Help! I Wrote a Viral Hold Song and Now I Have to Write About Myself

Hold music FTW

You're probably thinking "Viral hold music?? This guy sounds amazing." And you're right, but that wasn't always the case.

In 2017, I was just a dude with an advertising degree resigned to the idea that I might remain a bartender for the rest of my life. I'd been to Chicago, where everyone told me I needed portfolio school. But with so much debt already from making fake ads, I chose the sketch and improv route thinking I'd just "yes, and…" my way into an agency.

Then I met a guy at a party. By the end of the night, I had a job offer to a place I'd wanted to work for, even gotten rejected from, for years. My Don Draper dream was happening. I'd start in the mailroom in two weeks.

For the next three years, I worked my way up, from sorting mail and picking up trash around the office to overseeing the whole damn mail operation. The entire time, I was soaking it in and learning things they don't teach in portfolio school—like, trash always smells worse in the summertime.

Back then I cornered more than one creative in the elevator saying I wanted to be just like them (it wasn't weird). Eventually that led to my first brief for Universal Studios but ONLY if I dressed like Justin Timberlake and sang songs on piano for a project manager's birthday party. Deal.

I did the party, nailed the brie, and got my first rejection in advertising. I kept pressing Creative Resources to move me up and after a ton of NOs, I finally got the magic word: "fine" in 2020. I was officially a writer. And as a writer with no proof that I could actually write, they put me on the only projects that you'd trust someone who was just plunging toilets a week before to do: Radio and On-Hold messages.

I did those for months with Pizza Hut. Then in 2021, I got to write for spokesperson Craig Robinson for a package of spots. Knowing his and my own musical talents, I had the unoriginal idea to write a song for him to perform. "Chicken Wings" was born.

@noraeinhellll #holdmusic #pizzahut #wings #chickenwingsong #funny ♬ original sound - noraeinhellll

It lived on the phones of random franchisees for years until 2024. Someone heard the song, loved it, shared it on TikTok and enough people smashed that like button that it got millions of eyeballs and news coverage. I didn't even know until my aunt reached out to me during paternity leave asking "Who made the Pizza Hut song?"

That led to the agency's first Radio Mercury Award, a Cannes Shortlist and my mom telling all her Facebook friends that I'm a songwriter now.

All this to say, be nice to the guy in the mailroom. Even if they aren't award-winning writers today, they could be tomorrow.

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