NEW YORK (PIX11) — A 20-year-old DJ who lives in Brazil incredulous when he got an email before the Super Bowl.

“They reached out to me via email, but I really didn’t believe it right away,” Ewerthon Carvalho Santos, who uses the stage name DJ Klean, said. “A person messaged on Rihanna’s behalf, but no one actually disclosed when, even if the song would actually be used for anything, let alone the Super Bowl.”

The DJ lives in a 20,000-person town in the Brazilian state of Bahia, named Itarantim. His music career began about five years ago when he first started adapting popular songs into the Brazilian music style funk.

It was in 2020 that DJ Klean decided to play around with one of Rihanna’s many number-one hits, “Rude Boy.”

“That is my favorite song by Rihanna,” said the DJ, who is now in Sao Paulo, Brazil, trying to grapple with his skyrocketing media following the Super Bowl. “I was in my bedroom and made the remix just for fun. Shared on Instagram, and soon after, it started to get attention. It died down a bit, then TikTok picked it back up because people started using the remix to create their own videos. I had no idea this could ever happen.”

DJ Klean (Courtesy DJ Klean)

Little did Santos know that playing around with the song would secure him a spotlight years later at the world’s most-watched sports event, the Super Bowl.

“I never imagined it would become this big, especially because it seemed so long ago,” he said.

Of course, after his remix was featured during Rihanna’s halftime show at the 62nd NFL Super Bowl, his life changed.

“I was watching the show at home, then with just about seconds into ‘Rude Boy,’ I knew it was my remix,” he said.

This year’s show is already one for the books, with a massive audience of more than 118 million viewers, one of largest audiences of all time according to the National Football League.

“It is really mind blowing. Brazil is so big, with so many rhythms, and it is very special to see funk featured at such an important event,” he said.

And what is next for the young DJ? That’s to be decided, but something is already in the works.

“There are some partnerships already in motion right now, but still too early for me to even say anything. I am hoping soon I will get to share the good news,” Klean said. “And for other artists out there, from anywhere in Brazil or in the world, just keep doing what you believe is right, work on your music, on your art. Today you might be home and kind of tired of trying, but someday you might end up on the Super Bowl.”