The Grammys are a celebration of music.
The 62nd annual Grammy Awards occurred on 26 January, where we saw the likes of Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Lizzo and more being recognised for their musical talents. It was a pretty exciting night, filled with amazing musical performances, tributes and honours, but we have just one problem: it didn’t include any YouTubers. As you know, we’re pretty obsessed with YouTube and its creators, and we want to spotlight them whenever possible. Many of them are talented musicians who work diligently to share their songs with the world and we think it’s time they got the recognition they deserve.
That’s why we had an idea: what if YouTube held its own music awards show? We want to give you a sense of what it would look like, which is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to hold a little test run. Using existing Grammy categories, as well as ones we created ourselves, we’re giving out awards to some of our favourite YouTube musicians. The only question is whether or not you’ll agree with our choices or if they’ll cause outrage. (You know, like the Grammys do regularly.)
Best Pop Solo Performance
Unless you were living under a rock in 2018, odds are you’ve heard Emma Blackery‘s bop of a track, Dirt. This was lead single for her debut album, Villains, and it is a prime example of how Emma’s songwriting prowess has matured over the years.
We honestly don’t know what we love more about Dirt. Is it the insanely catchy pop beat that not only keeps the song stuck in your head, but has you dancing whenever it plays? Is it the “I don’t give a f**k” lyrics that show Emma’s ready to rise above the drama that circulated her life during her early YouTube days? Or is it the insanely bright and aesthetically-pleasing music video that accompanied its release? No matter the reason, this song is definitely one of the best releases of 2018 and remains one of our all-time favourites to this day!
Best Indie Performance
We dare you to name a more beautiful song that Amelle Rose‘s Rain. Don’t worry, we’ll wait… See, we didn’t think you’d be able to. This track is definitely one of the most impactful we’ve heard in a while and we can feel the emotion in Amelle’s voice as she sings its lyrics.
There have definitely been a few nights where we’ve found ourselves listening to this song with tears running down our face. That’s how much its lyrics hit us. We also love how it starts off soft before the full band enters to really pack a punch, creating not just a song, but an experience. We feel everyone needs that one track that makes them feel something and Rain is that for us. We haven’t found one that’s impacted us so much and we don’t think we ever will.
Best Up-and-Coming Artist
We love to shout out up-and-coming YouTubers whenever we get the chance, so, of course, we’d want to share Celeste Madden‘s music with you all. With just her ukulele, she’s managed to not only cover, but also write some pretty stellar songs, and we think it’s about time she came on your radar.
We could honestly go on for hours as to why we’ve fallen in love with Celeste and her channel, but we think we’ll let her music do the talking. Whether you’re a fan of acoustic music, personal lyrics or simply want to listen to something that’s relatable, you’ll find everything you’re looking for and more with her. We wouldn’t be surprised if her channel and music blow up over the next few years!
Best Electronic Release
If you’ve been at a YouTube event, odds are you’ve seen Leslie Wai showcasing his impressive DJ skills, but did you know he’s also released his own music? Yep, our favourite EDM-loving guy is also your new favourite electronic artist with his EP, Lift Me Up.
We don’t know about you, but we definitely think this release needs to be played at EDM festivals around the world. While nowadays a lot of the artists in the genre are stepping away from its early roots, Leslie is a reminder of what classic EDM music can bring to the table. With him, there’s no need to make it more mainstream by leaning toward a more pop-style with guest vocals. It’s pure electronica at its finest, and it’s definitely music you’ll want to play at your next party!
Best Music Video
This tracks an oldie, but a goodie. We all know Sarah Close is one of the most talented pop artists on YouTube, but have you ever stopped to appreciate how much effort goes into her music videos? A prime example of this is the video for her 2017 single, Call Me Out.
Filmed in virtually one take, this music video is pretty simplistic, but that’s why we love it so much. Despite the camera simply following Sarah around the house, we can see how much effort actually went into making this video a reality – who knows how many takes it took to get each sequence just right! As well, we feel the simplistic vibe the video radiates perfectly fits the song, which gives us a pretty chill vibe for a pop release. If there’s a song you can listen to at any time of the day, it’s definitely this one!
Best Spoken Word Performance
In our opinion, there was only one contender for this award and that’s Suli Breaks. We consider Suli the King of Spoken Word on YouTube, and while there are many videos on his channel that will show you as to why, we feel SENSITIVE is one that really gets our point across.
Never one to mince words, Suli offers us the the brutal and honest truth in this spoken word piece. It seems nowadays that everyone is getting offended by something. Sometimes, it’s warranted, but other times it gets a bit out of hand. Like Suli, we respect everyone’s opinions, but as he shares in this video, you have to know that not everyone is going to have the same as you. Sure, you’re allowed to disagree – in fact, it’s encouraged, as it allows for an open dialogue and continued learning – but we need to stop jumping on bandwagons and really think about what we ourselves believe in. Are our opinions our own or do they belong to those we follow online?
Best Debut Single
We know dodie has been sharing her music on YouTube for years, but we consider this her first official breakout single. Blending her brilliant lyric style with instrumentals that are both soft and impactful, it’s definitely a song that everyone needs to listen to when first being introduced to her music.
The release of Sick of Losing Soulmates was the day we knew dodie, our little YouTube secret, would one day become one of the biggest indie artists in the UK. While we were sad we could no longer claim her as our own, we were overjoyed to see what this song and its accompanying EP did for her career. Appearances on TV, the production of numerous music videos, radio interviews – all over the country, the public were being introduced to our little ray of sunshine and we couldn’t be prouder. Her career’s only blossomed for there, and we can’t wait to see where her music takes her!
Favourite Release of 2019
You know we couldn’t write a list about our favourite YouTube music without including Yasmin Curren‘s new EP, Sweater. The four-track release was pretty much the soundtrack to our 2019, so we had to share it with you all. We wouldn’t want you missing out on some fantastic music now, would we?
The EP’s title track is by far our favourite from the release. We love how Yasmin blends her acoustic ukulele sound with some pop/electronic effects to really give the song some depth and layers. It really allows it to stand out from the crowd, and this diversity is something we see throughout the EP. We know acoustic music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we guarantee you’ll love Sweater just for the sheer fact it’s different than the rest of the acoustic-driven releases out there, both musically and lyrically.
Best Educational Release
We here at TenEighty love a good educational song – the more educational, the better. That’s why we’re still obsessed with Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs‘ 2014 single, Consent. Yes, you read right, Jack and Dean wrote and recorded a song, something we never thought they’d do!
Consent was released around the time the UK community was filled with reports of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of some creators, and it’s a song we feel everyone needs to listen to. Its message is clear as day: before doing anything with another person, you need to make sure you have their explicit consent. You might think this is obvious, but past reports have shown that some people don’t take no as an answer, so it’s best to remind those in your life whenever you feel it necessary.
Also, can we talk about Daniel Dobbs‘ amazing guitar solo? It really makes this track one to remember!
It’s not uncommon for artists to make comebacks after taking a break from music, but we’ll argue none have done it as well as Bethan Leadley. In 2017, she returned to the music scene under a new moniker, Leadley, and released the killer single, All of You. Don’t lie, you definitely had it on repeat after its release.
After rebranding herself and her music, we saw a new fierceness and confidence in Bethan that we hadn’t seen before. It was as if she’d finally discovered who she wanted to be as an artist and was jumping in with all she had. All of You not only has sultry pop beats and a catchy hook, but it’s a love song every listener can relate to. That’s the combination needed for a hit single, which this definitely is!
Best New Artist
We’ve been following Eman Kellam‘s YouTube career for a while now, so we thought we knew what to expect. However, we were not expecting him to drop this banger of a track. We mean, we know he has a huge interest in music, we just never thought he’d release some himself! It’s a pleasant surprise.
While we don’t know if Eman will continue to share his music with viewers, we felt it a shame to not include him on our list. While he may not be new to YouTube, he’s new to releasing his music on the platform, which is why we’re considering him a new artist. This track is the literal definition of fire, and we’re wowed by its lyrics. We’ve always known Eman to have a way with words and 100 MISSED CALLS is proof of that. Here’s hoping we get to hear more songs in the future!
Best Acoustic Performance
Who else has been totally obsessed with Maisie Peters‘ music career? This girl has been here, there and everywhere since she began officially releasing her music and we’ve been soaking in every track. If you were to ask which YouTube musician is played the most in the TenEighty office, the answer from everyone would be Maisie.
Now, we had a lot of songs to choose from, but one of our all-time favourite tracks by her is Favourite Ex. We find some lyrics come across best when they aren’t overpowered by instrumentals, so the acoustic vibe of this song is perfect. Not only do Maisie’s vocals sound absolutely stunning, but you can really tell how far along her songwriting has come. Our little star is growing up, and we know she’s going to stun the world with her music.
It’s music to our ears!
We don’t know about you, but we seriously think YouTube should hold its own music awards show. As we’ve shown, the website is overflowing with talent that needs to be recognised! Whether you’re a fan of pop music, EDM, indie or anything in-between, there’s plenty of music to fill your Spotify playlist. Just make sure you tell your friends because these creators deserve more attention.
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