Choi proves big YouTube hit
If life were fair, YouTube would get paid handsomely for helping to launch many music careers. The video-sharing site has been responsible for kick-starting the careers of, most notably, Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black.
Another artist, South Korean-American singer and songwriter David Choi, has also turned to YouTube as a platform to be heard.
'I don't really know how I got so popular,' says Choi, who, according to YouTube figures, is the website's 11th most subscribed musician of all time. His music video for That Girl has attracted 4.5 million views - and counting.
'I just kept making YouTube videos as people requested and kept writing music. And people support me, so I feel very lucky,'
Choi has released numerous videos of himself serenading YouTube viewers. Through YouTube, he has released two albums - Only You (2008) and By My Side (2010), and is currently touring Asia. Earlier this month he performed a mini-showcase at HMV Central where he signed autographs for his legion of fans.
Currently Choi is not signed to a label and doing most of his admin work himself. 'Luckily for this tour, I've got Monsoon Productions helping me out,' he says. 'They planned everything for me so it made this easier.'
YouTube has provided not only a gateway for Choi to share his music, but also to make friends with people from similar backgrounds.
Choi said it is a challenge for Asian-Americans to pursue success in the American music industry. 'As much as I hate to say it, it's tough,' Choi, 25, says. 'Especially being Asian; we're in a minority and there's some racism and different factors involved.'
Asian-American channels are some of the most subscribed on YouTube. Minority viewers, perhaps, find the niche channels better represent them. Not only that, many subscribers opt to listen to the soothing music on offer, regardless of the performer's race.
Fans appreciate Choi's confident manner and genuine personality, which comes across in his music. 'All my songs come from real-life experiences,' he says. 'It feels better to me that I'm just being honest and putting it out in song form.'
Despite difficulties that may come from pursuing his dream, Choi says he is grateful that YouTube has been such a great stepping stone for him, and other artists. 'The best part is meeting people who support you,' he says. 'You always see their comments and e-mails, and it's amazing.'
He may have got a leg-up from YouTube, but Choi is living proof that if he can make it, you, too, can fulfil your dreams.