Hitmakers of the Month: Toosii, Tatiana Manaois and Producer Adelso Tell How They Joined Forces for This Summer’s ‘Favorite Song’

Toosii Merch

When listeners look back at what was their favorite late-spring/early-summer 2023 anthem, for many, it will surely be New York rapper and vocalist Toosii’s warmly embraceable “Favorite Song.” A spare, banging ballad with a gorgeous, sinewy melody, a subtly contagious chorus and a positive, romantic message (“You look good without no make-up, no lashes, even better when you wake up”), it has spent 15 weeks on the Billboard chart to date, most of that in the Top 10. Along with reaching No. 5 on the Hot 100, “Favorite” hit No. 1 on the Rap Streaming Songs Chart, the Hot Rap Songs Chart and the R&B/Hip-Hop Chart, all with 400-million-plus combined global streams. To go with its platinum-certified victory, “Favorite Song” has also accumulated over 61 million YouTube video views, and is currently the centerpiece of “Naujour” Toosii’s just-released debut album.

“Though cohesive, there’s a separate story to, and feel behind, every track on my new album,” said Toosii, via Zoom, about his first full-length album. “But ‘Favorite Song’ definitely stands alone as an anomaly. Definitely has its own story.”

Part of this Toosii track’s unique vibe and hitmaking swagger comes from how “Favorite Song” was put together from its start, by Rhode Island-based producer Adelso, with the use of Tatiana Manaois’ gentle 2022 acoustic guitar-strewn ballad “You Might as Well” as the introduction to Toosii’s new summer anthem.

The New York rapper was already on a roll with a consistent run of smooth-operating, R&B-rap tracks such as “Love Is…,” “Heartaches” and “Magic Potion” when he heard from producer Adelso. “When he sent me the beat,” says Toosii, “I was coming home, driving in my car in the early morning, and just trying to put everything together with the track the minute I heard it. I’m big on having beats speak to me. Don’t think too hard. Listen to the beat, and it will tell you what to say.”

Tatiana Manaois had long been an independent, self-releasing singer-songwriter before releasing “You Might As Well” in November 2022. She was using the song’s tender lyrics as a healing process. “Where I was in life at that time just spilled out onto that track,” she says, laughing. “It was such a pivotal moment that I just vomited onto a piece of paper. If I’m being honest, I needed to be the one to take me out of any situation that I don’t belong in, and come out victorious.

“The song didn’t amount to much, though,” she adds, “until Adelso came in, loved the song, and asked to incorporate it into his sound.”

Having been touched by Tatiana’s melody and lyrics on “You Might As Well,” Adelso sampled the emotional center of the song, her vocal, and put his new track on Instagram, before sending it off to Toosii. “Tatiana’s lyrics really stuck out for me, that and how she portrayed those emotions through her vocals,” says the producer. “I did my thing, took her vocals, put it on FL Studio (a digital audio workstation, found at http://www.image-line.com), placed a piano over it, added drums and put my melody over it. It was special, but still, I felt as if it was just another beat that I was doing at first.”

Adelso was already friends with Toosii on Instagram, and, on a daily basis, they sent beats back-and-forth. “This beat just happened to hit, hard,” said the producer.

“I always tell producers to stay consistent in what they do and send, because you never know when you’re going to have that hit,” says Toosii, who “put all of the mixed bits and pieces together” from Adelso and Manaois’ track, and added his own rhythmic flow to a story of love for his significant other — all while managing to include Manaois’ original vocal introduction as part of Adelso’s warm melody.

“I was going through my own thing when I heard her lyrics, so the day after Adelso sent me the track, I woke up, headed into the studio, and laid it all down,” says the rapper. “I don’t even know that Adelso got how quickly I jumped onto getting this done.”

And though elastic vocalist Khalid and taut rapper Future jumped onto additional mixes of “Favorite Song,” it is Toosii’s original version with Manaois in its intro that landed in the top 10, going as far as No. 5 in the process.

“I’m proud of that,” says Toosii of the all-star remix guests. “They did what they were supposed to do — brought more eyes to the original. I never wanted either Khalid or Future’s version to be bigger than the original. They just added value to my version — one that I worked on with lovely people such as Tatiana and Adelso. She did her thing. Adelso did his thing. We didn’t need features to be a hit. It’s all in house.”

Manaois adds that the reason she believes Toosii’s “Favorite Song” is so powerful is that the meaning of her lyrics intertwines elegantly with her original intentions. “If I’m feeling something, somebody else has got to be feeling it too. Toosii just took that to another level, which is all that any artist can hope for — that what we do doesn’t get misconstrued. When you find a companion in life, you’re looking to ride with them until the end. Toosii took that same message and brought it to a more intimate, romantic place. He made our mix into a perfect recipe.”

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