Tay Zonday's strange hit has been covered by John Mayer and Green Day's Tre Cool

By Brian Orloff
Updated August 09, 2007 12:00 PM

He’s scored a YouTube hit with his repetitive, keyboard-driven “Chocolate Rain,” and after a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Tay Zonday’s star is shining even brighter.

Sitting at an electric piano, Zonday performed a minute of his nonsensical song, singing lines like, “Chocolate Rain / Build a tent and say the world is dry / Chocolate Rain / Zoom the camera out and see the lie” in his deep, clipped baritone. Throughout the performance, the camera would cut to audience reactions – and many of the unfamiliar viewers seemed uncertain what to make of Zonday’s music.

Watch the clip of his Jimmy Kimmel Live performance here.

Telling Kimmel he was a “grad student,” Zonday said he couldn’t account for why his video has become such a viral sensation. His original clip (see it below) has over 4.3 million viewers. “You just put something silly on YouTube and it gets lot of attention,” he said on the show.

In fact, Zonday’s original video has spawned copycats and remakes from civilian YouTube viewers, but even professional musicians seem to be fans. On a recent edition of VH1’s Best Week Ever, John Mayer offered a remixed version of the song (sung to the tune of Nelly Furtado’s “Say It Right”). More faithful, Green Day drummer Tre Cool also covered the song, mimicking Zonday’s deep, talky singing style – if not exactly getting all the lyrics right.

So, has Zonday seen his admirers’ versions? “I wish I had more time to watch other covers,” he told Kimmel, explaining that he had not seen John Mayer’s version of the song. Teased Kimmel: “Do me a favor. Carve a little time out of whatever’s going on in your schedule and take a look at it.”

Watch Zonday’s YouTube original: