YouTube musicians such as Kurt Hugo Schneider, Sam Tsui and Megan Nicole (pictured) occupy a unique spot as musicians. Niche enough to be considered edgy, popular enough to be considered mainstream. With hundreds of thousands of subscribers and videos with view counts in the millions, these online sensations hit Hong Kong for a one-of-a-kind showcase at WTFest.
Top of the bill, Kurt Hugo Schneider and Sam Tsui are friends who began playing music in high school and continued working on their careers while at university at Yale. The two rose to fame through a Michael Jackson medley they posted online in 2009 – an editing extravaganza with Schneider handling production and Tsui singing all seven vocal parts of the a cappella arrangement. After the medley went viral, the friends continued to make music with online success after success. Today, Tsui and Schneider remain close collaborators and, a sign of their talent, are sponsored by HP to produce their popular music videos.
Megan Nicole, a singer from Texas with a love of pink and glitter, covered Kings of Leon’s Use Somebody in 2009, which went viral and spread to every corner of the net.Five years of popular covers later, Nicole has 3 million subscribers to her YouTube channel. In 2014 she released her debut EP, Escape, consisting of five original songs. Nicole even starred in her own movie musical called Summer Forever in 2015 with Alyson Stoner, an American actress known for her Disney roles.
Heralding a new generation of music-makers, these stars arrive in Hong Kong for a showcase that’s not to be missed, as Schneider, Tsui and Nicole are joined by other YouTube idols like Tyler Ward, Tiffany Alvord, Madilyn Bailey and more. It’s easy to sneer at online celebrities, but if Bieber can break out via YouTube, these promising youngsters deserve a chance too.