Meet The 13-Year-Old Who’s Adding Sounds To Your Emoji

How many teenagers do you know who beat an ex-Beatle to market?

Last week, Sir Paul McCartney announced that he was putting a capstone on his almost 50-year musical career with one of his most “challenging” projects yet: writing jingles for 10 Valentine’s Day themed Skype emojis.


But you know who wasn’t exactly impressed? 13-year-old Mercer Henderson of San Francisco, who had already been composing soundtracks for emoji in her spare time. In fact, she had no idea who Paul McCartney even was. “At first, I did not know who he was,” Mercer admits. “But then my mom [Lisa Mercer, a marketing executive at Salesforce] explained he’s this famous, old singer. I have heard of the band, just not him.”

Either way, she’s not worried that she and the ex-Beatle are working on the same problem. Besides, Mercer’s app, Audiots, has way more emoji and way more sounds than McCartney’s. Plus, she has a secret weapon: she’s a kid. She’s living this.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The idea behind her app, Audiots, is simple. Instead of blowing someone a kissy face emoji, imagine if you also heard the sound of the kiss landing. A chicken emoji would arrive with the sounds of chicken clucking. If you send a poo emoji, imagine a wet, explosive disc–well, you get the idea. With the Audiots app installed, you don’t just send emoji, you send soundmoji.

You might be tempted to dismiss this. “Not exactly a mind-blowing idea for an app,” you might say. But again, Mercer is far from the only person trying to add sounds to the emoji that have so quickly become part of our collective lexicon. How many times did you beat Paul McCartney and Microsoft to market when you were 13? Zero? Exactly.

Not that Mercer did it alone. She had help from her mom, Lisa, in creating her app company, 4Girls Tech. She was also helped by her uncle, Bob Edwards, a sound engineer for Lucasarts (and, by extension, Star Wars). Next up, Mercer wants to see if she can get more sound packs into Audiots. She says she’s eye-ing Ellen DeGeneres and Taylor Swift for potential collaborators. She also wants to team up with Adidas, and brands like the S.P.C.A., so that every time someone downloads a dog Audiot, $1 gets donated to neglected pups.

But no partnership with Paul McCartney? Again, Mercer says she’s not entirely clear who he is. Still, she’s willing to entertain offers. “He can buy my company if he wants,” she concedes. “But I would want to be the one to pick the emojis because he’s not a kid. “


Download Audiots here.