Unsigned singer tops MTV poll as artists call tunes

Wed Feb 6, 2013 9:27am EST
 

By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (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 mobilized 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.

"That's been something I've been focusing on for three years. What the fans have done is to show how things are changing, and it is not just the record labels picking artists, but the actual public."

The ability of musicians to reach an audience long before stepping into a recording studio or on to the stage is changing the way artists and labels interact, giving singers greater say and reducing some of the risks for music companies.

Wannabe stars like Day still gravitate towards labels, believing they can only go so far on their own no matter how large their fan base.   Continued...