In the past singers gained popularity through radio play and variety shows on radio and television. Now music is on streaming services and video sites. The most popular video site, of course, is You Tube. Many artists will use other social media outlets and personal websites to promote their You Tube videos which in turn popularize their songs, both cover versions of well-known artists as well as original works.
Since there is a lot of crap on You Tube, I have decided to come to your musical, if not indeed your emotional, rescue and let you know my top 10 favorites. I follow them all through subscriptions on You Tube so I can see when new work comes along. You can do the same. Signing up on You Tube is free. You can even start your own channel and sing out too.
The following order is for the purpose of this article and I might arrange this differently if I was to write it again tomorrow. Some of the artists have so many videos online it was hard to make choices. I have a playlist on my channel with 12 songs, two by one of the artists and a high energy song that includes three of these.
A Kickstarter success
10. Kurt Schneider is actually the genius behind many people’s videos. As a producer and a musician, Schneider is very much in demand these days. You can find him playing various instruments in many popular videos, but you will not find too many where he is the solo performer. An interesting presentation is Kurt with his mom and just a piano performing the Fleetwood Mac hit, Landslide.
9. Sam Tsui has made a LOT of videos with Kurt Schneider. The pair have a long-standing friendship that goes back to school days so their frequent collaboration is no surprise. Sam raised enough money via Kickstarter to put out an album of 14 original songs and, of course, Kurt Schneider was the producer. The title track also has a high energy video, Make It Up and has over 2 million views.
8. Darin Zanyar is simply known as Darin in his native Sweden. He became well-known in his country at 16 as runner-up to the Swedish “Idol” contest. He records many songs in Swedish as well as English and is a popular performer at home. The recent Nobody Knows is among my favorite English language songs.
7. Alexander Rybak is a singer, songwriter, pianist, violinist and even an actor. He is fluent is Russian, Norwegian and English. He has recorded songs in all three as well as Belarusian, Swedish and most recently Spanish. He shot to fame as the winner of the 2009 Eurovision contest representing Norway. In addition to his pop songs, he is an accomplished classical violinist. Here is the English language Europe’s Skies which has a remarkable 28.7 million views.
6. Eric Saade became popular performing the pop tune, Popular. He competed with the song as Sweden’s entry into the 2011 Eurovision contest. Unlike the other Swedish heart-throb above, Eric’s videos are mostly in English. Here is the link to the recent Colors.
5. David Archuleta became a sensation at 16 as the runner-up on the seventh season of Americana Idol. After some successful recording and concert dates, David took two years off to do Something That Has Nothing To Do With Me. Now he is back doing some live performances and working on new music.
4. Hunter Hayes has been the opening act for a number of big name performers and has found recording success as well. We have mentioned him before in discussing his successful single, Invisible. Just like Darin’s song, What If, it deals with bullying. You will have to wade through a massive number of vlogs to find his songs on his You Tube channel. Here is the up tempo country hit, I Want Crazy. It was added to a deluxe edition of his first album.
Chicago Theater downstairs
3. Max Schneider, or just MAX. He has done a lot of videos with Kurt but they are not related. This Schneider has a variety of song writing and acting credits, including the young Van Dyke Parks in the movie Love and Mercy, the Brian Wilson biopic. Parks was the lyricist on a number of popular Wilson tunes. MAX financed his first album with a Kickstarter campaign. He now has a record deal. In recent years MAX has played small clubs on his own as well as opening act for big name stars. He came through Chicago to play a small club, and then later as opening act for Fallout Boy. I finally caught up with him as an opener for R5. I think you have to be under 17 to know who that is. Here are the talented Schneiders:
Meet and Greet
2. Steve Grand hit it big with his self-produced video All-American Boy. The viral success led to a Kickstarter campaign that exceeded all expectations for funding for his first album. We profiled the Chicago area native here. In demand at Pride events nationally and even internationally, Steve has been hard to catch in the Chicago area. I finally saw him live last year at a small Chicago club. He was as charming as you might expect and his live performance did not disappoint. Recently Steve has found time for plenty of vlogs so we will get you to a song. While there is a slickly produced, high energy remix of this one, I thought I would go for the acoustic version of We Are The Night. It more closely resembles the performance I saw.
1. Tom Joseph Law. When I was thinking about doing this article, I got the chance to ask Tom what song he would pick. He said Dear My Love. It seems that songwriters are always in love with their most recent composition. Then he tried to guess what I would pick and settled on a song he uploaded last year. Yes, he got it right.
Note: All of the BOLD words above contain links to websites, past articles and music videos. That should keep you busy for a while.