Ever since Justin Bieber and Esmee Denters signed record labels hot off Youtube, the video platform has seen thousands of budding artists eager to join their ranks and strike it rich. In hopes of making a lasting impression in the minds of viewers, YouTube starlets have done a repertoire of crazy things – from the interpretation of MJ’s “Thriller” by convicts in the Philippines to the cutest little boy crooning “Hey Jude.” We’ve all seen them, we laugh at them, we fall for them – here are some up-and-coming YouTube artists who will do anything so you hit “Subscribe.”
1. Sam Tsui and Kurt Schneider – These guys work hard for the money. They garnered ridiculous attention (read: 50+ million YouTube hits) for their cover of “Just A Dream” by Nelly, featuring fellow Youtube sensation Christina Grimmie. They also filmed a web series called College Musical parodying High School Musical that saw so much success that it is due for a film version release. Since gaining fame, the duo hit the iTunes store with numerous cover singles and even some originals. Duke females, you will probably swoon over Tsui’s first original song “Don’t Want An Ending.” Or at least, I did.
2. Lennon and Maisy Stella – This is one sister act that will amaze you. Lennon and Maisy Stella (combined age to date, 20!) use their sweet voices to record covers of singles by the likes of John Lennon (the older sister’s namesake) and Jason Mraz. They fell across something powerful when they recorded a cover of a cover of Robyn’s hit “Call Your Girlfriend,” making music with nothing but their voices and two empty margarine tubs. Now they’ve been featured in the Huffington Post and have signed on to appear in ABC’s upcoming show Nashville. Good deal!
3. Penn Masala – The world’s first Hindi a cappella group founded at the University of Pennsylvania, this star-quality group is using YouTube to leverage their appeal. With so many South Asian students at Duke and campus-wide interest in Indian music and culture, Dukies are bound to fall in love with these male crooners. They frequently mash up Eastern and Western styles into a single track like in their cover of Viva La Vida/Jashn-E-Bahara. The group is usually on the road doing tours – last November they were at NC State. The next time they’re in the area, let me know – I WILL go with you.
4. Boyce Avenue – This band rose to fame five years ago with a low-key acoustic cover of “Before It’s Too Late” by The Goo Goo Dolls, and has since uploaded some videos that have received more views than the original hits (awkward). I suppose that’s when you know it’s good. They’re currently producing under their own record label, 3 Peace Records.
5. Karmin – Okay, I found out about this duo solely through the number of times they appeared on my Facebook newsfeed through Duke friends. So, I already know Duke students are big on this one. Perhaps it’s because they released perhaps the only widely successful YouTube cover of Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now.” It’s not easy nailing Busta Rhymes’s hook! If you’re sold and you know you’ll be getting ready for Shooters next time to the tune of Amy Heidemann’s spunky voice, you can download this cover and other pump-up remixes here.