In case you’ve never heard of YouTube’s “Artist on the Rise,” it’s a relatively new feature that “showcases a new music video from three emerging music artists per week.” The criteria is quite simple: you need to post a new music video, and you need over 1,000 subscribers.
This week, the rising artist title went to Sylvan Esso, an indie pop duo from North Carolina. While the selection for the title may have been random, the duo has certainly earned the recognition.
Here’s how they did it.
1. They made a statement for a cause they care about.
One of the ways in which Sylvan Esso caught the attention of their soon-to-be fans was through their willingness to speak up about a serious disorder that over gets downplayed by the media. In late 2015, the duo shared the song “Jamie’s Song.” The song was written for an episode of WNYC’s Radiolab in which they discuss what it’s really like to live with bipolar disorder.
Their willingness to focus on the disorder received a great deal of praise from fans who appreciated that they were using their talents to speak out about a cause that is often overlooked. It helped build up a fan base on their YouTube channel.
Listen to “Jamie’s Song” here.
2. They used their video to express their own creativity.
The video is a bit like a movie. As a teen gets reprimanded by an overconfident cop, played by Slyvan Esso’s Nick Sanborn, for holding something suspicious, the lead singer of the duo Amelia Meath steals the cop’s car and takes a little joy ride. Between the filters, sassy facial expressions, and hip outfits, fans are calling “Die Young” the embodiment of the duo’s creativity and inner selves.
The positive feedback from fans has boosted the one-week-old video to nearly 280,000 views, thus catching YouTube’s attention for the title of “Artist on the Rise.”
Watch the whole video here.
3. They announced tour dates at the same time as their new video.
If you’re going to release something, why not release it all? In addition to sharing the video for “Die Young” with the world, Sylvan Esso shared the name and release date of their new album What Now, in addition to their tour schedule starting mid-March.
While it may often be best to leave fans waiting for more, dropping everything at the same time can also be the catalyst for lots of attention and more traffic to your YouTube channel.
Check out the announcement of their upcoming album here.
Sylvan Esso has managed to find new ways of expressing the band’s creative talent while remaining true to who they really are, whether that’s through their lyrics or their activism. Take a cue from the musical duo and create your own path in the music industry.
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Kelsey Leaman is a senior at American University in Washington D.C. studying Economics and International Studies. She is passionate about writing, Lemonade, and Michelle Obama.