Upon meeting Plewto Smith in-person at an Atlanta venue, there is no indication that the artist is a viral TikTok creator. There is a sense of ease and humility to his disposition, so if it was brought to attention that he performed a cover of Lil Jon and The East Side Boyz hit, “Get Low” completely shirtless, it would be met with disbelief.
However, after a deep conversation with the artist, it was revealed that he had in fact spent time on TikTok performing beloved covers from the early 2000s that now garners over 200k likes on the platform.
“I was mostly just doing covers of other songs and sh*t and just putting them on the internet, but after a while that became a little boring. It became both boring and challenging.”
Today, Plewto is a songwriter of original songs that can also be labeled as jingles. Despite being incredibly appealing to his large following on multiple social platforms, like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, it might be surprising to find out the intention behind these hit posts.
“I make all my content for me,” Plewto told AFPZine in an exclusive interview.
While transitioning from making covers, Plewto’s sweet spot for songwriting has been the sometimes trivial aspects of day-to-day mundanities.
“[I write about] just life in general, from the miniscule sh*t…like getting a ticket. There will be other times where certain things just weigh on me; not even necessarily in a bad way…literally just the experience of life, I think, is what inspires me the most.”
In July 2023, when petitions were circulating around Fulton County to terminate the construction of The Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, also known as “Cop City,” Plewto took it upon himself to create a catchy song against the construction.
“When I think about the jingle I made for Stop Cop City, it came from just learning firsthand what was really going on, because – I mean I’ll be honest – I’m not really a political person. Like, I actually don’t like politics at all personally, cause I just find it to be a bit toxic. It’s just not something I can do because it requires too much finagling and trying to win. I just personally don’t like learning that a bunch of peoples’ land and our land as a city is about to basically be the means for some training.”
His contribution was reshared by @CopCityVote, a campaign to put a referendum to Stop Cop City on the ballot, promoting the people of Atlanta to decide. Collectively through TikTok and Instagram, the video has had almost 3k organic views.
“I think everything in general always circles back to life – what I’m thinking about, what I go through, what is on the minds of others,” Plewto explained. “If it’s interesting to me, or it has an effect on me, then I’ll talk about it, but I also try to be mindful of who I’m speaking to.”
“Life inspires me the most,” he added. “I don’t really have an insane kind of formula when I’m coming up with ideas and concepts. It usually just starts with when I’m doing something, something happens, and I start to think about it or I like a melody I started to think about. I just sing all the time in my regular life and come up with melodies and songs just to be an a**hole…I think about things just to make myself laugh.”
While there is not a particular formula to Plewto’s catchy jingles, there is a methodology.
“You have to kick in and kick out in like one minute to a minute and a half to have a video so it’s almost like reps and training to be like, ‘Okay, get in there to do what you need to do.’” Plewto hones in on the perspective of a consumer with this specific advice. “To keep their attention, I can only do this for a short amount of time; go in, say what you want, wrap it up.”
As for the trending of his videos, Plewto suggests adding relevant hashtags to everything posted.
"You always want to be specific enough, but not so specific. There’s a middle ground; you don’t want to be too vague. Like, if you’re an artist and you just put music…there are literally a thousand other artists that are tagging music and you’re probably going to get lost in it all,” Plewto explained. He frequently uses the “Atlanta” tag in his videos, because he wants to be seen by his own community.
Overall, the throughline between Plewto’s original jingles and his cover videos is the fact that he clearly has a varied selection of what he listens to.
“I think it mostly just comes from practice and always having an open mind and open palette,” Plewto said, making a summation of his overall style. “I have a very wide range of palettes, and overtime just start to learn how much all of them can really bleed into each other and be utilized.”
Much of having an open palette is directly impacted and expanded by Plewto’s frequent preference of spending time alone.
“I think most people don’t believe me when I say this, because to the general public, I’m like the life of the party and a party animal…but I have a pretty low social battery. I have to often really be alone to just recharge myself both mentally and also physically. It’s in those alone time situations that a lot of me is just thinking about life in the best and worst ways.”
“Musically speaking, at least, I’ve mostly been doing all of this by myself. I think it started largely out of necessity. I didn’t really have any resources.”
Prior to having a car, Plewto used to be known for committing to obligations and carrying them out purely through bicycle transportation.
“I have always been a big proponent of finding a way to do what you want,” Plewto stated. “I don’t have the best equipment…a lot of people get caught up in sh*t like that. They get caught up on quality, but I’m only speaking for me, I’ve been around artists that have had records that were recorded and produced by the top level big budget people and it was f*cking trash and then I’ve also been around people that did all the sh*t out of their house and had minimal plugins and it was still really good.”
Overall, Plewto’s focus is on making do of what resources you do have and letting your creativity drive your passion.
“Success for me right now is just being able to create songs that make me feel good and feel like I’m not compromising myself,” Plewto added; however, his dreams are still big.
“I want a BET award,” Plewto said with the confidence that convinces AFPZine that it’s not just talk, but pure foresight. “I love Black people. I think being Black is like one of the best things you can be.”
Another dream, which might lead to said award, is the aspiration to create a variety show that is reminiscent of those created in the 1960s and 1970s. However, whatever medium in which Plewto receives a BET award for, folks at AFPZine will be rooting for him every step of the way.