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Tay Zonday

Background information
Birth name Adam Nyerere Bahner[1]
Born July 6, 1982 (1982-07-06) (age 27)
Genres Outsider music
Experimental music
Spoken word
Occupations singer, actor, announcer, musician
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2007–present

Adam Nyerere Bahner (born July 6, 1982), better known by the pseudonym Tay Zonday,[2] is a American musician, voice actor, and film actor[3]. He entered mainstream exposure when his song "Chocolate Rain" and accompanying video on YouTube became a popular Internet meme in July 2007. By late February 2010, it had over 48 million views.


Media response

In July 2007, Zonday went from a grad student in Minneapolis, Minnesota[4] to appearances on national television. He appeared on the Opie & Anthony Show,[5] G4TV's Attack of the Show!, VH1’s Best Week Ever,[6] Lily Allen and Friends, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Maury[7][8] 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[9] and People[8] and has appeared on CNN[10] for a televised interview. He also has appeared on Fox News. 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 hit "Smile". In March 2008 this popular video won a YouTube-award in the category "Music", and he was also spoofed in the South Park episode "Canada on Strike".

The Australian Daily Telegraph newspaper wrote: "Tay Zonday has written perhaps the most listened to song in the world right now."[11] 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.”[8] The article also noted that celebrity musicians paid tribute to the song as its popularity rapidly peaked in August 2007. Singer John Mayer reportedly mimicked Zonday's keyboard riff with his guitar in concert,[12][13] along with appearing on Best Week Ever improvising a parody to the tune of Nelly Furtado's "Say It Right".[14] Green Day drummer Tré Cool recorded a cover of "Chocolate Rain" which he posted on Youtube.[15] Zonday also became the subject of thousands of other parodies and remixes on YouTube. A clip of his video was also shown on CW11's Online Nation, a new series.[16][17][18] Zonday has been interviewed twice on Good Morning America, in March and November 2008.[19]

A singing tip in Guitar Hero World Tour advises the player to "move away from the mic to breathe in." Zonday has also been referenced in episodes of The Office, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 30 Rock and South Park.[20]


Zonday starred in a commercial for Comedy Central's "Last Laugh 07", hosted by Lewis Black.[21] He released a video titled "Cherry Chocolate Rain",[22] in a promotion with Dr Pepper. He starred alongside Leslie Hall in a commercial for Firefox. singing a song entitled "Users Against Boredom" in a parody of We Are The World.[23] He appeared in-person at Intel's Consumer Electronics Show booth, rendering the source files of the "Chocolate Rain" Youtube video in Sony Vegas.[24]

The Grammy-winning music video for rock band Weezer's single "Pork and Beans" featured Zonday along with other YouTube celebrities in May of 2008, spoofing his appearance in "Chocolate Rain"; as well, he performed an acoustic version of the song with Brian Bell of Weezer.[25]

As a voice actor, Zonday voiced part of a multimedia presentation built to celebrate 50 years of NASA history.[26] He also voiced a role in AdultSwim's Robot Chicken.[27]

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.[28]

In February 2010 Zonday cameoed in a Vizio Super Bowl commercial opened by Beyonce[3].


Zonday, who is of European and African descent, was a graduate student in American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2007 when he first came to attention. When asked about his racial identity he remarked:

The straight-faced answer is that I'm Martian. They don't have a box for me on the census form. I'm the write-in candidate that the government leaves no space for when you have to choose your race. Seriously, is race something you choose? The whole point is that I don't choose it. It is somebody else's shortcut to my soul. So journalists ask "what's your background?" like I'm supposed to retell someone else's story about me as though it's a fact of who I am and where I come from. As long as I talk about myself in fiction that someone else wrote, I might as well write my own fiction: I'm from Mars. Most believe the story that I'm a black mulatto.[29]

He attended the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy between 1997 and 1998, leaving after his sophomore year. He then went on to earn his undergraduate degree at The Evergreen State College. He has said that growing up, his parents did not allow him to listen to popular music. When music downloading services such as Napster came around, he began to secretly build a small collection of popular music. Zonday makes many references in interviews as to how much he loves his parents.

Tay describes himself as a "musical orphan", having no influences and not feeling particularly connected to any musicians or bands. Tay says his voice is often compared to Paul Robeson, Barry White, James Earl Jones, and Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies.

According to his twitter page, Zonday presently resides in Los Angeles, California.

See also


  1. ^ Profile on official site
  2. ^ Ryan, Joal (August 9, 2007). "The "Chocolate" Reign of Tay Zonday". E! Online. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  3. ^ a b " "Chocolate Rain Singer Tay Zonday Still A Star". MYfox Phoenix. February 19, 2010.". Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  4. ^ Minneapolis City Pages: Rain Man
  5. ^ YouTube: Tay Zonday on the Opie & Anthony Show
  6. ^ YouTube: Chocolate Rain on Best Week Ever
  7. ^ YouTube: Tay Zonday On Jimmy Kimmel
  8. ^ a b c Orloff, Brian (August 9, 2007). "'Chocolate Rain' YouTube Sensation Makes TV Debut". People (Time Inc.).,,20050678,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  9. ^ Music: 'Chocolate Rain' falls on YouTube star's hometown
  10. ^ - Transcripts
  11. ^ Montgomery, Garth (August 1, 2007). "Chocolate Rain goes huge". Daily Telegraph (News Limited.).,22049,22170787-5012327,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  12. ^ Keiper, Nicole (August 4, 2007), "Concert Review: John Mayer brings soul to Nashville", The Tennessean, 
  13. ^ MTV News Staff (August 6, 2007), "Jennifer Lopez And Marc Anthony Roll Out Tour Dates; Plus Lindsay Lohan, Gwen Stefani, Nas, Amy Winehouse & More, In For The Record", MTV News, 
  14. ^ John Mayer on Best Week Ever
  15. ^ Cashmere, Tim (August 3, 2007). "Green Day Drummer Tre Cool Covers Tay Zonday". Undercover. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  16. ^ YouTube - Chocolate Rain Sung By McGruff The Crime Dog
  17. ^ YouTube - Broadcast Yourself
  18. ^ YouTube - Chocolate Rain McDonald's Spot / Tay Zonday
  19. ^ "Tay Zonday". IBDB. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  20. ^ Canada on Strike
  21. ^ funnyguy1375 (2007-11-15). "Last Laugh 07 Chocolate Rain - Tay Zonday". YouTube. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  22. ^ YouTube - "Cherry Chocolate Rain" Original Song by Tay Zonday
  23. ^ Riley, Duncan (2008-01-07). "Exclusive: Mozilla Secretly Launches A Viral Campaign For Firefox". Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  24. ^ channelintel (2008-01-07). "Chocolate Rain at CES". YouTube. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  25. ^ YouTube - Pork & Beans Acoustic - Tay Zonday and Brian Bell
  26. ^ "50th Anniversary of NASA". Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  27. ^ {cite web|url= |title=Tay Zonday IMDB |publisher=IMDB |accessdate=2010-03-13}}
  28. ^ Video: The Jace Hall Show with Tay Zonday, Gearbox (2008-06-27). "Video: The Jace Hall Show with Tay Zonday, Gearbox". Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  29. ^ "Make It Rain: Tay Zonday". HHNLive. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 

External links

Simple English

Tay Zonday
Tay Zonday
Background information
Birth name Adam Nyerere Bahner
Born July 6, 1982 (1982-07-06) (age 28)
Origin Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
Genres Outsider Music
Spoken Word
Experimental Music
Occupations Student
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2007—present

Adam Nyerere Bahner (born July 6, 1982), often called by the pseudonym Tay Zonday,[1] is an American keyboardist. His song "Chocolate Rain", and its YouTube video, became a popular Internet meme in July 2007. He has won Youtube Awards and Webby Awards.[2]


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