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Home / Music / YouTube sensations who turned iconic singers

YouTube sensations who turned iconic singers

What do you think a US based musician like Justin Bieber has in common with the Tamil Nadu based artist G Rajendran? Well yes, just a thought of it invokes an uncontrollable smile across your face. What could they possibly have in common?

music Updated: Jul 06, 2012 20:03 IST
Ashish Adpur
Ashish Adpur

What do you think a US based musician like Justin Bieber has in common with the Tamil Nadu based artist G Rajendran? Well yes, just a thought of it invokes an uncontrollable smile across your face. What could they possibly have in common?

One’s a multi-million dollar platinum record selling artist named the third most powerful celebrity in the world by Forbes and the other is just a small time artist from Tamil Nadu. However, if you’ve seen the latest Google Chrome ad, chances are you might be close to the answer.

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, the ad is inspired by G Rajendran who used the web to bring the dying art of Tanjore paintings back to life. The ad ends with the screen showing The Web Is What You Make Of It, and that answers the above.

Artists such as the likes of Bieber and Rajendran are out of those who've featured in the latest chrome ad and are those who firmly believe in the above statement. In today’s world of cut throat competition, the biggest challenge an artist irrespective of his/her art form(be it music, dance, painting or photography) faces, is getting noticed and that’s where the Web steps in.

It offers an open platform to anyone and everyone to show the world who they are and what they are capable of. There are numerous people who’ve managed to carve a niche for themselves using the web and can be mentioned here. However, due to space constraints we are listing only the stars from the music industry who rose to fame and built a fortune for themselves using their local broadband service.

Justin Bieber

Bieber was discovered in 2008 by American talent manager Scooter Braun, who came across the singer's videos on YouTube and later became his manager. Nominated for accolades such as the Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 53rd Grammy Awards.

With a global fan base, termed as Beliebers, and over 20 million followers on Twitter, Bieber was named as the third-most-powerful celebrity in the world by Forbes in 2012. He had earned an estimated US$55 million in the previous 12 months. As of May 2012, the Canadian singer had sold 15 million albums worldwide.

Known for singing some of the most heart wrenching songs. Adele was offered a recording contract from XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo on MySpace in 2006.

Her debut album, 19, was released in 2008 to much commercial and critical success. The album is certified four times platinum in the UK, and double platinum in the US. At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Adele received the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Adele released her second album, 21, in early 2011. The album was well received critically and surpassed the success of her debut. 21 helped Adele earn six Grammy Awards in 2012 including Album of the Year, equaling the record for most Grammy Awards won by a female artist in one night. In 2012, Adele was listed at number five on VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music, and American magazine Time named Adele one of the most influential people in the world.

Susan Boyle

Global interest in Boyle was triggered by the contrast between her powerful mezzo-soprano voice and her plain appearance on stage. The juxtaposition of the audience's first impression of her, with the standing ovation she received during and after her performance in Britain’s Got Talent, led to an international media and internet response.

Within nine days of the audition, videos of Boyle—from the show, various interviews and her 1999 rendition of Cry Me a River had been watched over 100 million times. Her audition video has been viewed on the internet several hundred million times.

Despite the sustained media interest she later finished in second place in the final of the show behind dance troupe Diversity. Boyle's debut album, I Dreamed a Dream (2009) remains as the UK best-selling debut album of all time, beating previous record holder, Spirit by Leona Lewis. Boyle's net worth was estimated at £22 million in April 2012.

Boyce Avenue
In 2007, Boyce Avenue began posting videos of original music and covers of popular songs on YouTube. Many of these covers have reached over 10,000,000 views and have been released in EPs digitally by 3 Peace Records. On January 23, 2010, the band signed with Universal Republic and had a debut album, entitled All We Have Left, released on June 15, 2010.

As of March 2010, they are the second most searched for band on YouTube, behind Linkin Park with over 600 million views and counting, and are known for their distinct cover songs and emotional original music. As of June 4, 2012, Boyce Avenue is number 18 on the Billboard Social 50 chart, ahead of artists like Coldplay, Green Day, and Alicia Keys, and has spent 48 weeks on the chart.

Colbie Caillat
She auditioned for American Idol but was rejected at the pre-audition stage and was unable to sing for the judges. The second time she auditioned for the show, she sang her own original song, Bubbly, and was rejected once again. However, the popularity of Caillat's MySpace profile led her to become the number-one unsigned singer in her genre for four consecutive months.

In 2008, she recorded a duet with Jason Mraz, Lucky, which won a Grammy. Caillat released her second album, Breakthrough, in August 2009. Breakthrough was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2010 Grammy Awards. She was also part of the group that won Album of the Year at the 2010 Grammys for her background vocals and writing on Taylor Swift's Fearless album. She has sold over six million albums worldwide and sold over 10 million singles.

Soulja Boy
DE André Cortez way better known by his stage name Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, or simply Soulja Boy, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur. He is known for his hits like Crank That and Kiss me through the phone.

In November 2005, he posted his songs on the website Sound Click. Following positive reviews on the site, he then established his own web pages on YouTube and MySpace. Soulja Boy shot to fame in 2007, when he recorded Crank That and released his first independent album Unsigned & Still Major: Da Album before da Album, followed by a low-budget video filmed demonstrating the Crank That dance.

It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was initially self-published on the internet, and it later became a number-one hit in the United States for seven non-consecutive weeks starting in September 2007. On August 17 Soulja Boy was listed at #18 on the Forbes list of Hip-Hop Cash Kings of 2010 earning $7 million for that year.

Sean Kingston
The Beautiful Girls and Me Love hit maker was discovered through MySpace by Tommy Rotem at Beluga Heights, and signed to the label in a partnership deal with Sony. In a venture between Epic Records and Koch Records, Kingston recorded and released the single Beautiful Girls in May 2007.

The single, based on the bass line and lyrical "association" of the 1961 hit Stand by Me by Ben E. King, reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and topped the UK Singles Chart along with many other international charts. "Beautiful Girls" remained at number one in Canada longer than any other song in 2007.

Lily Allen
Allen is an English recording artist, actress and fashion designer. Near the end of 2005, she created a profile on MySpace where she made some of her recordings public. A contract was signed with the label Regal Recordings, as the views on MySpace rose to tens of thousands. In 2006, she began to work on completing what would be her first studio album and its first mainstream single Smile reached the top position on the UK Singles Chart in July 2006.

Her debut record, Alright, Still, was well received on the international market, selling over 2.6 million copies and brought Allen a nomination at the Grammy Awards, BRIT Awards and MTV Video Music Awards. Her other hits include The Fear and F**k You, She then began hosting her own talk-show, Lily Allen and Friends, on BBC Three.

Calvin Harris
Harris is a Scottish DJ, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He signed contracts with EMI (publishing) and Sony BMG (recording) in 2006 after he had been discovered by Tommie Sunshine on the social networking website MySpace and his music was released on Sunshine's label Xylophone Jones Recordings previous to his album on Sony BMG.

His gold-selling debut album, I Created Disco, was released in 2007 and contained the top ten singles Acceptable in the 80s and The Girls. His second studio album, Ready for the Weekend (2009), reached number one in the UK Album Chart and includes the chart-topper I'm Not Alone, the UK top five hit Ready for the Weekend, and the singles Flashback and You Used to Hold Me. He has written and produced records for other recording artists including Kylie Minogue, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Dizzee Rascal, Rihanna (on the international chart topper We Found Love), and Kesha.

Alexis Jordan
Rose to fame after being eliminated from the first season of America's Got Talent in 2006. After being eliminated from the show, she began to upload cover songs to YouTube, which received millions of views. The exposure led Jordan to the attention of Norwegian production team Stargate and American rapper Jay-Z, who both went on to sign her to their label, StarRoc/Roc Nation.

Her debut single, Happiness, was released in September 2010, and reached number one in Norway and the Netherlands, and also became a top-three hit in Australia and the United Kingdom. Jordan's self-titled debut album was released on February 25, 2011. She was recently heard in the hit collaboration Got To Love You with Sean Paul.

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