Music, Venue

Wellerman singer Nathan Evans talks going viral on TikTok and reaching number one over hero Ed Sheeran

If you’ve used TikTok at all during the past two or three weeks, you would have seen the sea shanty craze currently sweeping the platform. Creators on TikTok are currently videoing themselves singing the likes of ‘Leave Her Johnny,’ ‘The Scotsman,’ and ‘The Drunken Sailor,’ with videos reaching hundreds of thousands of views with ease.

One TikTok user, Nathan Evans from Scotland, has found success with his rendition of the 19th century whaling song ‘Wellerman,’ as his video currently sits at 11.6 million views on the platform. Shortly after going viral, Evans signed to Polydor Records, which also hosts the likes of Billie Eilish, Sam Fender, and The 1975. An EDM remix of ‘Wellerman’ by 220 KID and Billen Ted became his debut single, hitting number one and sitting above his hero Ed Sheeran.


It’s been a crazy few weeks for Evans, as when asked about the amount of interviews he’s done he related that “over the past three weeks, I’ve probably done hundreds!” The attention from the media hasn’t been too bad, though, as he later said that “I got used to it really quickly, I don’t mind it.”

Evans turned to TikTok during the first lockdown in March as a creative outlet, suggested by his young niece and nephew. “They were like, ahh there’s this new thing, it’s amazing, you should download it, I think you’ll love it! And I was like… Nah, you two are like seven and nine!”

“Then I was like, I’m going to download this, see what it’s about. So I did, and I realized three hours later I was still scrolling!”


Over multiple lockdowns, TikTok’s popularity has surged, and it’s undeniable that one of the reasons for TikTok’s current popularity is people being in need of light-hearted fun during lockdown. Evans explained this, “you can really connect with your viewers, especially with the features it’s got, like the duet feature and the live feature.”

Evans also suggested that the reason for ‘Wellerman’ becoming so popular was its positivity during what was a negative time for many people. “I think it got as big as it has because everyone was stuck in the house, feeling a bit down, then this came along and it put a smile on everyone’s faces, everyone’s clapping along and joining in!”

Before his newfound fame, Evans was a postman, and often sang and listened to music whilst doing his rounds. “Being a postman was really, really good, I enjoyed it because I got to go out and listen to music, and practice things which kind of put me to where I am. Then I’d go home and upload TikTok videos, practice on my guitar, go on YouTube, and it meant I was exercising everyday which was really good.”

Nathan Evans, Photo: Chuffmedia


As well as acting as a platform for his rise to stardom, Evans stressed the importance of social media as a source of comfort during the pandemic. “It’s definitely one of the most important things at the minute, especially with the pandemic and everybody being stuck in the house.”

“Plus, like, things like this can happen where people from all around the world start seeing you, speaking to you– maybe not on this bigger scale– in general, even before all this happened to me I had people from Germany and Canada, just commenting on my videos. And that’s not something you would get, obviously, if you weren’t on social media, so I think it’s amazing.”


Regarding his debut album with Polydor Records, Evans was quite relaxed in spite of the pressure of following up his viral number one hit. “I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember. I would be putting my music on the internet anyway. It’s given me a bigger platform, but it’s not changed. I’ll be doing what I’ve been doing.”

As well as sea shanties, Evans posted original acoustic tracks as well, some of which he released on Spotify under the artist name NathanEvanss. His debut album would potentially contain some of these tracks, as well as new ones, with the overall sound being heavily influenced by his favourite Ed, but also Dermot Kennedy. “I’ll be writing new material, but you’ll definitely hear some older originals as well.” On the possibility of a collaboration with Ed, he was cautiously excited. “It sounds amazing to me, I don’t know if it does to anyone else, but to me that sounds absolutely perfect.”

‘Wellerman’ is now at number two on The Official Big Top 40, but was number one last week, and sits above his idol’s most recent single ‘Afterglow.’ Evans was still in shock about this when I asked, as he said “that’s insane, to actually see that I’m being mentioned in these charts is just incredible!”

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Jack Oxford

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January 2022
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