the Cosmic Barber

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Reprinted from another (former) site of mine, bunnygap.com:

When I tell you that there’s something for everybody on YouTube, I mean something for everybody. And when somebody in that community passes, it’s a loss felt by all.

Baba Sen, the Cosmic Barber, reportedly has died in Pushkar, India, or thereabouts of cardiac arrest on the morning of October 19. Word came from a YouTube live video on the channel, Indian Massage:

For those of you who are familiar with the world of ASMR, many of those artists credit Baba Sen as being an original, unintentional ASMR artist. Word spread fast on Reddit.

Word from Baba’s Facebook page was that he was only 47.

Apparently, he had been out at some kind of festival and just didn’t wake up this morning.

So, you’re asking yourself, what did this man do? He gave head massages in a very unique manner that was fascinating to watch. Surely, it was quite relaxing, too, for the recipient. Word is he charged only between $8-10 per massage, and if you didn’t have the money, he charged less or nothing.

This is reputedly one of if not his last videos, which the poster says will go to help his family:

And now for some of Baba Sen’s greatest hits. Enjoy the YouTube rabbit hole, er, the bunny gap — and if you can help this guy’s family out, do so!

Ryan’s Playlist No. 3: The Rise of Maren Morris + DMB that Needs a Re-listen + New John Prine!

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We’re already four days into August, and I’ve failed to post my July music list. Egad! For those of you new to the blog, each month I Shazam everything that really catches my ear, and then I re-listen to the music and write about the best.

The goal is to introduce everybody to at least one new awesome song, band or artist. It’s also to help me remember the songs that comprise my memories, remembering why I loved them at the time.

I’m certain I’ll achieve that this go-round. The theme this month is a lot more female. Not on purpose, but I’m glad it was. When my wife Kristi asked me if there was a theme to my picks for July, I replied that it felt like I had more women on this list. The first among them is already a pretty big star and I think she’s on the verge of elite stardom, Maren Morris.

She reminds me of Kacey Musgraves but with more of an edge. Who remembers “80s Mercedes” from 2016? Damn, this is fantastic:

I remember exactly where I first heard this song. It was in Buckeye, Arizona at our friends’ house on a spring training visit.

Here’s another great one called “My Church,” and imagine Shelby Lynne from 1999 on this one. Shelby’s “I Am Shelby Lynne” is one of the best albums I’ve ever owned, and Maren has perfected that sound, whether purposely or not.

But the tune that made my list for July is the best song I’ve heard from anybody in 2019. “GIRL.” If I could recommend one new artist to check out for anybody over 40 looking for new music, it would be Maren Morris. Dude, hand her all the Grammys. All of them. She’s the first artist since Amy that has made me want to stop and listen to everything she’s ever done.

“GIRL” is from earlier this year, but John Prine’s “Lonesome Friends Of Science” is brand new. Just posted to YouTube, it’s from his new album called “The Tree Of Forgiveness.” Charming and smart, even if it sounds a ton like Jerry Jeff Walker. Easily the best song title of 2019.

Another tune is from the Funky French Playlist, the compilation of songs Kristi and I listened to on our honeymoon. This comes from indie pop duo The Darcys. This has a funky hook and fantastic production.

Karen O of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs teamed up with Danger Mouse for this delightful lite rock vibe. Who else is totally hearing Nicolette Larson here?

This tune called “Bleachers” bleeds the boundaries of pop and country, but we were surprised to learn that Jillian Jacqueline is categorized country. This is smart pop in my book. It’s like the best pop music is coming from Nashville these days.

Speaking of which, laugh off this dude as bro country all you’d like, but Chris Lane’s “I Don’t Know About You” (again) is a fantastic, hooky pop song. My favorite part about watching the video on YouTube is the first comment, “Sounds like he’s trying to unlock her security questions for online banking lol.” Affected as the production might sound, this is a wonderful piece of songwriting. It’s like yacht rock with a country accent.

Speaking of yacht rock, can we all just admit that Art > Paul?

This next one is a song I Shazam’d from the car on my commute to Tulsa. Ronan Keating was part of an Irish group I’d never heard of called “Boyzone.” Love this. Catchy af. Vocally, I’m hearing a ton of Jude Cole from back in the day.

Speaking of back in the day, this is a tune from The Waitresses that we heard on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Of course, this makes me want to hear their famous Christmas song, but I can appreciate how awesome and identifiable their overall sound was. And how kick-ass their bass player is.

Not sure where I first heard South Carolina’s own Chaz Bear, recording under the name Toro Y Moi, but I loved it even more after watching the video. Quirky and catchy.

And I’m not 100 percent certain where I first heard Port Cities, although they’re another Canadian act who could technically be on our Funky Fresh Playlist. This is beautiful. They don’t need anything beyond a guitar and vocals.

And a couple of classics to end my July list. This is a Gram Parsons tune called “Wheels” recorded by Emmylou Harris. The harmony alone sucked me in. The lyrical picture painted kept me locked in.

The last song on this list caught my ear on first listen, but upon subsequent listens, I’m realizing that this is one of the better rock songs of the past 20 years. It’s got a message. It’s powerful. It was written and performed by an immigrant. And it requires the volume cranked.

How to Play Kenny Rogers’ classic hit, “Lady”

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Kenny Rogers has had many hits, but this is arguably his most beautiful song. It was written by the great Lionel Richie, and it’s super easy to play. It starts with Dm.

That’s D minor. The chord progression is Dm, Gm9/D, C/D — so you’re basically going from D minor to G minor to C with the D in the right hand. Mind you, watch my right hand as I’m playing the intro. You’re not playing a straight Gm triad in the right hand. You’re playing a Bb, D and an A in the right hand — a Gm9 (G, Bb, D, F, A) You’ll just leave out the G and F.

The first chorus is a pretty straight ahead Gm7, Am7, BbM7, Am7, Dsus

After two verses and choruses, you glissando up and down the piano and hit the BIG BIG chorus where Kenny sings, “LADYYYYYYY” — and that’s BbM7, C/Bb, F, C/E, Dm7, F/C and repeat until you get to the end.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard from Kenny Rogers came on an episode of ‘American Idol’ a whole bunch of years ago: Play the notes and sing the lyrics, but emote the words. Pay attention to the story as you’re singing / playing.

SING ALONG! Here are the lyrics to “Lady” by Kenny Rogers

Lady, I’m your knight in shining armor and I love you
You have made me what I am and I am yours
My love, there’s so many ways I want to say “I love you”
Let me hold you in my arms forever more
You have gone and made me such a fool
I’m so lost in your love
And oh, we belong together
Won’t you believe in my song?
Lady, for so many years I thought I’d never find you
You have come into my life and made me whole
Forever, let me wake to see you each and every morning
Let me hear you whisper softly in my ear
In my eyes, I see no one else but you
There’s no other love like our love
And yes, oh yes, I’ll always want you near me
I’ve waited for you for so long
Lady, your love’s the only love I need
And beside me is where I want you to be
‘Cause, my love, there’s somethin’ I want you to know
You’re the love of my life, you’re my lady

I’m Still Standing: Elton John cover + chord progressions, lyrics

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Elton John’s 1983 hit, “I’m Still Standing,” is my favorite song from the Rocket Man.

I am not playing it in the original key. I’m playing it in A. If you’re following along with the video to try to learn the song, here are the chords:

INTRO: Left hand should stay on A. The chords in the right hand are: Am, Dm7, E, F, G 2X

VERSE: A, D/A, E/A, D/A, A … Bm7, A/D, E, F#m+5, D, A

CHORUS: Am7, G7/B, C, Em, G6 … Dm, E7

And then the “I’m Still Standing” part: Am, Dm7, E7

BRIDGE: A … D, E, F#m, D6 … to the chorus

The tempo to this song is faster than what I’m playing it. I’m guessing 110 BPM? Maybe my BPM radar is a little off. “I’m Still Standing” should definitely be a little faster than this. If you dig the cover and like such things on YouTube, if they ‘spark your joy’ as Marie Kondo says, I’d love it if you’d pay me a visit on YouTube.

Lyrics to “I’m Still Standing”

You could never know what it’s like
Your blood like winter freezes just like ice
And there’s a cold lonely light that shines from you
You’ll wind up like the wreck you hide behind that mask you useAnd did you think this fool could never win
Well look at me, I’m coming back again
I got a taste of love in a simple way
And if you need to know while I’m still standing you just fade awayDon’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mindI’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeahOnce I never could hope to win
You starting down the road leaving me again
The threats you made were meant to cut me down
And if our love was just a circus you’d be a clown by nowYou know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mindI’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeahDon’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mindI’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeahI’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeah

Ryan’s Playlist No. 2: Mrs. Maisel & June Musical Randomness

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The first part of my June playlist is heavily influenced by one of my favorite shows, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Extraordinarily well done, smart and beautiful — it’s the first new show I’ve seen since Mom died that I knew she would have loved.

Save for Midge’s potty mouth.

For me, Alex Borstein’s Susie Myerson makes the show with Tony Shalhoub’s Abe Weissman very close. And I just am figuring out that Borstein is Lois Griffin. Blown away. Anyway, if you haven’t started watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, this gets my highest recommendation.

The rest of this month’s list is pretty random. No country this month, but I’ve got pop, indie and even a tune from a Christian artist. Here goes, and it starts with two songs I heard on Maisel.

This is Mary Hopkin’s version of “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” featured at the end of S2E2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The music selections on this show have been eclectic, and I constantly find myself Shazaming songs.

This is the second song I’m including from Maisel, and it’s “Some Other Time” from Blossom Dearie. This was featured in the scene where Rose Weissman resigned herself to returning to New York from Paris, to where she had fled to find herself. The song is incredibly wistful and beautiful.

“Stronger Than Before” by Carole Bayer Sager was a Top 30 hit for Sager back in 1981, and it has that classic soft electric piano, not-quite-a-true-Rhodes sound and easy listening instrumentation that I loved from the era. Dionne Warwick also recorded this later in the decade.

Electric Light Orchestra’s “Last Train To London,” for me is unremarkable until the chorus, where it gets very hooky, very fast.

Barenaked Ladies, “Odds Are,” has been in my heavy rotation for months now. I joked inside my own head that I might try to wage a public campaign to join the band since I love them so much and since I’m practically Canadian after rooting so hard for the Raptors. We’ll see how that goes. BNL are a musical treasure.

“Cuddly Toy” by British band Roachford is way funkier than I gave it credit for in 1988. But did you know that lead singer and namesake Andrew Roachford later joined Mike & The Mechanics!?

“Patience,” by Tame Impala is incredibly well produced, as is everything from the band. All of their tracks are catchy and interesting.

You, me, the entire world knows this song, “It’s Strange,” from a Nissan commercial. It’s from a DJ duo called Louis The Child with a singer who goes by the name K. Flay. The production is amazing. The video is captivating, and K. Flay brings a ton of personality to it. This one gets better for me with each listen.

British singer-songwriter JP Cooper caught my ear with “September Song,” which to me sounds like Nick Jonas’ “Jealous.” And then I read that Cooper has written songs for the Jonas Brothers, and it makes me wonder.

Don’t judge, lol. This is apparently from 2012, and it’s a contemporary Christian singer named Britt Nicole with a song called “Gold.” Loved the positive vibe, and the ‘SUS’ chord progression in the verse. Big, fat hook in the middle. I have zero idea where I heard this. The car? The mall? Forever 21? (Never been. So, just kidding, ha!)

Featured photo from Ninac26 on Flicker.

The YouTube king of ASMR has returned after nearly a year

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For those of you who are into ASMR videos, I’ve got great news for you. Arguably the king of ASMR is back.

After nearly a year-long hiatus in which he graduated from college with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida (and a minor in Physics), RaffyTaphyASMR dropped a new video on YouTube two weeks ago — and he has since produced two more. To give you a sense of how popular he is, Raffy has 435,534 subscribers as of this moment, and he has a growing audience despite not having posted for the past 10 months.

ASMR stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response,” and it refers to the tingle sensation or relaxation that comes from hearing certain sounds. It might be a whisper or the swishing of a water bottle. ASMR might explain why my dad always fell asleep in the barber chair; the entire process of a haircut is one giant ASMR event.

Not everybody experiences ASMR, but I have from the very beginning and remember reacting to it as young as 8 or 9 years old. ASMR is why PBS painting instructor Bob Ross has long been called “human Valium.” The sounds he and Raffy produce induce relaxation to the point of meditation and physical sleep.

And what I’m writing about doesn’t even begin to touch on the visual opportunities in ASMR. Many ‘ASMR artists’ as they’re called use hand movements to further induce relaxation.

Anyway, what makes Raffy so popular, besides being highly likable in my opinion, is his mastery of audio production for ASMR combined with having a perfect voice for ASMR, a round, breathy quality that isn’t high in pitch like most female voices. Just a preference. Raffy also is one of the only ASMR artists on YouTube who has mastered tapping for effect, especially sounds he makes with only his own hands.

So, he’s produced three videos in two weeks.

The first has 1.1 million views (or listens).

The second, which I’m listening to now, has 1,029,246 video views.

And a third that he posted less than 12 hours ago has 153,000 video views already.

Given that he hadn’t posted for 10 months, it makes you wonder whether he’ll fade away into oblivion for another 10 months — but he gave viewers an update noting his school work and his girlfriend of two years. On the other hand, he noted that he’d never be one of those YouTubers who would post every single day. I think there is something to be said for the way Raffy has managed supply and demand.

As he noted, keeping YouTube as a hobby and not an obligation keeps the “magic” in it.

Anyway, his absence made the hearts of his fans grow ever fonder. Welcome back, dude!

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