Music

Hot 100 First-Timers: Djo (Joe Keery From ‘Stranger Things’) Debuts With Viral Hit ‘End of Beginning’

Joe Keery has already solidified himself as a breakthrough actor during his run as heartthrob Steve Harrington in Netflix’s Stranger Things. Now, he’s officially a Billboard Hot 100-charting artist.

Keery debuts on the March 2-dated chart under his musical pseudonym Djo, his synth-pop solo project, with his breakout viral hit “End of Beginning.” The song starts at No. 51 entirely from its official U.S. streaming sum: 8.4 million in the Feb. 16-22 tracking week, according to Luminate. That’s a 194% increase from the week before.

Keery initially released the song in 2022 on his sophomore solo album Decide, but it recently began surging on TikTok. Billboard reported that over Feb. 16-19, the track earned 5.3 million streams, up more than 200% from Feb. 9-12 (1.7 million). The uptick was sparked by a trend in which TikTok users have taken the chorus lyric, “And when I’m back in Chicago, I feel it / Another version of me, I was in it / I wave goodbye to the end of beginning,” to soundtrack clips of Chicago or their own hometown. “End of Beginning” has been used in over 18,000 TikToks to date.

On Feb. 9, Keery uploaded a video on his TikTok page of him riding the subway, saying he’s been “tokked,” referencing the song’s sudden popularity.

Keery has been releasing music for nearly a decade. He was a member of the Chicago psych-rock band Post Animal from 2015-18 and launched his solo career as Djo in 2019. He has self-released two solo full-lengths under exclusive license to AWAL: Twenty Twenty (in 2019) and Decide (2022). He has also performed at festivals including Boston Calling, BottleRock, Lollapalooza and Shaky Knees.

In a 2022 Billboard feature, Keery explained his philosophy about making music. “I say that [music] is a hobby because it’s a freeing way to think about it,” he said. “The second I start to get too precious with something, I inhibit myself. If you’re less worried about making mistakes, you might make something crazy or exciting. That’s what I’m focused on doing.”

Along with Stranger Things, Keery has starred in the latest season of FX’s Fargo, as well as the films Free Guy and Spree. In December, he made headlines when he crossed paths with Taylor Swift at Electric Lady Studios in New York City.

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