Debut Album by TikTok Sensation Climbs the Charts

Kristan Toczko’s new debut album reached the charts. (Kristan Toczko)

It’s quite a departure to imagine iconic bands like Metallica or AC/DC being interpreted by a harpist, but that’s precisely what one former Moncton musician has accomplished, and her success knows no bounds.

Kristan Toczko, renowned for her captivating performances, whether before a live audience or to her vast online following, has now made her mark on the charts.

Using her extensive classical training, Toczko skillfully covers beloved classic rock favorites, infusing them with her unique harp renditions.

Her debut album, “Rock Echoes,” released on Feb. 16, has soared to number 8 on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart this week, a feat that has left Toczko pleasantly surprised.

“Honestly, I really had no idea that was even something that little old me could achieve,” shared Toczko from her residence in St. John’s, N.L. “It wasn’t even on my radar to strive for something like that, so I was quite speechless. I feel so honored to have my music streamed so many times that it made the charts.”

Toczko’s journey with the harp began at the age of nine, and her dedication to her craft has taken her from Harrison Trimble High School, where she graduated in 2006, to prestigious institutions like McGill University and Yale, where she pursued her master’s degree.

Reflecting on her early years, Norval McConnell, Toczko’s former high school principal, fondly recalled a time when she graced an assembly with her enchanting performance.

Kristan Toczko poses for a portrait, harp in-hand. (Megan Cary Photography)

“Picture this: an empty stage, with a young student, virtually unknown to most, standing before over 1,000 peers, her harp poised in front of her. We were spellbound,” reminisced McConnell. “It was a truly unforgettable moment during my tenure as principal.”

Toczko’s rise to social media stardom unfolded during the pandemic, while she found herself confined to her home in Arizona with ample time on her hands.

“I had this yearning to perform again. I missed it dearly,” she confessed.

Discovering the social media phenomenon TikTok, Toczko began crafting covers of themes from movies and video games.

Her first viral hit was a rendition from the beloved film “Finding Nemo.”

“I arranged it, played it, shared it, and it started gaining traction. It felt wonderful, reminiscent of the connection I’d feel with an audience after a live concert,” Toczko recalled.

As subsequent videos gained hundreds of thousands of views, Toczko found herself hooked.

Requests from her growing online fanbase flooded in, prompting her to tackle covers of classic rock and alternative bands, some more challenging than others.

Over the past few years, Toczko has amassed around 1,800 videos, garnering a staggering 2.5 million followers on TikTok.

It’s not uncommon for the artists she covers to take notice and offer their praise.

“Many leave comments on the videos. Metallica themselves have seen my work. Recently, I shared a video covering Muse’s ‘Uprising,’ and they reposted it on their Instagram story,” Toczko revealed.

While she plans to continue her online performances, Toczko also has aspirations for live engagements this year.

“I’ll be doing a few performances here and in St. John’s. But I truly love the reach and connection I can achieve online,” she concluded.

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