Rebecca Shearing has performed at the Commonwealth Games, Alexandra Palace, London and Rockwood Music Hall, New York.
After almost a decade and 35 million hits, she shares the struggles of being a girl on YouTube.
What was it that drew you into the world of YouTube?
I was 15 when I started uploading to YouTube. I had seen a few other singers posting some homemade videos and thought it looked fun. There weren’t the professional music videos like people make now.
What obstacles have you had to overcome for your love of singing?
There’s still a great deal of ageism and sexism, both at an industry level, and on social media. It’s difficult to tune this out and prevent the prejudices of others from defining my personal and professional identity. I don’t believe that I’d get the constant questions about my age and marital status, nor the cynicism about my ability to write and perform original material if I was a man. I’ve only just switched off private messages on Facebook, and that’s primarily because of this stuff. Of course, that’s not just an obstacle that I have to overcome, it’s something that needs to be changed at a wider social and cultural level.
Something’s that’s worked for you in reaching a larger audience?
Being the same person online as I am in real life. When I started this, being a YouTuber wasn’t a profession. There weren’t the conventions that exist now: the big cheesy “heeeeelllo” at the start and all the ‘quirky’ face-pulling. I’ve never tried to be a big personality like that, and I think (I hope!) people respond well to that. At the same time, the professional YouTubers do seem to be reaching massive audiences, so maybe times have changed.
Your videos look great – what equipment do you use?
Thanks! My camera is a Canon 700D, I bought it second hand at a photography store in Edinburgh. I use a Blue Bluebird mic which I plug into an m-audio fast track. Then, I use Logic on my laptop.
What tips would you have for people who don’t have that equipment?
You can record with anything these days, I used an iPad for one of my videos at Christmas time. Even a phone with a decent camera can work! (filmed horizontally).
A few ingredients of a memorable vocal performance?
I really appreciate good technique combined with a vocal style that fits the tone of the music. The specific example I’m thinking of is Hannah from London Grammar, whose performance at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Glasgow 2014 made me pretty emotional!
Tell us about your favorite singers?
Emulating Christina Aguilera was one of the main ways I learned to sing. I had lessons too, but I remember being about ten years old and asking my mum why I couldn’t sing a high note that Aguilera could just belt out, and she’d say “because you’re ten.” I’m still working to nail some of her melismatic runs.
Rebecca Shearing is a singer and songwriter based in Edinburgh. Since uploading her first YouTube video at the age of 15, she has gained 35 million views and 700k Facebook likes. Having grown up with YouTube, Rebecca is now dedicating her time to new music in a new genre under a new name, with aspirations lying beyond being a YouTube personality. Her music will bring pop vocals over a darker, electronic sound.