Wake Forest man gaining following with live performances on TikTok
A Wake Forest dad is gaining thousands of followers moonlighting as a musician on Tik-Tok.
Many of us have found ourselves scrolling down the feed looking for the next thing to hold our attention. For those on the screen, it can be hard to keep it longer than a second. But Luke Reynolds stops his viewers for hours with his music. Reynolds goes live and plays music by request.
"People think of Tik-Tok and think of dance videos or voiceover videos but what we live creators do is so much different," Reynolds said.
He plays for hours as viewers scroll in and out of his streams. Often leaving comments, sometimes leaving tips. Behind the screen, he's performing from the upstairs playroom at his Wake Forest home.
"I joke that I change into superman at night and then come in and turn into a normal guy during the day," Reynolds said.
Just down the stairs, he works his day job as an account manager for Cisco in his home office. After work, he does dad duty with his two daughters, ages 12 and 10.
When they go to bed, it's concert time.
Reynolds played some open mics in college but never pursued a musical career.
"When I got married, you can’t be out playing gigs because I have friends and family that are giving musicians and they don’t come home until three and four," Reynolds said.
He started performing on Tik-Tok during the pandemic, hoping to find some way to connect to people.
"Maybe there’s some degree that I’m not really looking at people I’m looking at a screen if I had to go out and play I think I would be nervous," Reynolds said.
Now he says in-person performances just wouldn't give him the same connection as what he gets online.
"My mom comes into my lives a lot and you can't do that in a concert," Reynolds said.
Followers are not just giving him likes and leaving comments. The equipment and all but one of the guitars he uses to perform are all paid for by tips.
"When I started, I said if I get nothing else out of this it’s an amazing guitar collection," Reynolds said. "They’ve literally paid for everything in this corner and it would be well into the thousands like in tens and $20,000 range."
WRAL first spoke to Reynolds in August 2022. Since then, he has reached more than 50,000 followers on the app.
The money from tips also funded two original songs and a music video. Tik-Tok even took notice of his popularity. Reynolds hosted a takeover concert on the Tik-Tok US account in April. These are all goals he says he never imagined achieving.
"It was driven by my fans. It's nothing earth-shattering but for who I am and what I'm doing, it's pretty cool," Reynolds said.
Reynolds said he has no plans to quit his day job or pursue a career in music full time. It's the messages, not the money that keep him motivated to perform. But he is offering help to aspiring musicians who he thinks can use the platform to help secure a record deal.
"The message to anyone is, this is the blueprint to do anything you want and there's no limitation," Reynolds said. "I know a guy who is in his 80s that plays (Tik-Tok) lives and has a good amount of success."