10 celebrities who used social media to launch their careers

Gotham/Getty ImagesJustin Bieber was discovered on his YouTube channel.
  • Before there was social media, lots of actors and artists moved to Hollywood to get their big break.
  • Today, social media has completely changed the game and has allowed “regular” people to gain fame essentially from the comfort of their bedroom.
  • From Halsey to Justin Bieber to Kate Upton, each has used social media in their favour to get to where they are today.
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Social media has the ability to change our lives. It allows us to easily connect with friends and family as well as share our lives on a global scale. And for some, it has opened the door for fame.

With YouTube stars like Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes getting their big breaks online, more and more celebrities are using social media as a platform to share their talent and get discovered. Here’s a list of 10 stars who got their start on social media.

Halsey’s life changed dramatically in just one night after she posted her song “Ghost” to SoundCloud.

Christopher Polk/GettyHalsey released ‘Ghost’ on Soundcloud in 2014.

After making a music industry connection at a Holiday Inn party, Halsey was able to get access to a studio to record her first song – “Ghost.” She posted it to her SoundCloud account once it was finished. Within an hour, she said she logged onto her Twitter account only to discover her account was blowing up. The next morning she had multiple record labels begging to sign her, according to Rolling Stone.

Since then, Halsey’s music career has also blown up. She has earned her way onto the Billboard Hot 100 and the US Billboard 200 multiple times. In 2018, she reached the number-one spot with her single “Without Me.”

She’s set to release her third studio album titled “Manic” in January 2020. The artist gave fans a sneak peak of her new album by releasing its first single “Clementine” on her birthday in September.

Shawn Mendes made six-second cover videos that earned him a huge following on Vine.

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for iHeartMediaMendes had 300,000 followers on Vine.

Shawn Mendes started making six-second videos on Vine of cover songs. Although six seconds is not a long time to show off your chops, Mendes figured out how to make it work for him, and his number of followers soon skyrocketed.

By the time he had 300,000 followers, multiple record labels were reaching out to the then 15-year-old including Island Records, Atlantic Records, Sony Records, and Warner Bros, according to Billboard.Mendes has gone on to release three studio albums and performed at the Grammy Awards this year. He also performed at this year’s VMAs with his current girlfriend Camila Cabello.

Justin Bieber is possibly YouTube’s greatest success story.

Jason Merrit/ Getty ImagesBieber famously got his start on YouTube.

Perhaps one of YouTube’s most well-known success stories is that of Justin Bieber.He began uploading videos of himself covering artists such as Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown in 2007. Thanks to a celebrity-boost from Usher and manager Scooter Braun, he was signed to Island Def Jam Music Group.

Bieber currently rounds out the top five for most subscribers on YouTube. Beyond his YouTube success however, he has sold an estimated 140 million albums worldwide. He married Hailey Baldwin at a New York City courthouse in September 2018 and then had an official wedding this past September in South Carolina.

Comedian Bo Burnham’s video went viral when he was only 16, which quickly drew Hollywood attention.

Lauren Chelsea/Getty ImagesBurnham uploaded his first video at 16.

Bo Burnham was 16-years-old when he first uploaded a video of himself on YouTube, singing a song. It went viral and the rest you could say is history. Beyond comedy, he has also begun dabbling in directing. He recently won the Directors’ Guild of America award for his coming-of-age comedy, “Eighth Grade.”

Kate Upton’s YouTube video of her doing the Dougie launched her modelling career.

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sports IllustratedUpton was signed to a modelling deal when she was 16.

Similar to Bo Burnham’s success story, supermodel Kate Upton garnered attention thanks to a viral YouTube video of her dancing at a Los Angeles Clippers basketball game. She received over 3 million views on YouTube and over 150,000 new Twitter followers.

After posting another dance video to YouTube, she racked up more views and started to create a buzz for herself. She soon was signed to Elite agency, according to Mirror UK.

Alessia Cara’s singing career on YouTube led to her Grammy win.

Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesCara first posted on YouTube.

Grammy-winning artist Alessia Cara first started covering songs by vocalists such as Amy Winehouse and Jessie J on Facebook, but soon transitioned into making YouTube videos. Cara was discovered at age 16 through her YouTube channel and was eventually signed by Def Jam.

Her hit and debut single “Here” has sold over 3 million copies, and made it into the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Charlie Puth’s version of “Someone Like You” helped him land his first record deal with Ellen Degeneres’ record label.

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for 103.5 KTUPuth was signed in 2011.

After earning some well-deserved attention for his YouTube cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You,” Charlie Puth was signed to Ellen DeGeneres’ record label in 2011. But his bigger break came when his publisher connected him with DJ Frank E, who producers for artists like Flo Rida and Madonna. The two quickly worked together to write a tribute song for the late Paul Walker, which became the huge hit single “See You Again.”

Puth is now signed with Atlantic Records.

The Weeknd gained attention for his mysterious YouTube video releases and unique sound.

Theo Wargo/Getty ImagesThe Weeknd had a YouTube channel under the name ‘xoxxxoooxo.’

After mysteriously releasing three songs to YouTube under the username “xoxxxoooxo,” Abel Tesfaye, now known as the Weeknd, quickly drew interest. His smooth voice along with the mystery surrounding his YouTube channel caught the attention of Drake among many others, and the rest is history.

The Weeknd has had an on-again-off-again relationship with supermodel Bella Hadid, and was recently spotted leaving her New York City birthday party in early October.

Tori Kelly was discovered on YouTube by Justin Bieber’s producer.

Christopher Polk/Getty ImagesKelly released music on MySpace and YouTube.

Struggling to launch her music career for more than 10 years, Kelly took to social media with covers and original songs on MySpace and YouTube. She even auditioned for the ninth season of “American Idol” but didn’t make the top 24 round. Her big break came in 2013 when Scooter Braun discovered her singing on YouTube and attended one of her shows.

The Grammy-nominated artist has gone on to release three studio albums and will soon be touring in support of her newest album “Inspired by True Events.”

Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney owe much of their SNL careers to their YouTube channel “Good Neighbour.”

Barry King/WireImageBennett and Mooney started on YouTube.

Now a part of the current Saturday Night Live cast, Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney used their channel, “Good Neighbour” as a platform to share their comedy sketches. Amassing millions of YouTube views, the members were signed to a contract with Maker Studios in 2011.

Although they received the green light for a pilot on Comedy Central in 2013 called, “The Good Neighbour Show,” the series wasn’t picked up. Beck and Mooney along with “Good Neighbour” director Dave McCary went on to join “Saturday Night Live” the same year.

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