Grigoli plays to the TikTok beat

Sophomore Tanner Grigoli of Ocean plays the guitar CHS Coffeehouse 2021.


Sophomore Tanner Grigoli of Ocean plays the guitar CHS Coffeehouse 2021.

Ori Rosmarin

Every time sophomore Tanner Grigoli of Ocean posts a TikTok, he’s bombarded with a plethora of comments ranging from “Wow you sound like an angel” to “I think I just fell in love.”

Grigoli’s prospering TikTok page of more than 17,000 followers and 255,000 overall likes consists of videos of him playing the guitar and singing. This fame has led Grigoli to an appearance at The Famous Food Truck Music Festival and an audition for American Idol.

Grigoli’s affinity towards music began with opportunities in his local church choir at 6 years old and an early passion for music videos on Youtube. By 9 years old, he developed a skill for the acoustic guitar and, as he describes it, a “deep connection” with the pursuit of music.

While many Communications High School students are no stranger to musical talent, Grigoli intends to take his passion further than just an after-school activity. In the future, he hopes to perform at popular venues, like The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, and eventually tour across the country.

Grigoli hopes to cultivate an image similar to his musical inspirations, Charlie Puth and JVKE, while maintaining a unique image to the public.

“[Charlie Puth and JVKE] write the music that I want to put out there, pop with a hint of rock,” Grigoli shared. “I do want to be my own person though. I don’t want to be a cover artist, I’d like to put out my own songs.”

With nothing but musical ambition and his mother’s managing role in his career, Grigoli landed an audition with the hit televised music competition, American Idol. Although he did not make it past the audition stage, Grigoli regards the experience as an excellent introduction to the industry.

“I was a little bummed when I didn’t get in, but it was a great opportunity overall and I’m glad I did it. I’m absolutely grateful for the chance to have auditioned,” Grigoli said.

Towards the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, an uproar of TikTok fan accounts – some of which with names in poor taste – populated the Class of 2025. Before even knowing each other, some of the then freshmen class labeled themselves “Grigoli-fanatics.”

While Grigoli is appreciative of the kind commentary and attention he receives, he finds some of the recognition slightly inappropriate and “a little much.”

“Usually [the comments] give me motivation to continue,” he shared. “Even the hate comments motivate me to get better.”

Grigoli is well aware of the preconceptions that come with his following. With middle school girls in the dozens professing their love every time he hits the post button, students everywhere can not help but assume this micro- fame gets to his head.

“He might have a bit of an ego, but I think he’s generally self aware,” sophomore Hannah Smolinski of Little Silver said.

“I kind of think that [people around me] think that I’m all that,” Grigoli said. “I didn’t ask people to make fan accounts, they asked me. Some of [the commenters] are a little crazy, just chill out.”