Bryson Tiller on Initially Deleting "Don’t" Before It Became a Hit: 'I Was Like, F*ck This Sh*t'

Bryson Tiller gives fellow artists a timeless lesson in ignoring the opinions of others on your path to greatness.

Musician in denim jacket and beanie performs on stage, audience with raised phones in foreground
Image via Getty/Jeremychanphotography
Musician in denim jacket and beanie performs on stage, audience with raised phones in foreground

We almost didn’t get Bryson Tiller’s “Don’t.

In a recent interview with Jordan Rose for Complex, Tiller detailed what led to him deleting the track after its initial upload in 2014. Per the three-time Grammy nominee, whose self-titled new album is set for release this Friday, the eventual Hot 100 hit was actually met with a sense of doubt at multiple points on its journey.

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“It was one of those situations where I was just in my head,” Tiller told Complex. “I had played it for, like, five people and they all gave me like just ‘eh’ type responses. So I was like, damn. Maybe this shit sucks. But then I was just like, man, but I’ve been listening to it over and over and over and over. It has to be good a little bit.”

Tiller ultimately decided to put the song out there “for people that are like me,” though its initial window of availability again saw him battling doubt.

“It was moving really slow,” he recalled. “Nobody really cared. Nobody said anything. None of my friends hit me up. … So I deleted it. I was like, fuck this shit. What am I doing?”

After Tiller deleted the song, a friend "immediately" called to let him know that he'd been playing the track for "girls on campus," who loved it. This friend also urged Tiller to put the song back online.

"But that's the thing, man," Tiller said. "People be supporting you in the shadows and I don’t really like that. Just call your friends and tell them you’re proud of them or when you like something that they’re doing. Because that shit could mean a lot."

From there, as fans are well aware, Tiller's path to stardom was secured. See more above, and read the full interview here.

The lesson here, of course, is that it's always best to listen to that inner voice. Tiller was privately aware of the power of his "Don't" track, but temporarily let the perceived thoughts of others derail its glory.

No doubt the inspiration will continue with Tiller's Bryson Tiller album, which sees him taking a more collaborative approach to his songwriting. In May, Tiller will take his four-album discography on the road here in the States. See dates below.

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