Successful Artists Who Started Their Careers on YouTube

Maybe some of you become turned off at the idea of a YouTube star, particularly because a few of them have been more than a little controversial.

Various popular music superstars today first started posting their music on YouTube. It’s proven the platform as a place to get yourself out there to the world and build a fan base.

Sometimes you’ll find musicians who don’t sing also becoming well-known from YouTube videos. We only hope monetization issues there of late won’t prevent the next superstar from being found on the site.

Justin Bieber playing guitar at the Buckingham Palace fountain.
Justin Bieber | Ricky Vigil/GC Images

Justin Bieber’s YouTube beginnings

You don’t always have to produce slick music videos on YouTube to gain an audience. While Justin Bieber is a famous example of that, you can still argue he was on the platform in the early days before things got more complicated.

Back when he first appeared on YT, he posted simple videos of him singing and dancing, enough to attract immediate fans.

There could be a whole new generation of Bieber fans who may not even remember he started on YouTube with amateur talent videos. Considering this was in 2007 when YT was still in its infancy, maybe such a marketing plan wouldn’t work completely the same nowadays.

It’s still eye-popping to see some of his videos received nine million views at the time.

Carly Rae Jepsen on YouTube, thanks to Justin Bieber

When artists live in the same country, they usually try to help one another. Maybe you don’t see that all the time here in America, but you certainly do in Canada.

No doubt many of you remember the song “Call Me Maybe” from Carly Rae Jepsen. Latter artist has gone on to a successful music career here in the states, though some of you may not remember the song was a big hit in Canada first in 2011.

Justin Bieber was a full-fledged superstar by then and created a video for it with Jepsen to help push it out to more audiences.

Sure enough, it became the most ubiquitous single of 2012. Networking can also help shape careers on YouTube, something still workable today amid demonetization problems.

YouTube helped save Tori Kelly’s career

Back in 2010, Tori Kelly was voted off American Idol, no doubt due to Simon Cowell calling her out as too boring. She didn’t lose her confidence after this incident and instead turned to YouTube a few years later to regain fans on her own.

Wouldn’t you know it worked, leading to where she is today. Nowadays, it seems almost criminal to call Kelly overly vanilla. Not that everyone can’t improve as an artist.

Kelly has said herself having Simon tell her this helped her become more defiant in bettering herself as a performer. YouTube became the new stage in regaining her confidence.

Shawn Mendes followed the same path as Justin Bieber

It’s safe to say Bieber set the most innovative paths in the music industry of recent memory, at least in how you can market yourself. He was one of the first music artists to use YT in a way to reach a maximum amount of people and build enough credibility to gain a music contract. Every artist since then likely look to the basic Bieber YT model as inspiration.

Pop sensation Shawn Mendes is now a YT alum, including from some other social media sites not available anymore, like Vine. Back in 2013, Mendes was another clean-cut teen doing a cover for a Coca-Cola/Much Music contest. Everything spiraled from there.

What’s most ironic is everyone needs reminding these stars began on YouTube, which seems to make it a necessary digital springboard everyone likely wants to keep a secret.