Making It Big by Starting Small
Whenever a song becomes a huge hit on the radio, you can be sure that there are hundreds, even thousands of covers, that immediately go on the web. Most of them make it to YouTube. When you put a hit song, a talented singer, huge fan base and a record executive together, you have a new star in the making. While there are countless people who have been discovered on YouTube, there are four artists who have started successful careers after years of covering chart-topping singles. These four are none other than Charice, Dondria, Esmée Denters and Justin Bieber.
Since 2005, Charice has been a YouTube user. She has nearly 60,000 subscribers and just over 24 million uploaded views. She got her start the same year she was a contestant on, Little Big Star, a popular show in her home country, the Philippines, which is modeled after, American Idol. She placed third in the competition and went largely unnoticed until a huge supporter began posting her performances on YouTube under the name, “FalseVoice.” It was the posting of these videos that got the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who has had the singer as a guest on her talk show several times. Winfrey recommended to music producer, David Foster, to take the young performer under his wing; he did that and is now her mentor. After releasing two Philippine CDs, she released Charice, her international debut on May 11, 2010. The CD reached #8 on the Billboard 200, making her the first Asian artist to achieve such a feat. It has also recently been confirmed that she will join the cast of the hit US television series, Glee, as a recurring character on it’s second season.
Dondria, better known by some as, phatfffat, her username on YouTube, joined the website in 2006 and now has more than 100,000 subscribers and 24 million uploaded views. Her first upload was a cover of Musiq Soulchild’s hit, “Love.” A look at the rest of her uploads include covers of: Beyoncé, Rihanna and Keyshia Cole singles. After building a huge following, she was contacted by Jermaine Dupri, also know as JD, founder of So-So Def. JD flew her out to Atlanta and offered her a recording contract with So-So Def/Island Def Jam. She recorded a promotional single, Can’t Stop, with the label in 2008 and soon began working on her debut album. Although the date has been changed several times, her debut album, Dondria vs. Phatfffat, is set to be released on August 3rd. The first single, “You’re the One,” is available for purchase on Amazon or iTunes. The video for the single can also be voted on the 106 and Park countdown.
Esmée Denters, a native of the Netherlands, also joined YouTube in 2006 and currently has 265, 000 subscribers and almost 133 million uploaded views. She has covered artists over many genres, including: Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Pink, Natasha Bedingfield and Otis Redding. Six months after she began posting videos of her singing, Justin Timberlake contacted her and signed her to his label, Tennman Records. Beginning in the summer of 2007, Justin and Esmée began writing songs together. The result was her May 2009 release debut cd entitled, Outta Here, which was executive and co-produced by Timberlake and featured Esmée co-writing all the songs. To date, the cd has reached the top ten in several European countries.
The bigger music star to date on YouTube is probably none other than Justin Bieber. At 16, he’s guaranteed to be one of the youngest as well. A YouTube user since 2007, he already has 642,000 subscribers and more than 198 million uploaded views. It was his covers of songs by Usher, Ne-Yo and other popular artists, that got the attention of Scooter Braun, who is now his manager. Braun introduced Bieber to Usher, who flew him out to Atlanta in order to sign a record deal. In October of 2008, the deal was completed as Bieber officially signed to a joint venture between Usher and Scooter Braun’s new label RBMG and Island Records. To date, both My World and My World 2.0 have been certified platinum.
The success of these stars show that anything is possible. So if you think you have talent, consider posting it on the web. You never know who might be watching and what could happen.