Releasing music via social media can be the equivalent of sending out blind resumes for many up and coming artists in this day and age. It’s a hit or miss, but the internet is now evolving into an endless space for opportunities for fame and visibility for any kind of artists, especially for those wanting to go into the music industry. Not only are you able to upload audio, but the visual elements that can be added to making online videos can be the thing that makes artists stand out amongst others and eventually hit the big time. Apps and social networks like YouTube and Vine have been the starting point for many artists’ careers, including the six highlighted below. You might not know them yet, but you should.
Hard to imagine that a star like The Weeknd was once putting his songs up on a YouTube channel, but that’s where the young artists started experimenting with his R&B tracks. Like many Canadian superstars, Abel Makkonen Tesfaye started out by posting songs on the internet in video form. Back in 2010 Tesfaye posted songs on his channel under the anonymous title “The Weeknd”. His early tracks like “What You Need” and “Loft Music” right away reflected the artists’ dark R&B sound and gritty black and white visuals on top of the audio track. Garnering curiosity and attention from millions of viewers, as well as a mention by Drake, helped lead The Weeknd to release his self-released debut mixtape, House of Balloons as well as Echoes of Silence about a year later.
Now reaching over 200 million listeners on Spotify, young pop acoustic artist, Shawn Mendes’ talented guitar and vocal skills were discovered through the power of his own online entrepreneurship. While Mendes actually learned how to play guitar through YouTube tutorials at the age of 13, he actually continued on to make his most popular covers via Vine, which gained him millions of followers in a span of a couple months. This led to him being the third most-followed music artist on the app, thus leading to him being discovered by producers at Island Records and officially signed in May of 2014. His first single, “Life of the Party” was released in June of 2014. Mendes has gotten much attention for his most recently released album Illuminate, showcasing songs such as “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” and “Treat You Better”. Along with that, the rising artist got a chance to record songs part of MTV’s Unplugged.
When it comes to standing out on the never-ending scale of the internet, only some artists might have it down. Poppy is one of them. You might have heard of the name “Poppy” in the recent interview on NPR or after she released her first album, Poppy.Computer. But this artist already had her name out there on the YouTube-sphere, specifically with one of her most famous videos where she literally just repeats her name over and over again for about 10 minutes. Poppy’s strange, yet hypnotic singing and speech have captivated the online audience and is now reaching beyond just her digital fan base. Popular hits such as “Moshi Moshi” and “Computer Boy” are reaching over 7 million views on YouTube and her rise doesn’t seem like is slowing down anytime soon. Her recent Streamys win has also put her on the grid as not to be reckoned with.
Taking advantage of the Acapella and cover-making community on YouTube, the musical duo, Karmin have reached their claim to fame since around 2012, with over 320 million views on their channel. Like many YouTube artists, the musical couple have gotten noticed for by covering popular songs and giving their own twist to it. Covers of hits such as “6 Foot 7 Foot” or “Look at Me Now” while adding a jazzy take to it quickly garnered attention as their videos hit over 100 million views. Their newest album called, “Leo Rising” was released about a year ago and definitely reflects the duo’s fun energy and undeniable harmony. The couple’s Amy Noonan has even gone on with her own solo career with a new stage name, Qveen Herby.
Maybe you haven’t heard of Dodie Clark’s newest EP, You, but perhaps you’ve seen some of her vlogs and artistic slam-poetry videos on her YouTube channel “doddlevloggle”. Since joining in YouTube in 2007 and later making an official music covers channel in 2011, Dodie has dabbled (doddled?) in almost everything from spoken word poetry, written poetry, videography, vlogging and of course: music. All through the power of YouTube, Dodie quickly made connections in the community and garnered a growing fan base because of her honest personality and relatable philosophy about life in her art and songs about topics of lifestyle mental health and awkward love. She even wasted no time and released a self-released EP, Intertwined and continued keeping up with videos on her YouTube channel. As of now, her page on Spotify has reached over a million monthly listeners and in the meantime, the YouTuber still has 1.3 million subscribers, and counting.
Ruth B’s smooth sound and beautiful piano skills were already being widely recognized on Vine , of all places. While the 6-second video app might be long gone now, Ruth B. has been on the rise since around 2013. She started with posting quick covers of songs like “Shape of You” and “Bad Blood” with just her phone and her piano, but it soon got heads turning. In 2015 she released her debut EP, The Intro and now has close to 4,000 listeners on Spotify. Her first ever album, Safe Haven was just released in May of 2017 with already famous songs such as “Lost Boy” and “Mixed Signals” which combine harmony filled vocals and soft piano that reflect her simple, but powerful sound that has only evolved since her short videos online.