On December 23, a video of the 26-year-old Scottish postman-and-singer’s cover of The Longest Johns’ ‘Wellerman’ went viral and saw #ShantyTok trend on TikTok.
The likes of Gary Barlow, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ronan Keating have since joined Nathan for a duet of the song, and now his debut single has been officially released on Polydor Records (Universal).
Nathan – who has been dubbed the ‘King of Sea Shanty’ – announced on TikTok: “See how I was a postman on Friday? I have just signed to the biggest record label in the world. I have just signed a deal with Polydor Records. I’ve done it. It’s done and I’m releasing a single.”
As well as the original, the ‘Wellerman 220Kid & Killen Ted Remix’ edition is also out now.
The Head of UK Music Operations at TikTok, Paul Hourican, commented: “Watching Nathan’s brilliant and original videos inspire our community and kick start a global trend, demonstrates the power of TikTok. He’s a talented musician and we are delighted that he has found such a great label partner in Polydor. We look forward to working more with Nathan and his team and are excited to see what comes next.”
Nathan’s cover of the shanty led to the fisherman-themed folk song being streamed over 7,000 per cent more on Spotify, between December 23 and January 13, 2021.
Over 12,000 new user-generated playlists were added in that period that include “sea shanty” or “sea shanties” in the title.
While searches for “Sea shanty” jumped by 630% in a week, and ‘Wellerman’ became the top-added global track to “sea shanty” playlists.
Other shanties have also seen a surge in streams, including ‘Leave her Johnny’ by Michiel Schrey, Nils Brown, Sean Dagher, which was up more than 225 per cent.
While ‘The Scotsman’ by Hair of the Dog saw more than a 140% increase in streams and plays of ‘Drunken Sailor’ by The Irish Rovers increased by 80 per cent.