Sceptics may say social media and YouTube have a negative impact on younger people but Johnny Orlando begs to differ. The 16-year-old from Mississauga, Canada has organically built a huge fanbase through his social media presence that started before he was even in double figures. Now he has over 3.8 million YouTube subscribers, 5.9 million Instagram followers and 700,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, as well as nominations from The Kids’ Choice Awards and The Juno Awards.
His parents let him upload his first cover on YouTube at just 8 years old, thinking no one but family and friends would see it. They never expected the Justin Bieber ‘Mistletoe’ cover would lead to a prospering music career that has him touring the world. Even at that young age he was uploading original songs such as ‘Summertime’ (2012) and ‘Never Give Up’ (2013) under the guise of johnnyosings and performing live and touring soon became the norm.
In 2015 he independently released his first collection of originals titled VXIIXI, with his family helping behind the scenes. At this point, his parents were his managers while his older sister Darian (who also appeared in many of his covers) helped run his social media accounts. The EP shows pop inspiration from the likes of Bieber, Shawn Mendes and Selena Gomez, and proves his immense vocal talent.
In May 2018, he signed to Universal Music Canada after they saw the uproar he was making online. In the words Universal’s President and CEO Jeffrey Remedios, Orlando is “shaping global culture and inspiring millions with his incredible musical talent”. Soon after, they released his mellow RnB track ‘What If’ featuring Mackenzie Ziegler of Dance Moms which now has 27 million views on YouTube and 20 million plays on Spotify.
A handful of successful singles later, he released his next EP Teenage Fever on 15th March this year. The six-track release portrayed his growth and confidence as an artist as this time he worked more independently as a songwriter. This album takes on a more electronic sound with subtle hip-hop elements, showing definite progression from VXIIXI four years prior.
Fans attending his upcoming tour will be the first to hear these new tracks live so don’t miss out on his appearance at London O2 Islington Academy next week!introducing / johnny orlando