Green-haired Newmarket Treefrog CEO goes viral with catchy video ‘I Am Rectangular’

CEO by day, musical social media sensation by night.

Sean Stephens, green-haired leader of Newmarket’s Treefrog digital transformation company, has gone viral with his video and song, “I Am Rectangular,” an ode to walking to the beat of a different drummer.

Shot last month in New York’s Times Square — the location was logical given its shape — the video has been seen three million times on TikTok.

But when you take into account that it’s been shared by others on social media platforms and has been adapted by others giving their own versions of the song, the video has been viewed 20 million times.

“I was hoping for a few hundred (views) here and there, not millions,” Stephens said. “I’m in the business of helping people with social media. This is a knock out of the park.

“It’s halfway between ‘Sesame Street’ music and church music. I think the song is well-produced, it’s catchy and the meaning behind it is a simple metaphor that people can get. I’m saying I’m not relatable and many people feel like they’re not relatable … That they’re different than other people. I think its pure simplicity makes it not just catchy, but it’s so ridiculously catchy that people can’t stop singing it. There are a lot of videos of people saying they wake up every morning and can’t stop singing it and they’re walking around their kitchen singing it.”

Stephens knows what it is like not to be mainstream.

When their farm in Warkworth went bankrupt his parents took the family to Africa, a move that resulted in Stephens growing up there during the Angolan Civil War although he eventually came back to Canada.

His bio is lengthy but highlights include graduating from a Baptist Bible College and holding post-secondary degrees in poetry, religion, politics and business.

He’s been a professional Shakespearean actor, radio show host, ambulance driver for an orphanage, mushroom picker, web developer, house renovator and flipper, software engineer, electric car renovator and ice-cream shop attendant.

He once planted 5,750 trees in one day, a world record at the time.

Stephens has been a musician, was in the top 10 on Canadian college stations for a few years, but sidelined his act when he had a family and he needed something more lucrative to put food on the table.

His gig at Treefrog lets him play his music until 2 a.m., get up at 11 a.m. and hold down his day job.

The pandemic reawakened his “musical beast” and he began writing music and recording again.

Now that his children, Kai, 15, and Trinity, 17, are older, he’s ramping up his musical calling, this time on social media.

The popularity of “I Am Rectangular” does have its negatives.

People from all over the world are calling Treefrog, demanding to talk to Stephens to hear him sing “I am Rectangular.”

That aside, he’s embracing being a viral sensation.

“I’m hoping that this sort of temporary fame has some degree of stickiness. If that’s the case, I’m going to continue making music and having fun on the side,” he said.

“I’m not going to stop my day job as a CEO. Musicians don’t make money.”

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