Tay Zonday

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Tay Zonday
Tay Zonday.jpg
Zonday in March 2009
Background information
Birth nameAdam Nyerere Bahner [1]
Born (1982-07-06) July 6, 1982 (age 37) [2]
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Genres Outsider music, electronica, R&B, experimental music, spoken word
Occupation(s)Actor, singer, musician, announcer, voice artist, comedian, Twitch streamer YouTube personality
Instruments Vocals
Years active2007–present
Website www.tayzonday.com

Adam Nyerere Bahner (born July 6, 1982), better known by the pseudonym Tay Zonday, [3] [4] [5] is an American singer, musician, announcer, voice artist, actor, comedian, and YouTube personality. [6]


He is known for his bass singing voice. He garnered mainstream exposure when his song "Chocolate Rain" became a viral video [5] in July 2007. As of February 2020, "Chocolate Rain" has over 125 million views. [7]

Early life

Zonday was born Adam Nyerere Bahner on July 6, 1982 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is of half African-American descent. He is the youngest of three children, and his parents are both teachers. [8] Zonday graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2004. He attended the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, but dropped out before graduating. Early in his career, he regularly performed at Balls Cabaret at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis.[ citation needed ]


Zonday released "Chocolate Rain", a viral song on race and race politics, on April 22, 2007. [9] In July 2007, Zonday was a graduate student in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [10] He was soon making appearances on national television. He appeared on the Opie & Anthony Show , [11] G4TV's Attack of the Show! , VH1's Best Week Ever , [12] Lily Allen and Friends , Jimmy Kimmel Live! , Tosh.0 and Maury [13] [14] where he performed "Chocolate Rain" on national television a little over three months after he posted his composition on YouTube. He made the front page of Sunday's Los Angeles Times on August 12, 2007 with additional features in The Toronto Star , The Chicago Tribune 's RedEye , The Star Tribune [15] and People [14] and has appeared on CNN [16] for a televised interview. On February 12, 2008, he appeared on the television show Lily Allen and Friends on BBC Three, and performed a cover of Lily Allen's debut "Smile". In March 2008, the video won a YouTube award in the category "Music".

The Australian Daily Telegraph newspaper wrote: "Tay Zonday has written perhaps the most listened-to song in the world right now". [17] People said: "He's scored a YouTube hit with his repetitive, keyboard-driven 'Chocolate Rain', and after a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Tay Zonday's star is shining even brighter". [14] The article also noted that celebrity musicians paid tribute to the song as its popularity rapidly peaked in August 2007. John Mayer reportedly copied Zonday's keyboard riff with his guitar in concert, [18] [19] along with appearing on Best Week Ever improvising a parody to the tune of Nelly Furtado's "Say It Right". [20] Green Day drummer Tré Cool recorded a cover of "Chocolate Rain" which he posted on YouTube. [21] Zonday also became the subject of thousands of other parodies and remixes on YouTube. A clip of his video was also shown on The CW's short-lived series, Online Nation . [22] [23] [24] Tay Zonday has also been interviewed twice on Good Morning America , in March and November 2008.[ episode needed ]

Zonday starred in a commercial for Comedy Central's "Last Laugh 07", hosted by Lewis Black. [25] He released a video called "Cherry Chocolate Rain", [26] in a promotion with Dr Pepper. He starred alongside Leslie Hall in a commercial for Firefox web browser singing a song called "Users Against Boredom" in a parody of "We Are the World". Zonday has said that his voice is often compared to Paul Robeson, Barry White, James Earl Jones, and Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies. [27] He appeared in-person at Intel's Consumer Electronics Show booth, rendering the source files of the "Chocolate Rain" YouTube video in Sony Vegas. [28]

The Grammy Award-winning music video for rock band Weezer's single "Pork and Beans" featured Zonday, along with other YouTube celebrities. As well, in May 2008, Zonday performed an acoustic version of the song with Brian Bell of Weezer, spoofing his own performance in "Chocolate Rain". [29]

As a voice actor, he voiced part of a multimedia presentation built to celebrate 50 years of NASA history. [30] He also voiced a role in Adult Swim's Robot Chicken , spoofing his own song "Chocolate Rain".[ episode needed ]

Zonday was featured on the Jace Hall Show , where he was comically interviewed at a famous Hollywood restaurant in a play on the dissonance between Internet fame and the traditional entertainment industry. [31]

In February 2010, he cameoed in a Vizio Super Bowl commercial opened by Beyoncé. [6] In October 2010, he appeared on Comedy Central's Night of Too Many Stars autism charity event during a musical number with Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert. [32]

In August 2011, Zonday appeared on America's Got Talent and performed 15 seconds of his song "Chocolate Rain". Zonday was also featured in Dave Days' YouTube video spoof of Justin Bieber's song "Baby", which has over 16 million views. He had a cameo in The Guild season 5 episode 3 "Megagame-o-ramacon!", which aired on August 9, 2011. In November he uploaded "Mama Economy (The Economic Explained)" in response to an economic crisis in the United States. [33]

On June 22, 2012, Zonday uploaded a cover of Carly Rae Jepsen's number one single "Call Me Maybe", which as of 2016 has reached over 6.5 million views. [34] It was featured on "The 10 Best 'Call Me Maybe' Covers" on Billboard.com. He is seen performing the single in front of a microphone in what he claimed to be "as low as I could [sing]". [35]

In 2015, Tay Zonday co-starred in the sitcom The Jack and Triumph Show on Adult Swim.

In 2016, he appeared in the movies Internet Famous [36] and Laid in America . [37] He also voiced a character in an animated series for the video game Happy Wheels . [38]

In 2017, Tay Zonday was announced as a voice in an animated series based on the Transformers franchise. [39] He also appeared on Steve Harvey to celebrate the tenth anniversary of "Chocolate Rain". [40]

See also

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  1. Profile on official site [ permanent dead link ]
  2. "Tweet from May 21, 2017". Twitter. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
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  5. 1 2 Fox News report about Numa Numa also mentions: ...fellow viral video star, 'Chocolate Rain Guy', aka Tay Zonday (22 Sept 2010): Foxnews.com
  6. 1 2 "Chocolate Rain Singer Tay Zonday Still A Star; Chocolate Rain Has Gotten Almost 48M YouTube Views". MYfox Phoenix. February 17, 2010. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
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  10. Minneapolis City Pages: Rain Man Archived 2011-11-28 at the Wayback Machine
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  12. Chocolate Rain on Best Week Ever on YouTube
  13. Tay Zonday On Jimmy Kimmel on YouTube
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  20. John Mayer on Best Week Ever Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  21. Cashmere, Tim (August 3, 2007). "Green Day Drummer Tre Cool Covers Tay Zonday". Undercover. Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-09.
  22. Chocolate Rain Sung By McGruff The Crime Dog on YouTube
  23. Video on YouTube
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  27. Riley, Duncan (2008-01-07). "Exclusive: Mozilla Secretly Launches A Viral Campaign For Firefox". Techcrunch.com. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
  28. channelintel (2008-01-07). "Chocolate Rain at CES". YouTube. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
  29. Pork & Beans Acoustic - Tay Zonday and Brian Bell on YouTube
  30. "50th Anniversary of NASA". Nasa.gov. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
  31. Video: The Jace Hall Show with Tay Zonday, Gearbox (2008-06-27). "Video: The Jace Hall Show with Tay Zonday, Gearbox". GameArgus.com. Archived from the original on 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
  32. Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert - "Everybody's Talking 'Bout Sully" (2010-10-22). "Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert - "Everybody's Talking 'Bout Sully"". Comedy Central. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  33. "'Chocolate Rain' Creator Tay Zonday Explains The Economy In New Single 'Mama Economy'". Huffington Post. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  34. Video on YouTube
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