Upon hearing that I frequent YouTube to the extent that I do, and that I subscribe to a handful (or two) of YouTubers, I’m always asked out of all of them, which is or are my favorites. If you want to know more about my YouTube obsession and how it all came to be, you can read more about it here. To be fair, all of the content creators that I subscribe to are different and talented in their own ways, so it’s difficult to name a few, let alone just one, of my favorites. It also doesn’t help that I tend to discover more and more talent on YouTube almost on a daily basis. I often find myself sitting in front of my computer watching Youtube videos for hours, when my initial intention was to watch one or two videos (sound familiar to anyone?). But after much deliberation, I have managed to narrow it down to 5 that stick out to me, and whose videos I can watch for hours on end (I’ve embedded the links to their respective channels in the images below. You’re welcome).
1. Mikey Bolts
Like I had said in an earlier blogpost, Mikey is definitely at the top of my list of favorite YouTubers. I will admit, though, that one of the main reasons why he’s up there is that he’s from the same city as I, and went to a high school that was within the same school district as mine. Mikey is known mostly for his Family Guy impressions, especially those that he incorporates into covers of popular songs. Since his great spike in popularity that came to be with his cover of “Timber,” all done in the style of Family Guy character voices, he has added other impressions to his repertoire, including characters from Spongebob, South Park, and the Simpsons, and even took it a step further and impersonated every U.S. President in a recent video. He has since worked on other projects, one being a web campaign for Target, in which he helped redesign a college student’s off-campus studio apartment. More recently, he has taken part in two other miniseries on YouTube, one entitled “Inappropriate Parents,” which can be found on The Fine Bros’ YouTube channel, the other called “ANXT,” where he helps viewers overcome their greatest fears. Mikey reached 1 million subscribers last summer, and is fast approaching 2 million. As an Elk Grove native myself, it’s great seeing a fellow Elk Grovian accomplish big things.
2. Grace Helbig
Grace Helbig is the queen of daily vlogging. She began her YouTube journey in late 2007 while house sitting, and decided to vlog daily during the entire house sitting experience. A few months later, she and her college roommate created their own channel together, entitled “The Grace N Michelle Show.” Soon, she caught the attention of the CEO of My Damn Channel, who signed her on to create daily vlogs for the channel. Grace made content for My Damn Channel for a total of five years, before deciding to end her contract with them in order to create content for her own channel, It’s Grace, which was relaunched in January 2014. As of today, Grace has well over 2 million subscribers and has gained tens of millions of views on her channel. Since her huge success, she has spawned several other successful projects, including a travel-themed mini web-series with Mamrie Hart called “Hey USA,” and a New York Times best-selling book, Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be A Grown Up. She also has a weekly podcast on iTunes, “Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig,” in which she exchanges witty banter with fellow YouTubers. It was recently announced that Grace will be hosting a new talk show on the E! Network, with the concept of interviewing her guests in unconventional settings. In short, Grace is a charmingly awkward human being (equally charmingly awkward in person as she is online) who is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
3. Tyler Oakley
Garnering almost 6.5 million subscribers, Tyler Oakley is one of the most well-known personalities on YouTube. His vibrant and infectiously positive personality is what has been drawing in viewers by the millions since his channel’s inception in 2007. In addition to his twice-weekly uploads onto YouTube, Tyler, along with best friend and former Resident Advisor Korey Kuhl, is host of a weekly podcast entitled “Psycho Babble” in which the two tell various stories and evaluate pop culture scrutiny. But what sets Tyler apart from a lot of the other talent on YouTube is his untouchable passion for inclusiveness of people from varying communities, namely the LGBTQ community. Tyler Oakley has been a huge supporter of The Trevor Project, an organization for the prevention of suicide within LGBTQ youth, since he interned for the company in 2009 as an undergrad. Since then, he has actively participated in their events, including hosting the annual Trevor Project Live event, as well as raising over half a million dollars for the organization for his 25th birthday in 2014. More recently, Oakley began a campaign on YouTube to close caption all of his videos in as many languages as possible in order to make his videos accessible to the deaf community in the United States, as well as other countries, and has since urged his fellow YouTubers to do the same. Tyler Oakley’s energetic spirit and his passion for equality and exclusivity are enough to brighten even the grumpiest of people.
4. Colleen Ballinger
Many know her as her internet alter ego, Miranda Sings, but behind the facade is a true artist. It’s one thing to come up with such an outlandish character, but to successfully portray the character that is so different from your own personality in an incredibly convincing manner is another. The character of Miranda was initially created as a satire to those who have inflated egos despite their lack of talent that they display outright onto the internet. Eventually, her videos as Miranda garnered millions of fans, and even spawned several sold-out shows around the world. When Colleen isn’t smearing red lipstick on her face and donning unflattering red sweatpants as Miranda, she is uploading videos onto her personal YouTube channel, revealing her true quirky, down-to-earth disposition. Unlike her extremely irritable and egocentric character though, Colleen is one of the most charming, lovable, and humble human beings to grace the internet. Being an incredibly talented vocalist herself, she instead posts comedy sketches and vlogs biweekly. More recently, Colleen has made various television appearances both as herself and Miranda. She appeared as Miranda in an episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld, and appeared again as Miranda with Seinfeld on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. More recently, stepping away from the Miranda character, Colleen appeared as a guest host on The View. As of right now, Colleen collectively has over 5 million subscribers as Miranda and on her own channel, and continues to gain millions of views on her videos from both channels.
5. Kurt Schneider
There are many musicians on YouTube who avidly upload their covers of popular songs, but one musician in particular that sticks out from the rest is Kurt Schneider. At the start of his YouTube career, Kurt uploaded simple covers that he recorded with his college friends, including Sam Tsui. Eventually, these simple covers turned into intricate song productions paired with equally elaborate concept music videos. He, along with close friend and fellow YouTube musician Sam Tsui, rose in popularity with their rendition of Nelly’s “Just A Dream,” a cover they recorded and shot an accompanying music video with Christina Grimmie back in 2010. Since then, Kurt has showcased his talent as music producer in other various song renditions, some original and some covers, working with other YouTube musicians including Kina Grannis, Alex Goot, and Tyler Ward, and even with mainstream personalities Alyson Stoner and Victoria Justice. With each music video he uploads, he raises the bar further, coming up with concepts that not very many other content creators dare to touch. Some of these include a one-take shot of The Cup Song with Sam Tsui, Kina Grannis, and Alyson Stoner, and an epic concept of mashing up a rendition of “I’ll Think of You” with a game of Patty Cake (also shot completely in one take). All of this success led to his producing Sam Tsui’s debut studio album, “Make It Up,” which in turn spawned a successful world tour. Kurt Schneider has dramatically changed the game of song covering with his creative concepts and flawless music production.