Alex Thao is a worship director for the First Hmong Baptist Church, won ‘Rising Star’ at Hmong Music Festival and self-produced his E.P, Once in a Lifetime.
He shares his experiences as a successful YouTube singer and not so successful live performances!
Being a successful singing vlogger
Pros and cons of posting your music on YouTube?
The pros of posting videos onto YouTube means that I can present my music in any way that I choose to. The only restriction is my imagination. The cons of doing this is that you never know which song/video will connect with your audience.
What equipment do you use?
For my video, I use an iPhone 7 Plus and tripod. If I’m lucky to have a second person willing to help me make a video, I also use the DJI Osmo Mobile in conjunction with my phone. For video editing, I use Final Cut Pro X.
Is a smart phone enough?
Honestly, most smart phones have very decent cameras on them. If you can get something that has at least 1080p (which is standard on almost all devices and cameras), you’re set for making videos on YouTube.
What sort of videos do you like making the most?
I like making full blown music videos with different backgrounds etc., however I am 99% a one-man team. Very rarely, my girlfriend will be in town and I have her be my camera girl. The most successful video I have though is just me sitting in my room. Ha!
Best way to connect with your fans?
I find that in this day and age, I best connect to my fans through social media and replying to their comments on my YouTube videos.
Biggest lesson learned about social media?
Don’t take anything personal. Sometimes people will just say mean or rude things. You have to have tough skin for some of these keyboard warriors.
Live performance lessons
A performance fail?
I was recently in Oregon for a show and decided I was going to try live looping for the first time. After successfully recording the main vocal part, I failed miserably at recording the harmonies. For some reason, the harmonies weren’t sticking. After my 3rd try, I was able to get it to work.
Thankfully the crowd was super forgiving. It just shows that even with a lot of practice, something can and will go wrong.
What lesson have you taken away from collaborating with others?
From collaborating with other artists, I’ve learned that everyone works on a different wavelength. If you can find someone that has a similar workflow, that’s great. Otherwise, you have to learn how to be patient and understanding for a successful collaboration.
Strangest gig ever?
The strangest gig I’ve probably ever done was for an old couple’s party. By the time I got on to the stage, everybody was already drunk and so I felt very awkward singing. It was as if I could have done anything and still sounded amazing.
Vocal health tip?
Drinking tea usually helps relax my throat, and warming up before belting out is key.
Favorite vocal gear?
Hands down, my favorite vocal gear that I own is the VoiceLive 3 Extreme. That thing is a beast!
If you could go back in time what would you say to yourself?
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would have been to never stop making music. I think my career took a step back because I got complacent. I should have kept riding the gravy train while it was still hot!
Alex Thao started singing and playing the guitar when he was 15. His music career started off on YouTube 7 years ago. Through his life experiences he writes songs that help reflect emotions that he goes through to hopefully connect with others who feel the same. Alex uses his talents to worship the Lord in every way he can in hopes of sharing the good news and be a beacon of light to those around him.