Like many recent viral explosions of Internet weirdness -- including the "lolcatz" phenomenon -- Zonday arose from a site known as 4chan.org (Warning: Some content is for adults only). However he arrived on the scene, Tay's version of his signature tune has gotten more than 5 million views on YouTube, and has spawned imitators and tribute videos galore -- including one by Green Day drummer Tre Cool and another by popular singer John Mayer.
Part of what has drawn so much attention is the somewhat inscrutable lyrics of the song, which appear to have something to do with racism (one of Zonday's parents is reportedly black), as well as the deep baritone the singer uses -- which he says is natural, but seems at odds with his youthful appearance -- and his somewhat unusual method of taking breaths between words.
So who is Tay Zonday? According to several interviews, including one in the Toronto Star, Zonday's real name is Adam Bahner, and he is a 25-year-old student in American Studies at the University of Minnesota who writes music in his spare time, but until recently had never performed in public. He has since shown up on both the Opie and Anthony radio show on XM Satellite Radio and on the Jimmy Kimmel TV show.
And now, he is the current heir to the throne established by previous alternative heroes, including William "She Bangs" Hung from American Idol and YouTube performer Gary Brolsma, also known as the "Numa Numa guy."
Isn't the Internet great?