Dan Fowlks: The Musical Dad Behind That Viral Video

(image via Dan Fowlks)

Have you seen this video? It’s very cute. I’m not going to steer you wrong when it comes to precious moments, I promise.

https://www.facebook.com/jdanfowlks/videos/10203878859168818/

 

What’d I tell you? Cute, right?!

We here at The Dad like it, too. Executive Editor, Joel Willis, explains the appeal.

“I love this video so much because it shows an involved, cool dad bonding with his kid. This is what modern fatherhood is all about.”

At The Dad, we have quite a bit of absurd and ridiculous humor, along with some snark, but we also spotlight authentic dad moments. This video shows the genuine joy that comes along with all of that and makes it all worth it.

We wanted to learn more about Dan Fowlks, the man who charmed the pants off the world singing “Dream Lover” to his young daughter, Novie. I contacted him to find out what it’s like to be an involved, cool dad with a massively viral video.

The Dad: Hi Dan, we love the video! Where did the idea come from?

Dan: Over the years I have sung to my kids around the house. This particular song, “Dream Lover,” was one I was working on last year. One night, I decided to record myself so I could hear how I sounded. While my wife was taking the babysitter home from a date we were on, I started singing to my daughter, Novie. Her reaction to it caught me by surprise, so I kept singing and feeding off her energy. She was clearly enjoying it.

The Dad: It’s extremely cute. I’m usually pretty reserved but I was basically giggling and squealing the entire time. Tell me a little about how the video picked up steam on the Internet.

Dan: I shared it on my personal page in December and received some fun reactions to it on my friends list. In January, I came across the The Dad Online and figured it would probably be something they’d enjoy, so I tagged them. [The Dad Executive Editor] Joel reached out to me about posting it and I said “surely.”

Dan in the backyard with his son, Cope.

The Dad: We knew right away it was a special video. We were surprised it hadn’t gone viral already! You gave us permission to feature the video and it took off immediately. Since upload 3 weeks ago (on January 17), it has reached over 37 million people across the world, with over 2 million reactions and 17 million views on Facebook alone. Amazing.

Dan: I thought it was really nice to see so many people reacting positively to it. Then, the next day, seeing it had over 1 million views on The Dad, and then finding it on some European pages climbing over 10 million views! It started getting a little nerve-racking because it was one of those things that is out on the internet and there is no getting it back.

The Dad: What kind of responses are you getting?

Dan: The responses have been quite overwhelming. So many people watched it many times over and found joy from it, which has been quite rewarding. Some people commented that they turned off the Grammy’s to watch the video–that has the most humbling comment.

The Dad: A few people were worried that your daughter might fall off the bed. What do you have to say to ease their fears?

Dan: I knew she wasn’t going to fall off because I was literally right in front of her. Also, if she did fall off, the song would have ended and it would have been a moment that I would not have shared. It’s funny how people watching it think she is going to fall off and no matter how many times you watch the video something amazing always happens… she never falls off.

Halloween night, 2017.

The Dad: What do you think makes the video so special?

Dan: Seeing somebody so young react to good music is revitalizing and makes you wonder, where did she learn that? She was 10 months old at the time. Clearly, music is a special gift we have. Personally, I believe that we exist well before this life. Whatever other life that is, something remarkable happens when music touches our hearts and souls.

The Dad: Any celebrity feedback? Has Beyoncé seen it?

Dan: I was waiting to go in for an audition and looked at my phone and saw that Orlando Bloom shared the video to his social media. I had to take a double take at that.

The Dad: Have you learned any lessons about being a parent? Do you have any advice for your fellow dads out there?

Dan: From my experience with parenthood, I still just see myself as a “kid” who has kids (that might sound weird). Kids are not dumb; they are pretty smart and very observant. It is okay to get down to their level and simply talk with them. For instance, there have been moments when I needed to express that I have never been a parent before, so everything is as new to me as it is to them. I believe your kids will see you differently and that it is okay to make mistakes, correct them the best you can, but then move on.  

Music and being creative in the home has worked very well for our family, there was a time when I was doing a film that took me away for many days out of a month. Before I left, I sat down and drew a little sketch picture of me with my son and me with my oldest daughter. It was nothing of artistic merit to be hung in a museum, but they cherished it enough to hang it on their wall above their bed. Simple things like that, I feel, go a long way as a parent.

The Dad: What’s next for you, Dan?

Dan: Well, the sporadic world stage was an interesting experience, to say the least. For me, it is back to auditions, writing, and looking for opportunities to create. It has opened an opportunity to share more of my music, that I never thought would happen because I never thought so many people would ever hear me sing and play. It has been nice feedback, so I will be recording and getting some music out there, and hopefully, people will like what I have to offer.

Dan and his son watching the sunset in Southern Utah.

Dan has been a super nice guy throughout all of this. Dude’s got talent. He deserves all of the opportunities and attention he gains from the success of the video. We sent him a The Dad shirt and hope he wears it with pride.

Check out Dan Fowlks’s website and music.

 

Procrastination: OFFICIAL PARODY (2018)

Been meaning to make this since 2010, but…

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This Day In Internet History – December 6, 2004: Numa Numa Is Born

(YouTube)

On this day in 2004, a New Jersey man named Gary Brolsma procured for himself something we all long for: Immense fame simply for being a silly goof on the internet. But, like a wish upon a cursed monkey’s paw, it came with a price.

When Gary (or whoever got ahold of the video) pressed the upload button on Newgrounds in December of 2004, did he know that by doing so he would become a viral legend? Did he know that dancing and lip-syncing to the song “Dragostea din tei” by the Moldovan pop group O-Zone would make people freak out with laughter and inspire countless parody videos? Probably not. But he did it anyway. The man took a chance.

(YouTube)

This video, which has over 27 million views, is, as The New York Times puts it, earnest but painful.

A Brief History of Numa Numa

Gary Brolsma was 19 years old when the video hit. And it hit hard. In fewer than three months after its release, it had been viewed more than two million times on Newgrounds. Then it ballooned up to 18 million. From there, the video was copied and shared on countless websites. By November of 2006, Numa Numa was the second most-watched viral video of all time, with over 700 million views.

According to Brolsma, his mom woke him up one day when she discovered news vans from CBS, NBC and ABC parked outside their house. She didn’t know about the video, and thought her son had gotten himself into trouble. No, mom, your boy just went viral.

In a whirlwind of press coverage, Brolsma made appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s The Tonight Show, and VH1’s Best Week Ever. The Numa Numa video was ranked number 1 on VH1s Top 40 Internet Superstars.

But the attention got to be too much. Brolsma didn’t know how to deal with his unexpected launch to celebrity. The New York Times revealed that he was an “unwilling and embarrassed Web celebrity.” He canceled an appearance on NBC’s Today, in favor of isolating himself to seek refuge from fame. He stopped taking phone calls. He quietly sulked around his home.

He didn’t stay down forever.

A supportive story in The Believer made the case that the Numa Numa video “singlehandedly justifies the existence of webcams… It’s a movie of someone who is having the time of his life, wants to share his joy with everyone, and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks”.

The story goes on, “Everyone wanted to be the Numa Numa Guy—to feel that un-self-consciously self-conscious joy he felt in his body, flailing around in his chair and lip-synching a stupid pop song in a language he didn’t understand.

He may be shy, but there’s no question that Brolsma is an entertainer. His video made people laugh and forget their troubles for a while.

Time Goes On

Brolsma says he “wasn’t big on fame.” The attention got to be relentless. Still, he made the best of it.

In an interview with C-Net, he says his life essentially went back to normal after the fame died down. He has retained his small group of friends, and it’s thrilling when people stop him and ask for a picture. The marriage proposals are flattering, too.

Brolsma came back in September, 2006 with a professionally produced video, this time using a song written for him by Variety Beats.

New Numa 

(YouTube)

Then he teamed up with some other viral video stars for the “Numa Numa” 10-year reunion. 

(YouTube)

The man certainly knows how to milk it!

Parody Videos and Tributes

Numa Numa on South Park.

(YouTube)

I thought this was Britney Spears. It’s not.

(YouTube)

I don’t really know what this is but it has over 3 million views so who am I to judge?

(YouTube)

I hate this.

(YouTube)

Maybe don’t show this to your kids.

https://youtu.be/ncXkdeRRjiQ

(YouTube)

Speaking of kids.

(YouTube)

So that’s the story of Numa Numa, one of the first viral videos ever.

Let’s close it out on some solid advice from the Numa Numa man. “If you’re doing something and your intention is to be funny and you’re not having fun yourself, it’s not going to work out.”

Now let’s all get out there and dance our weird hearts out!