YOU’VE probably noticed the trend. Up-and-coming musician (generally at the younger and poppy-er end of the scale) performs cover song on YouTube. Viewers stumble upon it while looking for the original. Video goes viral. Aforementioned young and poppy musician gets an album contract.
Well, maybe not every time. But it’s happened for Justin Bieber and a whole host of others.
Self-professed lovers of quality music may pay no heed to this fad. But not all YouTube covers out there are of someone who looks and sounds like a younger version of Ke$ha doing an impersonation of Ke$ha. Many musicians perform covers in a style that is the polar opposite of the original – creating an unexpected but musically sophisticated twist on an old favourite. Many are incredibly talented musicians who deserve the spotlight YouTube provides them. And heck, some are just hilarious.
Here’s Meld’s top ten YouTube covers that might just rival the originals.
1. Karmin – Look at me Now (originally performed by Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes)
With over 43 million views of this video, it’s highly likely you’ve already discovered husband-and-wife duo Karmin. If not, don’t let the rockabilly hairdo fool you – this girl can rap.
2. Daniel Mustard – Creep (originally performed by Radiohead)
Here’s a feel-good story for you: a homeless man was invited onto a US radio show to talk about an upcoming event the station was running for New York’s disadvantaged. He mentioned in passing that he was a musician, prompting a spontaneous performance. His cover of Creep went viral on YouTube and he was eventually offered a recording contract. With his deep, gravelly voice, Daniel Mustard’s music is a raw and powerful expression of hardship.
3. Timothy DeLaGhetto featuring Victor Kim – Billionaire (originally performed by Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars)
Four words. Ukuleles. Make. Everything. Better. How else do you explain the success of Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours?
4. Last Kinection – Rhythm is a Dancer (originally performed by Snap!)
Okay, so this one isn’t strictly a YouTube cover. But it’s on YouTube, so we think it counts. Australian band Last Kinection performed this very different version of ’90s dance hit Rhythm is a Dancer for the Triple J segment Like A Version.
5. Jayesslee – Price Tag (originally performed by Jessie J)
There’s nothing better than a good acoustic cover, and Korean-Australian twins Janice and Sonia Lee do a pretty soulful version of this Jessie J hit. The duo have gained quite a YouTube following and have played shows in Asia and North America.
6. Pomplamoose – Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) (originally performed by Beyonce)
It’s quite clear, from the adorably baffled look on this singer’s face, that a Beyonce rendition isn’t quite in her comfort zone. Even more so when she gets to the bridge and sings don’t make me sing this part of the song / the lyrics are so bad / so we’re going to skip ahead / to the single ladies part instead.
7. Vektor – Double Rainbow
What’s more bizarre than a man posting his seemingly orgasmic experience with a double rainbow on YouTube? Why, a band making a musical version of the video and posting it on YouTube! US band Vektor’s front woman is, in fact, incredibly talented, and they do a catchy cover of the Bed Intruder Song too.
8. All About Maggie – The Way You Make Me Feel (originally performed by Michael Jackson)
Another acoustic cover worthy of a mention. All About Maggie, aka Maggie Szabo, is a 21-year-old musician from Canada with her own YouTube channel. Which way does this cover make you feel?
9. MattyBRaps featuring Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby (originally performed by Vanilla Ice)
Eight-year-old rapper MattyBRaps (not to be confused with Australian MC Matty B, who has quite a few years on this little guy) has joined Sophia Grace Brownlee and Maria Aragon in the league of children on YouTube who would be cute if their performances weren’t slightly creepy and contrived.
10. Lil Crazed featuring Jason Chen, MarctheSharc27 and Summer Breeze – Hey Soul Sister (originally performed by Train)
There’s nothing worse than a cover that adds nothing new to the original. So with a hip-hop twist and the help of three other YouTube sensations, Lil Crazed’s cover of Hey Soul Sister completes our list of covers to rival the originals.