News: Four days. That’s all it took for Esmee Denters’ video with Justin Timberlake to go over 1 million views on YouTube. It got a big boost from being on the front page of YouTube, though. I would’ve liked to see how quick it would have made it on its own.
News: Well, it didn’t take long before YouTube noticed the Esmee Denters-Justin Timberlake video. Now, it’s one of the featured videos on YouTube’s front page. Afer a little over 3 days, Esmee Denters’ video with Justin Timberlake hit 593,433 views, with 5890 comments and 2885 favorites. I have no doubt the video will hit a million views now. It’s only a question of when. This is the second time one of Esmee’s videos hit the front page of YouTube.
UPDATE: After 3 1/2 days, the video hit 782,968 views, 9425 comments, 4034 favorites.
For more about Esmee, visit here.
Unbelievable. I hate to ruin the feeling of shock and amazement I had when first watching this video, but Justin Timberlake is playing piano and singing background for Esmee Denters. She really gets revved up with one minute left in the video. Justin says at the end, “She sings my own song better than me.” I agree. That was so unbelievably, mind-blowingly cool. I love it! Let’s see how long it takes for this video to get a million views.
News: OK, she’s only hosting a talk show about user-generated videos on the CW network (yes, exactly, where’s that?), but it’s still big news when YouTube users migrate over to the big media world. More here
Stevie’s got several different characters on YouTube — stevieryan, littleloca, The Real Paris, and Oolalaa.
Terra visits high school students and talks about how she connects with young teens. Her song “Jenny” was written in response to 8 high school girls who wrote Terra about thoughts of committing suicide.
The “Say It’s Possible” montage at 0:26 left in the video is fantastic! It might be my favorite version.
This video shows how hard it is for musicians, even those with incredible amounts of talent, to be discovered today. Thank heavens for YouTube in discovering the talent in this video.
Nice to see talent, discovered.
So here’s what Esmee Denters sounds like playing the piano on YouTube, recorded with better sound equipment. All I can say is wow. I knew she was good, but she’s even better than I thought. Amazing. This is the best video Esmee has made so far, by far.
For all of The Utube Blog’s posts on Esmee, visit here.
News: TV stations in the Netherlands have been lining up to interview Esmee Denters. In the past week, she’s already had four interviews. She must be becoming something of a national celebrity in the Netherlands.
Analysis: One of the best parts of the first 2 interviews is the behind-the-scenes look at how Esmee Denters “records” her YouTube videos. It’s quite simple: sit in front of webcam with karaoke music and hit record. That’s it. That’s what’s great about being discovered on YouTube. It’s pretty cheap. The fourth interview talks more about Esmee’s negotiations with U.S. record labels; she hopes to secure the best deal that allows her the opportunity to write her own songs and call her own shots. She also says that she wants to continute to post on YouTube.
News: Antony Bruno has written an article featuring Esmee Denters, the 18-year-old YouTube singing sensation. It is feutured in this week’s Billboard magazine, with Esmee partially on the cover. It’s also published online for Reuters. The article, titled “YouTube stars don’t always welcome record deals, describes how U.S. record labels have been pursuing Esmee — basically like a pack of high school boys pursuing the prom queen — to sign her to a record label. You can find all of Esmee’s YouTube videos here. Atlantic Records called a local hotel in the small Dutch village where Esmee lives and had the hotel rep track down every single Denters in the phone book. Atlantic Records then called each one of the listings until the employee got Esmee’s surprised mother. According to the article, “Denters has since traveled to the United States and met a veritable who’s who of the music industry’s leading executives, from Jason Flom to Antonio “L.A.” Reid to Tommy Motolla. She has recorded demo tracks with Kelly Rowland and is fielding TV deals with Sony Pictures Entertainment.”
But, so far, Esmee wants to stay on her own. “We may decide not to get together with a label. We may try new stuff. I’ve already accomplished so much on my own, we’d like to see what we can do with that.”
Awesome, another YouTube discovery.
The Utube Blog: OK, let’s turn to some easy, short answer questions. I promise not to ask any Barbara Walters, what kind of tree would you be questions, but let’s start with, Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
Terra: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Radiohead, David Bowie, and Mozart.
The Utube Blog: Who are you listening to on your iPod right now?
Terra: Imogen Heap, Laughing Hyenas, and Radiohead.
The Utube Blog: Favorite movie?
Terra: Right now it’s “West Side Story.”
The Utube Blog: Favorite book?
Terra: Right now it’s “Midnight’s Children.”
The Utube Blog: Ever watch American Idol?
The Utube Blog: You might be the only one in America based on last week’s Idol ratings… Any New Year’s resolutions?
Terra: Nope. Every New Year’s Day I make a list of things which will happen in the coming year. Goals, wishes, intentions… this year there are about 60 I think.
The Utube Blog: Describe a typical day in the life of Terra Naomi.
Terra: These days I get up, walk my dog Elliott, read MySpace messages and emails, make any phone calls I need to make, go to the gym or yoga, and then to the studio where I spend the rest of the day/evening. I’m loving that!
The Utube Blog: Yeah, sounds like a nice gig. What’s one interesting fact about you that even some of your friends don’t know?
Terra: Honestly, I am guilty of giving out WAY too much information. I don’t think there’s anything I haven’t told someone. Even my mom and dad know every detail of my life—much to the dismay of some of my ex-boyfriends!
The Utube Blog: At the law school where I teach, some of my students are in a band called the “Backup Plan.” The name is kind of a joke about what would happen if they didn’t make it as lawyers. Let’s just imagine that Terra Naomi was still undiscovered, or the music thing just hadn’t worked out. What would your backup plan be?
Terra: Great name—I would probably be living on my mom and dad’s couch. Or in my car.
The Utube Blog: Well, thank heavens for us you don’t need to go to your backup plan! The world is a better place for it. You are definitely the best thing YouTube has discovered so far. I think I’ll end on that note, thanks so much for sharing with us, Terra! Look forward to your next album.
Terra: Thank you!!!
The Utube Blog I really, really love “Close to Your Head.” On YouTube, you say that you were inspired to write the song by an encouraging comment you received from someone on YouTube. What was the comment?
Terra: He literally wrote “the stars are close to your head.” I don’t think English was his first language and it was such a beautiful sentiment. Before I knew it I had written the song “Close to Your Head.”
The Utube Blog: When you write a song, do you write the lyrics and music at the same time or together? Does one come before the other? You seem to be able to compose very quickly — “Say It’s Possible” in 5 minutes.
Terra: It depends—there is no one process when I write a song—sometimes everything comes together, like “Say It’s Possible,” and other times I write the melody and chords first, then the lyrics, and vice versa.
The Utube Blog: On April 9, 2006, you wrote on your blog that you wrote the most important song you have ever written? Which song was that? And do you still feel that way about it?
Terra: That song is “Something Good to Show You.” I wrote it after singing backup for Neil Young’s album “Living with War.” I do still believe that it is one of my most important songs. I won’t say “most important” because I think “Say It’s Possible” is also a big one for me. “Something Good to Show You” is a political song and I had not written a political song up to that point.
The Utube Blog: Besides the recording contract, what’s been the biggest change in your life since you’ve been discovered?
Terra: Well, all the recent changes in my life relate to that one big change. But before the recording contract I think it was the realization that my music could reach people around the world. And not only reach them, but inspire them. I always thought that was possible, but seeing it actually happen was such an incredible affirmation. I stopped caring whether I ever got signed, whether I got the approval from the industry, because I saw that the real people of the world were embracing me. I make my music for those people, not for the music industry.
[Tomorrow: Part 3 of The Utube Blog's interview with Terra Naomi]
The Utube Blog: Hi, Terra, thanks for taking some time to chat with us. OK, let’s get right to the song that made you famous, “Say It’s Possible.” When I watched your original YouTube video, it stopped me in my tracks. It’s what I call a showstopping performance. I’m sure that many others have felt the same way, given the over 1 million views the video generated and the many people from all parts of the world covering it. Why do you think this song resonates so much with people, or is it still a mystery?
Terra: First of all, thank you! I’m not really sure what it was about that video/song. I think part of it was the stark, honest performance—me in front of my video camera, no frills, no edits—I don’t think people are used to seeing that these days. The rest is sort of a mystery. I wrote it in about 5 minutes—everything just flowed out of me, the words, the melody, the chord pattern—and I think it came from an honest place inside of me that other people can relate to.
The Utube Blog: Five minutes?–that’s incredible. You have a real gift. Now, I’ve read that it was your manager’s idea for you to give a “virtual tour” on the Internet after you decided not to tour on the road. Who is your manager, and where did he or you get such a crazy idea? Be honest, did you actually think it would work?
Terra: My manager/producer is a supremely talented and lovely man named Paul Fox. He made records for XTC, 10,000 Maniacs, the Sugarcubes, the Wallflowers, Semisonic—and many more. I was sitting in his studio one day and I just couldn’t handle the thought of going out on the road again on my own…those solo tours were unbelievably grueling. So the two of us came up with the idea that I should film myself and post … I decided to name it “the Virtual Summer Tour.” We honestly thought that maybe 1,000 people would see them at the most.
The Utube Blog: What drew you to YouTube, anyways? You could have launched your virtual tour on MySpace music or your own website. Why YouTube?
Terra: YouTube was actually an afterthought. I had never used the site. I had an account set up because a friend had made a live performance video of “The Vicodin Song” at one of my hotel cafe shows and he suggested posting it on YouTube. So I did. But I had never used the site other than to post the video. MySpace had recently started its video hosting section so I posted my videos there. A few days later, as an afterthought, Paul said, “Why don’t you post them on YouTube, too?”
The Utube Blog: That was a pretty good afterthought. YouTube’s probably not an afterthought to anyone any longer. By the way, in the video in which you visit YouTube’s offices, one of YouTube’s reps appears to say, if I heard correctly, that your dad emailed YouTube pointing out your video for “Say It’s Possible.” Was it really your dad? If it was, will he get a cut of your future royalties?
Terra: Haha—no—it was not my dad. I didn’t go back to check on this, but she probably said “Chad” as in Chad Hurley. Apparently Chad stumbled upon my video soon after I posted it and then forwarded it to a few other people at his company, including the woman who was responsible for choosing the featured videos. According to this woman, she watched it 5 times and then put it on the front page.
The Utube Blog: No way, Chad Hurley…the cofounder of YouTube? Wow, that guy has many talents–not only running a company, but finding the next great musical talent. Chad Hurley deserves the many thanks of all your music fans. But I think after Google bought YouTube Chad probably won’t be needing a cut of your royalties. Regardless, your virtual tour on YouTube was a huge success, giving you exposure and leading to a major recording contract. But, now with your success, do you think you will continue your virtual tour on YouTube?
Terra: Well, I don’t call it a virtual tour anymore—that was really just a summer 2006 thing—but yes, I will definitely continue posting videos. I’ve been busy in the studio lately, but I plan to start posting videos again very soon.
[Tomorrow: Part 2 of The Utube Blog's interview with Terra Naomi]