Thanks to the invention of the internet, there are so many ways to get famous nowadays. People are using platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and many more to share their talents – though some of them do not intentionally upload the videos to gain attention, people still discover them anyway.
This trend started to happen in around 2009, when people were uploading their casual covers or singing their own songs on YouTube. Well, at that time, YouTube was one of the most popular video sites on the internet.
People were discovering those viral videos and shared them with their friends, family, and even strangers through other social media such as Facebook and Friendster. Like a domino effect, those videos started to spread all over the world, making them popular YouTube celebs.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our list of 12 famous singers who started their journey in the music industry from YouTube! We’re almost 100% sure that you’ll recognize them as their songs are very popular right now – though we’re not sure if you know that they’re from YouTube!
1. Justin Bieber
Who knows that this mega-famous singer who just released a song with Ariana Grande actually started his journey from YouTube? People discovered his talent first through his cover of Ne-yo’s “So Sick” in a local singing competition.
Scooter Braun then accidentally clicked on the video – which brings Justin Bieber to fame. Justin Bieber’s fandom, or Belieber, grew significantly in number coming from around the world, confirming the “Bieber Fever” phenomenon.
2. Greyson Chance
Greyson Chance or the singer of “Unfriend You,” “Waiting Outside the Lines,” and “Shut Up” also began his journey on YouTube since he was only 13 years old. His popularity began to rise when his video covering Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at a grade school music festival was uploaded on YouTube on April 28, 2010.
He was then invited to the Ellen Show as well to talk about the cover song, and to his surprise, Ellen signed him a record deal. That's how his career started!
3. Alessia Cara
Ever heard “Scars to Your Beautiful” or the famous Disney’s Moana soundtrack “How Far I’ll Go”? Yes, Alessia Cara, the singer, started her journey by uploading covers of other artists’ songs on YouTube.
EP Entertainment’s founder then discovered Cara because her daughter showed him her videos. It then opened the opportunity for her to record demos while she was only in her senior year. She has even brought home her Grammy Award in 2018 in the New Artist category.
4. Shawn Mendes
The Canadian pop singer Shawn Mendes wouldn’t be where he is now if it’s not for his YouTube videos. Though he was already quite popular in Vine before he started YouTube, we can still see his old works and covers.
He also entered a cover contest by Coca Cola/MuchMusic with a video of him singing Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team” in 2013. His popularity grew significantly when he released his song titled “Stitches.”
5. Carly Rae Jepsen
Who remembers a song with the lyrics of “Hey I just met you and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe”? Carly released the song in September 2011 in Canada, which Justin Bieber found it a few months later.
He then made a lip sync video, tweeted it, and then the song went viral. Scooter Braun who already signed Justin Bieber in took no time to sign her to his label as well after noticing her goldly talent.
6. The Weeknd
It seems like Canadian know how to use their platform correctly – including The Weeknd. He went viral when he uploaded a mysterious video on YouTube in 2011, not showing his face or revealing his name at all – only his voice.
His account was still named “xoxxxoooxo”, which make listeners even more eager to find out who’s the real person behind the voice. He released mixtapes as well which gained praise from many.
Since 2014, The Weeknd has won three Grammys with an additional seven nominations, selling millions of records worldwide as well.
7. Ed Sheeran
All Ed Sheeran did in his early work was to make relatable music, and he’s never pretentious at doing it. His original fans must know that he used to have his backyard and bedroom as the background of his video covers.
This British songwriter-singer also said that his unique looks helped him stick out on YouTube against other hopeful performers. After getting more popularity, he went to Los Angeles and tried to get noticed in person, where he found Jamie Foxx who helped him to get in front of live audiences.