YouTube has helped launch the careers of some of today’s biggest pop stars. In Canada alone, the online video platform has introduced us to Justin Bieber, Walk Off the Earth and Shawn Mendes. So with more and more artists cropping up via YouTube, Vine and various other social media outlets, we here at CBC Music have found 10 emerging YouTube artists who we think will be big in 2016. Take a look below and prepare to hit "subscribe."
Bell’s varied tastes in music are clearly represented in her long list of online covers. From Justin Bieber to Death Cab for Cutie, Bell tackles every cover with a simplicity and directness performing with just an acoustic guitar. Her voice is the star here, though, as she beautifully wraps her vocals around each song’s lyrics. The results are stripped-down gems that we can listen to over and over again.
Sickick racks up the views on his YouTube channel by combining his keen ear for EDM production with his love of R&B hooks, all to create inventive mash-ups, covers and even original music. His version of ILoveMakonnen and Drake’s "Tuesday" has gotten more than 1.5 million views, and he recently tackled another Drake hit, "Hotline Bling," by covering it and mashing it together with Calvin Harris’s dance track "How Deep is Your Love."
Orlando has developed quite the resumé at the age of 12. The Toronto YouTuber has already acquired more than 400,000 subscribers, 11,000 Vine followers and is capping his year off with a debut EP, called VXIIXI. His covers of Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s "See You Again," Taylor Swift’s "Wonderland" and Justin Bieber’s "What Do You Mean?" have been viewed over a million times. Could this be the next Bieber? Before you judge and say he’s too young, take a look at Bieber at the age of 12.
CBC Music's Songcamp participant Daniel Kim is an expert at creating compilation mash-ups. He’s been releasing his Pop Danthology yearly roundups for several years now, where he meticulously splices together the year’s biggest pop hits. His 2015 mash-ups (there are two parts) were released recently and have already climbed pass one million views.
Four years ago, Aragon became a viral sensation with her cover of Lady Gaga’s "Born This Way." The cover caught the attention of the pop star and Gaga later invited Aragon onstage to perform the song at a Toronto concert. Gaga was moved to tears by Aragon’s rendition, and that video has since surpassed 50 million views online. Aragon is 14 years old now and continues to put out amazing covers of Adele, Beyoncé and Lorde. She also participated in CBC’s Songcamp earlier this year.
Collins goes the extra mile in her YouTube covers. Not only does she deliver spot-on versions of today’s biggest hits — including Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez and Sia — but she has also recently started creating original music videos to go with her covers, fully assuming the role of a pop star.
Have you heard a punk version of Adele’s "Hello" yet? Then check out rock band Amasic’s amped-up take on the British star’s newest single. Many of the band’s covers on YouTube are fun rock versions of classics including the Ghostbusters theme song, OMI’s "Cheerleader" and One Direction’s "Drag Me Down." (Amasic's love of pop-punk is even reflected in its YouTube username: greenday3840.) But the band adds some diversity to its arsenal by occasionally performing acoustic versions of pop-punk songs by Fall Out Boy and All Time Low.
From: Port Elgin, Ont.
Cole Rolland likes to give pop songs an unlikely punk or metal transformation on his popular YouTube channel. From giving Taylor Swift’s "Bad Blood" a heavy punch of guitars to doing a more straightforward take of Paramore’s "Misery Business," Rolland makes sure the amps are turned way up for every cover he does.
Calgary native Pattison has parlayed her YouTube career into a number of great opportunities, including a collaboration with American Idol contestant Todrick Hall, singing the national anthem at a Calgary Flames game and most recently the release of her debut EP. Pattison finds room for one cover on her EP, though: Jeff Healey’s "Angel Eyes."
Multi-instrumentalist Allossery utilizes many different instruments and skills in her YouTube covers of artists such as Vance Joy, Sia and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Whether she’s performing solo or with friends, she makes sure to incorporate illustrations and unlikely percussive elements (wooden branches, DIY shakers) to give it her unique stamp.