Singer and actor James Maslow first rose to fame under the shared spotlight of Big Time Rush. Maslow was one of the four boybanders and stars of the accompanying Nickelodeon show. However, after the show ended in 2013, Maslow and his bandmates were left to find success on their own.
Maslow found his niche in YouTube, following the success of several vlogs and music videos he’d produced independently between filming breaks. He forged a path that any aspiring musician can follow to transition from their day job to an Internet hit. Here are five ways that James Maslow used YouTube to transition from boybander to online star.
1. He invited fans into his daily life through vlogs.
James Maslow started creating vlogs to give Big Time Rush fans a behind-the-scenes look at the band’s tour. By creating this kind of content early on, Maslow built up an expectation in his viewers.
Try creating vlogs that center around what you do in your daily life. If you are a waiter, then vlog about funny things customers say. If you are an accountant, then vlog about using the math that seems “useless” in high school in real life. This kind of content will build an audience who are interested in who you are as a person.
2. He covered popular songs that his fans suggested.
Before releasing any original music, Maslow posted cover videos of popular songs. He chose songs that fans suggested in the comments, making sure to shout out to those whose suggestions he used. This introduced old and new fans alike to Maslow’s solo voice.
Start with cover suggestions from friends and family. If Mr. Smith from the PTA meetings really likes the way you sing “Blank Space,” then he will share it on his Facebook page. From there, the fellow members of Mr. Smith’s Taylor Swift fan club will watch the videos and share it onto their own profiles. This way, your audience will choose your videos for your voice first and then be excited to hear your original music later on.
3. He created videos to promote his outside projects.
Following the final season of “Big Time Rush,” Maslow joined the Season 18 cast of “Dancing With The Stars.” He promoted his participation in the reality dance competition with Q&A videos. Maslow and his dance partner Peta Murgatroyd answered weekly fan-submitted questions from their rehearsal studio.
By showcasing your outside projects on your music channel, you will draw in audiences from those different avenues. Upload an interview with the magazine editor you intern under or a recording of last week’s bull-riding competition. People who search for these videos can be led to your music through hyperlinks at the beginning or end of the video.
4. He collaborated with other popular YouTubers.
James Maslow collaborated on cover videos with popular YouTube artists such as Tiffany Alvord, Megan Nicole, and Cimorelli. He even released an original duet with Matty B. By collaborating with these other artists, Maslow created a symbiotic relationship in which each artist’s audience was drawn to his music, and his was drawn to theirs.
Collaborating with other artists will bring your audiences together as well. Reach out to YouTubers whose music you enjoy and can envision pairing well with yours. Cover collaborations will bring in the added bonus of audiences who search for that specific song.
5. He released original music to an established audience.
After building up an audience who enjoyed his covers and outside content, James Maslow released two original songs to tease an upcoming album. The fans who enjoyed the sound of Maslow’s voice already were excited to hear something unique. Now, he can count on those loyal fans to purchase his debut album.
Releasing your original music to an established audience will ensure an enthusiastic reception. By not releasing too much at once, you will leave them with something to look forward to when you release an album.
Like James Maslow, you can use YouTube to segue your career from a day job to full-time musician. Imitate these five ways that Maslow transitioned into a YouTube star to forge a path to stardom for yourself.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.