October 7, 2006

The Next YouTube Sensation (completely off-topic, I know)

Filed under: Think on These Things — Katryna Starks @ 3:08 am

Hey All,

Since you’re on the internet, you may have gotten wind of the YouTube Lonelygirl15 incident in which a group of professional filmmakers hired an actress to play a character, but presented her as if she were a real home-schooled 15 year old from a strange family.  It wasn’t the biggest scandal on the planet, but some people were disappointed because they regard YouTube as a place where amateurs and regular folks can shine in their own stories.

Well, folks, don’t be dismayed.  YouTube has another teen sensation, and this one is real. Her videos are exremely amateurish and grainy – no production values whatsoever.  In this case, that’s a good thing, because it authenticates her voice – which is the real reason to tune in.  Esmee Denters, an 18 year old songstress in the Netherlands, is a force to be reckoned with.

Denters exemplifies, to me, the beauty of the internet in general and YouTube in particular.  To my knowledge, she’s a non-professional – or at least unknown in the U.S. – singer who has uploaded homemade videos of herself tackling such varied tracks as Torn by Natalie Imbruglia, We Belong Together by Mariah Carey, Sexy Love by Neo (which is originally sung by a male, but you would never know it from her performance), and one of my all-time-favorite songs, Diary by Alicia Keys.  She sings Alicia Keys.  Alicia.Keys.  And I’m not annoyed.  Just to let you know how significant that is, whenever I hear someone try to sing one of my favorite songs, it just makes me want to turn off the imitation and listen to the original.  With Esmee, I don’t cringe.  She just sounds like another great singer performing her own version of the song.  She also showcases a beautiful song that she wrote herself, so she’s not just a cover artist, either.

And apparently I’m not the only one with that opinion.  She has only been on YouTube for about a month now and her 26 videos/songs have all gained at least 4 stars.  Many have 4 1/2.  She has over 1100 subscribers and her most popular video (the Neo song) has been viewed over 18,000 times.  At the request of her viewers, she recently obtained a myspace page. 

So why am I breaking topic to write about her?  I love music and artists and I’m so happy when I hear about someone with true, raw, unmanufactured talent.  I love the idea of being able to watch someone go from virtual unknown to full-fledged recording artist (which I’m sure she will).  Kind of like a real-life Cinderella story.  I love the independence that the internet brings, where music is no longer a commodity manufactured by of a bunch of studios, but the heartfelt expressions of individuals creating art and doing their own thing and sharing it with the world on their own terms.  I think people like Esmee need to be showcased because the studios need to understand that what makes artists marketable is talent.  Not packaging.  Not gyrating.  Not nakedness.  Talent.

But enough of my rantings.  Go check her out yourself.

YouTube Videos

MySpace Page