Arjan Timmermans
(Sanni “Lately” single cover)

Sanni is bursting with optimism, and so is his music. The singer has big plans and if his new single, “Lately,” is a sign of things to come, his future is looking bright. “Lately” is an infectiously cheery, happy-go-lucky pop number that gives listeners some solid clues about the type of pop Sanni plans to unleash upon the world. It’s pop music that’s upbeat, honest, and incredibly well-crafted.

I first came across Sanni scrolling up and down TikTok while heading down the magical rabbit hole of its insanely effective algorithm. It’s always a bit of a guess how things get on my For You page, but mixed in with funny sketches, a couple of dance video, and some gossip talk, there was Sanni brightening up my feed with some fresh new music (and making TikTok a much healthier place because of it).

The Houston, TX singer, songwriter, and producer has quickly built a large and loyal number of followers who champion his music across the platform. And before you think, “oh, here comes another TikTok creator doing music,” let me just be very clear that for Sanni music came first. TikTok was a great way to get his songs out there more quickly. I feel pretty strongly that even without TikTok, Sanni’s music would have found an audience pretty quickly because, well, it’s great. It’s that simple.

Following a string of songs that Sanni independently released since 2018, “Lately” feels like that song that can lift him up beyond TikTok fame. It’s a bright and carefree song packed with optimism that is too irresistible to be denied. Hear it once, and you will be tapping along the moment it hits again.

Sanni explains to me that “Lately” came together quickly in the early days of the pandemic. “I wrote lately during quarantine in Los Angeles,” Sanni writes me. “I had a project I was working on in a studio but couldn’t complete it in my ideal way because we had just started social distancing. I spent most of my time writing and producing songs in the studio I set up in the kitchen at my apartment!”

“It was a very quick session the song basically wrote itself as I was really just getting stuff off my chest,” Sanni continues. “The first verse pre-chorus and chorus was locked in on the initial session and the second verse flowed naturally soon after.”

That natural flow of the song is crucial. “Lately” features the perfect balance of melody, production, and storytelling that makes it universally understood and instantly pleasant to the ear.

“Lately” is essentially a love song, and without any hesitation, Sanni shares candidly how feels and encourages his lady to let her guard down so they can take their flirtation to the next level. Sanni is a man in love and he has the falsetto to prove it.

Can’t stop thinking ‘bout you lately
Tell me, do you feel the same way?
Ooh, yeah, leave it on display
No putting the bait in, it’s all on your face
Oh yeah, I been thinking ‘bout us lately
Tell me, do you do the same thing?
Ooh, yeah, leave it on display
What’s the point in waiting? It’s all on your face

Sanni’s flirty candor and youthful clarity should not come as a surprise. He confides, “I was also going through a situation with a girl I liked — which is what the record was inspired by, you’re the first to know!”

“Sonically I want people to feel confident, refreshed, and empowered, and I liked the idea of showcasing the “flirtatious” phase in a relationship.”

Sanni sums it up perfectly in both words and song. “Lately” has all the makings of a pop song that could go far with a little luck and the right support. While we’re heading towards the end of the tunnel in our bleak and confusing quarantined lives, cheerful songs like “Lately” are just what we need to brighten our spirit. Sanni pursues simply easy and carefree fun that keeps the vibe upbeat and hopeful.

A blog about music and more. Since 2002.