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Case Studies

CHELJI – TikTok Sensation to Alt-Pop Queen

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


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‘Funeral’ & ‘JokeMan’ ft. Jacob Sartorius

The Music Gateway team were pleased to collaborate with the widely recognized alt-pop artist, CHELJI on her song ‘Funeral’, as well as her collaborative track with Jacob Sartorius – ‘JokeMan’

This case study will look at rising star CHELJI’s journey to alt-pop grunge princess whose dark and openly real lyrics are appealing to an increasing fanbase who can more than relate, and the success of these 2 tracks.


CHELJI – The Journey

Birmingham-born grunge alt-pop singer CHELJI crafts songs that often blur genre lines in an attempt to connect across any scene. Dedicating herself to the lifestyle of an artist from a young age, CHELJI has had an interesting trajectory.

Attending University for a degree in game and software development at only 15 years old, studying alongside peers in their 20s, she soon realised that the traditional lifestyle route simply was not for her.

Turning to music, she began to hone her sound and style, but it wasn’t until she began sharing her music, teasers and lipsyncs on TikTok that CHELJI really started to mark her place on the map. From the start, she was passionate about her following and went to lengths to forge a strong connection with her fanbase – which saw it grow rapidly.

But musical success seemed to illude her, and CHELJI started to feel like it was a losing battle, and she turned her back on music and tried to find her place in the world elsewhere.  She suffered the harsh realities of following a dream to some dark, and lonely corners.

‘Hate Me’

When her unreleased track “Hate Me” suddenly blew up on TikTok years after she packed up her music career, no one (not even CHELJI) knew what was to come. Suddenly she was in demand and found a newfound passion and inspiration for writing songs.

When the original @lovechelji TikTok account that helped rocket her to fame was suspended in 2021 – CHELJI simply started from scratch and pushed even harder until she surpassed the success of the deleted account.

Fast forward to 2022 and CHELJI was reborn, where her second account @itschelji now has a hefty 1.2 million followers and is ever-growing. Her debut releases ‘Still Here’ and ’23’ both of which had over 2.5M streams globally within 3 months, followed by ‘My Way’ which hit half a million streams in less than 30 days.

The likes of Nirvana, Lil Peep, blackbear and Kanye West heavily influenced her honest and often autobiographical sound. Her themes are often bleak, covering domestic abuse, severe depression, and substance abuse. With her heavy load of experiences, it would be easy to fall into a victim mindset, but CHELJI is certainly no victim. There’s a conflicting hopefulness to her dark musical persona. In 2022 she said:

“My music’s gonna be fucked up. I’m going to touch on topics no one has ever touched on,” she explains. “I want people who don’t feel heard to listen to my music and say “I’m valid.”



“Funeral” – an ode to a past relationship – was released in September 2023 and is a refreshing listen with its crunchy, distant, electric guitar, and chant-like backing vocals.

Speaking on the project herself, CHELJI said, 

“I wrote funeral when I was in Sweden, as always I started with a guitar loop… I never know what I’m going to write about until I start freestyling and just start “saying how I feel” but I seemed to be angry about a past relationship at the time so I went with it. It’s a karma anthem.” Nothing helps heal you more than a good ol’ karma anthem!”

With angsty and aggressively good melodies, alongside shining vocals, this single is a testament to CHELJI’s unique and soaring artistry.

Music Gateway + CHELJI – ‘Funeral’

Our team worked with the hugely popular alternative pop talent CHELJI on her track ‘Funeral’ across Spotify, Press & TikTok. After parting ways with Parlophone Records, CHELJI’s first release as an independent artist exploded onto Spotify’s New Music Friday UK and Alt/Pop editorial playlists. The campaigns highlights included:

  • Placements across New Music Friday UK & alt/pop editorial playlists
  • 8 quality press shares including Wonderland, Ones To Watch, Earmilk & Backseat Mafia.
  • 700k+ total Spotify streams
  • 1M+ views across our TikTok creator campaign
  • Creative & trend development
  • User-generated content increase of 4k videos

‘JokeMan’ ft. Jacob Sartorius

Jacob Sartorius

Jacob Sartorius is described as an “actor and social media phenomenon and one of Gen-Z’s fastest-growing stars”, in his younger years he won The People’s Choice Award, The Kids’ Choice Award, and was a Teen Choice Award nominee.

Renowned for delivering honest and heartfelt content that has catapulted him to “5th most engaged user on Twitter” and “one of the most engaged accounts globally on Instagram”, and with a whopping 23 million followers on TikTok, it was a logical progression for CHELJI and Jacob to put their energies together.

Cue ‘JokeMan’.

Released in December 2023, the track has already had immense editorial successes, being included on no less than 4 prominent playlists in less than 4 weeks, including:

CHELJI  – 2024 & Beyond

We are excited to see what CHELJI has planned for the coming year, but whatever it is, we know it is going to be in true, unapologetic CHELJI style – just what her CHELJDREN have come to expect. With the artist’s innovative site for fans to share their trauma – Trauma Dump – still inspiring people to share their deepest and darkest secrets, it is clear that this year is going only one way for CHELJI – and that’s up….


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