Unsigned singer tops MTV poll as artists call tunes
* Unsigned singer Ebony Day tops major MTV poll
* Social media a powerful tool for emerging stars
* Record labels still seen as key to lasting success
By Mike Collett-White
LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Singer-songwriter Ebony Day has been named MTV's act to watch in 2013 before even signing a record deal, underlining how up-and-coming artists are increasingly using the internet and social networking sites to build a significant fan base.
Inspired by the viral success of Canadian teen sensation Justin Bieber, the 19-year-old Briton posted a series of online videos performing cover versions, and quickly amassed a sizeable following - 18 million views on her YouTube channel and 156,000 subscribers to date.
She mobilised that support to vote for her in MTV's annual Brand New poll, topped in the past by Conor Maynard and Bieber.
The 92,000 votes were enough to put her ahead of several signed nominees, including Gabrielle Aplin, who already has a number one British single to her name, and Haim, the LA sister act widely tipped for the top this year and beyond.
"I think it shows that to get a fan base before you make it is really important," Day said in a telephone interview. Continued...