Fans keep begging “American Idol” finalist Fritz Hager to officially release “Caroline,” a new song he’s sampled in multiple creative videos on social media. But the 22-year-old, who made it to the Top 5 on “Idol,” needs a little help before he can release the whole song officially. So he nervously made a pledge to his fans: he’ll get a tattoo of their choice — or more than one, if the plan works — in exchange for their support of the tune.
Hager Says ‘My Body is Your Canvas’
On September 29, 2022, Hager posted a TikTok video — and later uploaded it to Instagram, too — in which he anxiously proposed a new plan to motivate fans to pre-save the song “Caroline.” Beginning the video with his head in his hands, the indie singer from Tyler, Texas, nervously exclaimed, “Oh, this is so dumb! Why am I doing this!?”
Hager went on to say “Caroline” had been pre-saved about 3,000 times, but he needs 15,000 pre-saves to be able to release it as a single. This may be because industry insiders say that level of interest can help a song stand out on the charts and gain traction once it’s released, which is critical for emerging artists. It’s also possible Hager has an unannounced record deal that restricts him from releasing songs before they’ve reached a certain level of support.
After hemming and hawing in his social media announcement, he blurted out, “If you pre-save my song, I’ll let you tattoo my body!” He then showed the camera that he just got his first tattoo, “a little mushroom guy” on his wrist, and said that when his “Caroline” song reaches 15,000 pre-saves, he will scroll through all of his fans’ tattoo ideas written in the comment section of his post, and randomly choose one to get. In fact, if the song “pops off,” he said he’ll get fan-directed tattoos each time the song earns another 15,000 pre-saves.
“My body is your canvas. I’m selling my soul here,” he joked.
In the same way that avid readers might pre-order an author’s book before it’s released so they get one of the first copies, pre-saving a song or album gives fans a way to support their favorite musicians before the music’s actually been released. Hager’s song “Caroline” can be pre-saved via multiple apps, from Apple to Spotify.
Fans and friends immediately started offering up their tattoo ideas, including fellow season 20 ‘Idol’ alum Dan Marshall, who wrote, “My signature somewhere…..say yes.” And multiple fans suggested he get a tattoo of “Leah’s bucket hat,” referencing a signature hat sometimes worn by his close friend from ‘Idol,’ Leah Marlene.
Within hours, Hager had received a vast collection of odd and funny suggestions in his Instagram comments, from “Cowboy Kermit the Frog” to “Betty White on roller skates at a circus” to “the American Idol logo but spelled ‘Murican Idol.” One fan even suggested her birthdate.
Hager’s Fans Also Got a Baby Hippo Named After Him
The tattoo strategy just might work, because when Hager asks his fans for a favor, they take it seriously. Case in point: in August, the fans that comprise “FritzNation” think they helped to get a baby hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo named after the quirky musician.
When Hager heard the Cincinnati Zoo was holding a vote to name their newborn hippopotamus and that “Fritz” was a contender, the singer-songwriter took to social media to beg his fans to help make it happen. They responded, likely swaying the vote so that the name “Fritz” did, indeed, win.
At the time, Cincinnati Zoo Communications Director Michelle Curley told Heavy, “We were not aware of the campaign to make Fritz the winner, but I am glad it worked!”
Another “FritzNation” success occurred after the “American Idol” finale in May, when Ryan Seacrest’s national morning show — “Live with Kelly and Ryan” — held a vote to decide which finalist would get to perform on the show. Hager’s supporters came through then, too, and he was whisked away to New York City to perform on the show.