YouTube celebrity and singer Summerella may seem like a fresh new face to many in the world of music, but she has undoubtedly been laying a footprint for some time now. The week of May 2, 2015, Summerella peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard R&B Top 100 chart with her single 11 Something (eventually landing at No. 4) and has recently released her first album, First Day of Summer. With over 2.9 million Instagram followers and 700K YouTube subscribers, the Atlanta native boasts a millennial following on social media that rivals some of the most famous names in entertainment. Today, Summerella is more focused on her music than ever and has more knowledge and insight on using social media to grow personally and professionally.
A playful video on Vine started something bigger than Summerrella could have imagined. “I played a few notes on my keyboard and freestyled the lyrics then all of my supporters better known as my RellaGang begged me to make it a real song.” Although Summerella comes from a musical background and family, she never recorded a song in the studio. “My mom, now manager, Kymberley Boissiere made a call to my cousin who happens to be a music producer. He helped me pull everything together, and I’m still shocked that the first song I ever recorded in a studio, “11 Something,” landed on Billboard’s Top 100 and reached No. 4 on Apple iTunes charts.”
Amid the changing economics of the music industry Summerella has had to navigate interest from major record labels. “So many major labels contacted my team but we turned down all the offers,” says Summerellla. “I strongly believe artists should remain independent and keep as much of their power and control of their careers as possible. As a young woman, I now look at myself as a woman-owned business and entrepreneur within the industry I created my career in.”
Up until recently, an artist was in more of a vacuum when it came to independently marketing themselves, social media has turned that limitation on its head.
“Stars are made every day due to the internet and different platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram just to name a few. Influencers with a large following can be their own business mogul independently by marketing to the very people who directly support them,” she says.
Support is something that Summerella has gained in droves through her social media reach which she is strategically using to enhance her entrepreneurial endeavors. Additionally, she is using her platform to reach young woman just like her who are interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. It is her hope that she can be a source of direction for the many ups and downs artists face in the industry.
Her advice for young women of color is:
- Do what brings you joy and be solid on your business foundation. The music industry is historically connected with people who make a living out of taking advantage of young artists.
- Have a team of people around you that you trust and who will have your back in the event agreements go left. Learn the business end of anything you do, especially if others are making money on your name. Like Hollywood, the music industry is male-dominated and females are just as disrespected and disregarded.
- Find a good manager, attorney, and advisers who you trust and will always have your best interest in mind. If, by chance, you do decide to sign with a production company or label do extensive research on them, be sure they will respect you, stand on integrity, and be willing to be a partner with you in all decisions surrounding your career.
- Always move forward cautiously optimistic and keep an eye open for BS to pop off. Strive for success but be willing to walk away from any situation if it makes you uncomfortable, feel victimized, or violated in any way. No amount of money is worth being unhappy.
- Lastly, be smart with the money you earn. Invest it or save it because you never know when fame in this industry could come to an end.