Natasha Bedingfield’s 2004 hit “Unwritten” went viral this summer thanks in part to Rony Michel, an online sensation and dance instructor at Digital Vibez, a West Palm Beach nonprofit that exists to empower youth in underserved communities through dance fitness, technology, and the arts.
Known as “Rony Boyy” to his more than one million followers on TikTok, Michel rediscovered the song through the app, where it was making the rounds in the form of a remix called “Like Yop” by Esco featuring Shawn P.
“When I heard the song, I was like, ‘Oh snap, this is that song that my mom used to play back in the day!’ She was a big fan of Natasha,” he recalls. “I remember hearing the words and then with the beat that was added to it, it gave it more hype.” He created choreography to the song and filmed it flash mob–style. His dance blew up, garnering more than 42 million views.
“I started getting so many texts from friends saying, ‘Your song is blowing up on TikTok,’” says Bedingfield. When Michel reached out and offered to teach her the moves in person, she accepted.
Michel and crew flew to California, beginning an ongoing collaboration with the singer, who invited them to dance in the music video for her recent song “Lighthearted.” She also virtually attended Digital Vibez’s Jamathon at the South Florida Fairgrounds this summer.
“It’s an incredible artistic collaboration,” Bedingfield shares. “When I started talking to Rony on the phone and he told me what his day job is, one of his passions is really in line with one of my visions in life, which is to inspire youth and to find ways to help them have a healthy outlet, get kids moving, and to fight childhood obesity. It’s been so inspiring to me and awakened a lot of the dreams that I had before I started releasing songs.”