How Cover Videos Made Me an International Performer

OrtoPilot filming for YouTube
Thanks to his 30 million views on YouTube, ortoPilot has been invited to incredible gigs.

He’s performed at a YouTube’s Scandinavian launch party, Google’s Soho Building opening, Cannes’ Advertising Festival, and HBO’s Hong Kong party.

Now ortoPilot shares how he has learned and thrived living the high life of a YouTube superstar.

How has YouTube helped your career?
The platform has enabled me to be a full time musician / producer through music sales, streaming and live performances.From the Far East to touring Scandinavia, I’m lucky enough to get invited to some beautiful places to play and sing

Has this platform boosted your gigging potential?
I’ve played hundreds of private gigs all over the world. From the Far East to touring Scandinavia, I’m lucky enough to get invited to some beautiful places to play and sing. I’ve just recruited some new band members and we are working on a new original set. We’re all really excited to get the show on the road this year. The latest videos I recorded were aimed at bringing some of our live performances to people around the world.

What’s a highlight about travelling to glamorous destinations?
I’ve met a few celebrities in my travels, and every one of them has made me star-struck, especially when I’ve already covered one of their songs. That happened with both Jared Leto and Ed Sheeran.

How does a video go viral?
If you have a unique, genuine or unexpected video, you have the potential for a lot of views. It’s just a matter of time before the internet picks up on it. Viral videos can go unseen for a while, which sometimes adds to the ‘viralability’ factor.

Putting my own spin on popular songs has helped me build a strong following online

Why do you think you have become such a YouTube success?
Putting my own spin on popular songs has helped me build a strong following online. I’ve tried to stick to playing songs I genuinely like rather than covering the latest chart hit. I try to keep a level of integrity whilst not taking myself too seriously.

YouTube collaborations are on the rise – tell us about your experiences.
I’ve produced and collaborated with quite a few YouTube artists: Ebony Day, Kate McGill, Natalie Holmes, and Michael Collings. It’s inspiring to bounce ideas around with talented people. Everyone has their own certain something that they’re amazing at – it’s often quite humbling. As time is normally a factor, the pressure is on to make the most of it.

What is the best trait of a YouTube singer?
I know it’s easier said than done when the red light is on, but I like watching and listening to genuine artists who are relaxed and just being themselves.

Give us a quick lighting tip for creating videos?
I’ve tried loads of different lighting setups, but the most natural looking ones (for a small room) seem to be a few standard desk lamps strategically placed around the room.

What would you say to a singer who is intimidated by technology?
Nowadays, there are so many bedroom producers (I’m proud to say I’m one of them!). Ask around. I think you’ll be surprised how many people have a computer and a microphone. I’m sure at least one of those will record you for free just to get the experience. You could even ask producers on websites like Reddit to mix down your master files.

TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3

TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 – Genius piece of kit. I’ll never gig without it (Source: ortoPilot, Facebook)

Favorite vocal gear?
TC Helicon Voicelive 3. After spending 2 years with this pedal, I still get blown away every time I use it. I had the Voicelive 2 before that. Genius piece of kit. I’ll never gig without it now.

A performance FAIL?
I was playing a fairly hyped up headline gig in a local town and it was sold out. 15 minutes in to the gig, a guitar string snaps. I fix it quickly and 10 minutes later another strings fails on me. I borrow the support artists’ guitar and 5 minutes later I lost my voice. Nothing was going right.

Did things get better?!
After losing my voice, I had a small break and a big cup of tea, and everything started working again. I came back to have one of the best gigs ever. Don’t drink beer and sing! Lesson learned!

Have you ever had singing lessons?
When I lost my voice at ‘that’ gig, I went to an ENT specialist. They confirmed that physically I was fine, but maybe I had picked up some bad habits along the self-taught route. They recommended I see a singing teacher and I’m glad I did! The amount of power you can get without putting any strain on the vocals cords is crazy. It’s almost like discovering you can play a new instrument.

A little bit of exercise each day, helps keep the vocal specialists away

Has this changed your attitude towards voice care?
Since my vocal lessons, I’ve been looking at my vocal cords as a footballer would his legs. They need to be kept in tip top condition, even when he’s walking around on his days off. A little bit of exercise each day, helps keep the vocal specialists away.

What’s your pre-gig ritual?
Manuka honey (high strength) is a singer’s best friend. A warm drink of water, Manuka honey, lemon juice, little bit of ginger. Lovely jubbly.


OrtoPilot in his studio

As well as penning his own songs, Matt, aka ortoPilot, also broadcasts his acoustic adaptations of chart hits to his 100,000+ youtube subscribers, amassing over 30 million views to date. This addictive pastime has earned him a very loyal international audience. ortoPilot is one of the most subscribed to independent music artists on YouTube; an honest reflection of both his talent and adoration of music.

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