From Social Media Sensation To Chart-Topping Popstar: Influencers Who Entered The Music Industry

Daria Paterek

Social media has catalysed multiple careers in the music industry. Daria looks back at three social media platforms (Vine, YouTube, and TikTok) to see which influencers have succeeded in their transition to music.

On Vine…

Shawn Mendes – Success

Did you know that Shawn Mendes rose to popularity due to singing on Vine? Well, a lot of people don’t. Shawn Mendes was part of Magcon, a famous Vine group, with members such as Cameron Dallas, Nash Grier, and Jack & Jack. Mendes probably had the biggest success story out of everyone on this list. Most of his fanbase is unaware of his humble beginnings, and he has received multiple awards for his music, including being nominated for three Grammy awards.

Lele Pons – Success

Whether you love her or hate her, the success of Lele Pons’ music is undeniable. From racking up hundreds of millions of views on her music videos to recently collaborating with the Black Eyed Peas, Lele Pons has successfully transitioned from being the most followed female creator on Vine to a Latin pop star.

Gabbie Hanna – Failure

Gabbie Hanna’s career did not start on a bad note. Her first single, Out Loud, was promising and showed her potential. Her next single, Honestly, was a massive improvement that showcased her personality. However, this success was short-lived. Her single Monster became a meme, which began her downfall. 

What destroyed Hanna’s career was her persona on social media. The drama surrounding her unprofessionalism and her peculiar behaviour on social media led audiences to become less interested in her music.

On YouTube…

Conor Maynard – Success

Arguably, Conor Maynard was destined to have a successful music career. He rose to popularity on YouTube through his covers and mashups. His first releases, R U Crazy and Turn Around, were massive successes on YouTube. Since then, he has continued to produce covers and occasionally releases singles. While Maynard has not achieved the ‘popstar’ status, he continues to release well-produced covers and singles.

KSI – Success

KSI is one of Britain’s most known and influential YouTubers. His ability to enter the worlds of YouTube, music, and boxing has given him the status of The Sunday Times 2nd most influential UK influencer. 

KSI’s music career started with the iconic single Lamborghini, which charted at number 30 on the UK Singles Chart. His first EP, Keep Up, debuted at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart. And it would only go uphill from here.

Fast forward to 2020/21, KSI has released singles with other celebrities such as Craig David, Anne-Marie, Lil Wayne, and Polo G. His second studio album, All Over The Place, debuted at number 1. It’s safe to say, KSI is the most successful YouTube rapper. 

Jake Paul – Failure 

With KSI on this list, it’s only appropriate to bring up his American counterpart and rival, Jake Paul. Jake Paul had the most notorious song released on YouTube. It’s Everyday Bro was widely criticised, and as of now, has 5.4 million dislikes, compared to 3.1 million likes. The song is nonsensical, silly, and has no substance, and is known for its phrases “selling like a God-church” and “England is my city”.

While Jake Paul’s latest releases, Fresh Outta London and 23 are improvements, It’s Everyday Bro will haunt his music career forever.

On TikTok…

Bella Poarch – Success

Bella Poarch’s career launched upon the release of Build a B*tch, a Melanie Martinez-esque single about societal expectations of women and self-acceptance. The song was a massive success. The music video became the most-viewed debut music video in its first 24 hours, accumulating 15.5 million views, and the song charted in multiple countries.

What I believe catalysed Bella’s success is her authenticity and the subject of her single. Bella has previously made TikTok videos demonstrating her singing abilities, so a single release felt like the next natural step. The topic of her song was the topic of praise from critics and fans alike, as fans hailed Bella’s message of self-positivity. 

Nessa Barrett – Success

Impact’s music editor, Gemma, included la di die on her top 10 modern pop-punk songs list, showing how Nessa defied the idea that TikTokers can’t make good music. The track displays her unique style and incredible ability to story-tell through her music, something which she continues to do on her debut EP ‘pretty poison’. If Nessa continues with this tone and style, she has a promising music career ahead of her.

Addison Rae – Failure

While Obsessed is a very catchy song, it does not show Addison Rae in a positive light. The music video has a 2:1 like-to-dislike ratio, showcasing the polarising nature of the song. The song has a very catchy tune and beat, but it is a very unflattering first single. The topic of the single and the strong choreography, paired with the softness of the song, doesn’t work well.

So, what does it take for an influencer to succeed in music? There’s no set formula. Yet by researching the successes and failures of the influencers described above, I would say authenticity, passion, and quality production.

Daria Paterek

Featured image courtesy of Ronald Woan via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of Li_T, Black Eyed Peas, The Gabbie Show, Conor Maynard, KSI, Jake Paul, Bella Poarch, Nessa Barrett and Addison Rae via youtube.com. No changes were made to these images.

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