West Coast producer Powell Aguirre has been making bedroom beats since the 3rd grade when his older brother helped him install FL Studio on his computer. After six years of recording original tracks and remixes on SoundCloud under his Surf Mesa moniker, he achieved overnight success with this tropical house banger.
The song features vocals by Emilee, the stage name for Batesville, Arkansas native Emilee Flood. The singer-songwriter first blew up through her covers on TikTok and then gained traction through the story of how she met her husband, hip-hop artist Edgar Sandoval Jr, through Spotify.
Originally just named "Ily," Surf Mesa first posted the song onto Soundcloud on November 26, 2019. It quickly built momentum and came to the attention of Astralwerks, which signed the American producer. The track was rereleased by Astralwerks in February 2020 retitled as "Ily (I Love You Baby)" to make it easier for people to find the tune. It gained further traction through user-generated clips on the app TikTok and crossed over to radio, becoming a worldwide hit.
Surf Mesa made the song in one single sitting. He recalled to Soundazed: "I didn't get up for anything, and at 5 a.m., when the song was finished, I posted it on SoundCloud."