Hemlocke Springs: a rhythm that exceeds expectations



TikTok star Hemlocke Springs is a musical supernova that’s about to explode into stardom.

Miranda Ljung-Baruth, Creative Media Editor

In October of 2022, a teaser of “Girlfriend”, a poppy 80s inspired song, went viral on TikTok. This was the work of Isimeme Naomi Udu, more commonly known by her stage name Hemlocke Springs. With only three singles released on Spotify, 25 year old Springs has managed to rack up over a million monthly listeners. 

When I first heard the viral sound clip of “Girlfriend’s” bridge back in October, I couldn’t get it out of my head for days. Glam pop with 80s synth and a 2000s sound. There was something so familiar about it that made it insanely catchy, but it was fresh enough to never get old. It sounded like Marina and the Diamonds had a baby with Kate Bush. And then that baby got adopted and raised by Prince. What can I say? I was obsessed. I had to check out her other songs and quickly became disappointed to realize there was only one more, with one on the way to being released. After listening to the two on a loop, my dismay turned to excitement. This artist was on the cusp of something big, and I would get to see it play out. 

At the time her TikTok had around 40 thousand followers, but since then it’s risen to 297 thousand, in addition to her 88 thousand followers on Instagram. Still unknown enough to feel slightly niche, but popular enough that if I play one of her songs at a party, people can sing along to the chorus. Watching her grow so quickly was incredible — I felt like I knew her, like I had to learn more about her. 

Now that her third single, “Stranger Danger!”, has been released, obviously I had to give it a listen. Opening with an eerie melody and strong beat, the song seems a little halloweeny, until the monotone verses build up to the floating chorus that brings me back to her first single, “Gimme all ur luv”.  Each song she’s released is so unique, yet they are all connected through this dream pop theme. “Stranger Danger!” feels like walking through a graveyard when it’s dark out, or being locked in a museum overnight. Springs has the rare talent of capturing such a specific feeling or experience in a 3 minute song.

Wanting to know more about Springs, I did some research. An extremely multi-talented individual, she is getting her masters in science at Dartmouth. She never intended on becoming famous, and her songs going viral on TikTok pleasantly surprised her. Singing and songwriting have just been hobbies since her high school garage band days, and releasing music was a spur of the moment decision. 

Springs truly has star quality, something that’s been missing from the last decade or so of musicians. Watching the music video she created and starred in for “Girlfriend” solidified that for me. Filmed on an old 90s camcorder, it has a real vintage feel. It opens with her singing the “Girlfriend” to her dinner date, an ambiguous stuffed animal (I honestly don’t know what animal it’s supposed to be.) Video game graphics added on say things like “New item unlocked!” and “Game over.” It ends with bloopers and behind the scenes shots, something lacking from most music videos. I would highly recommend keeping a close eye on her, because she is a musical supernova that’s about to explode into stardom.