One of YouTube’s very first home grown celebrities, Tiffany Alvord is taking to the sunny shores of Singapore on the 16th of March for what is sure to be a stellar one night only gig. With legions of fans across the globe, and over 1 million subscribers on YouTube- this young star is a force to be reckoned with.
Popspoken: You started making videos in the early days of YouTube. How did you find out about YouTube and what motivated you to start making videos?
When I was 15, I discovered YouTube. There was an artist on YouTube that I was following and I thought it was so cool to see the fans she was getting and how popular she was becoming. I decided I wanted to give it a try and see what would happen. I posted my first video in April of 2008.
Popspoken: This is your second trip to Singapore (if I am correct!). I was just wondering what attracted you into returning to Singapore, and what some of the things you like to do here are?
I was in Singapore in May of 2012 for the YouTube Stars Concert. This was put on by Warner Music Singapore and Music and Movement. I was so grateful they invited me to be part of it. Many of my fans think I can just choose where I want to go to do a show. That isn’t how it works. There was an agent that saw me last year and he has been working with me since last summer to bring me back to headline my own show. An artist needs a booking agent to decide where they think that artist can have a successful show. I am coming back to Singapore because I have a lot of fans there. I was surprised to find out how many fans when I was there last May. I was overwhelmed. I can’t wait to come back. I hope my fans will come and that I can have a successful show. I like to drive through Singapore to see everything and how it is different than the USA. Resorts World Sentosa would be a fun place to visit again. It is really fun to shop in the stores and malls there.
Popspoken: Obviously your career has blown up and YouTube has enabled you to do so many things i.e. travelling the world. What’s the best part about your job and the part you find the most interesting?
YouTube has opened up so many doors for me. The best part is all the talented and incredible people I have worked with and met and become friends with. Being able to actually record my own original songs and put them on an album has been an amazing process that I am proud to have accomplished. The most interesting to me would probably be that I never know what to expect next. YouTube is ever changing and evolving and bringing new opportunities. I might get an email from someone wanting me to come to Singapore one day and the next day I have an invitation to go to Florida for a benefit concert and then the next day a clothing company wants to sponsor a music video for one of my original songs. It’s a lot of work, but these opportunities make it worth it.
Popspoken: Your fan base has grown continuously over the years. Tell us about an interesting or crazy encounter with a fan that was particularly memorable!
I usually just meet fans when I perform, but more and more I have people recognizing me when I’m out in public. It just always feels weird when people look at me and say, “Are you Tiffany Alvord?” I haven’t had anything too crazy, but something that was really awesome is when I went to New York to perform on New Year’s Eve. I was walking down to the Nivea Stage for my rehearsal and sound check. My parents and I heard someone calling our names. There were hundreds and thousands of people there. We turned around and saw one of my super fans from Tennessee in the crowd right across from the stage. He had come all that way just to see me perform. I was really touched by that.
Popspoken: It must get tiring travelling constantly and having to produce covers and such. What do you do to relax and unwind?
Being really busy goes in spurts, but it often does get exhausting. It is just me and my mom running things. She is my manager. I call her momager. It seems we don’t get a lot of breaks because there is always so much to do. When I need a break, I like to treat myself to sushi and go to a movie. Movies let me escape and forget about things for a little while. Another thing that is fun is to go shopping. I like spending time with friends, but a lot of them are away at college now. My mom and I like watching TV series together. It is our reward for all the hard work we do all day.
Popspoken: Has it been difficult to continue regular schooling after becoming famous over the internet? Or have you resorted to home schooling? Do you have any further education plans?
When I was in middle school, I was a gymnast. I was at a competition level so I was in the gym 9 hours a week. I left public school and started home schooling in 8th grade. I completed high school in three years. My YouTube channel and music were just starting to take off when I graduated. I decided to put off college to focus on music. I think there is a small window of time to take advantage of the momentum I have on YouTube and to see where I can take my music. I do want to attend college and hope to do that one day soon.
Popspoken: You’ve collaborated with numerous other YouTube stars including Megan Nicole. What’s so great about being able to collaborate with other talents?
All the YouTube artists I have met and collaborated with are so talented and we have all become friends in real life. I think we want to help each other rather than compete with each other. It benefits everyone to do collaborations and the fans love it. I really love working with all of them. Megan Nicole and I went to China with Jason Chen, so that was a cool experience that brought us closer together. Chester See is super talented and I really liked working with him. Kurt Schneider was the first person I collaborated with, at his request. I flew back to New York when he was still in school at Yale. After that, it seems like YouTube collaborations just kind of took off. A favorite video is “Secrets” that I did with The Piano Guys. That was a privilege to work with them. The best part is that we share our fan base with each other and introduce each other to the other’s fans. It helps us get new fans. Mainly, it’s just fun!
Popspoken: You play an array of instruments, and it’s very impressive how talented you are! Is there an instrument that you’ve connected with or enjoy playing the most? Why?
I took piano when I was in elementary school. I can play a little bit, but not that good. I mainly play guitar. I taught myself when I was 14 years old. I really enjoy playing guitar. It was really hard at first because it hurts your fingers. But, you have to build up to it and keep practicing. Since I always loved songwriting, playing guitar was a good way for me to come up with the music for my songs. I’ve played ukulele in a few songs, but if you can play the guitar, it’s not that hard to figure out.
Popspoken: Which current artist are you loving at the moment? Do you have a musical inspiration?
The main influence right now would be Taylor Swift. I appreciate her integrity and that she stays true to herself. I have had a few experiences where a producer might push me in a different direction or want me to record a song I didn’t write or help write and it just doesn’t feel like me. I go by my instinct and I can tell when things don’t feel right. I want to have a say in my music and I see Taylor Swift being really involved in what is happening with her career. No one is telling her who to be. My fans connect best with songs that I have written and come from my heart. I like to share my experiences and feelings in my songs like Taylor Swift does.
Popspoken: What is some advice you’d give to an up and coming talent looking to reach success over the Internet?
I feel like I was very lucky and that starting my YouTube was very timely. I think it is harder for someone trying to get their music heard and starting a YouTube channel today. My advice would be to post cover songs that are popular because that is what viewers search for on YouTube. You have to deliver popular songs and then you can start to show who you are as an artist and start to post some of your original music. If it is possible to collaborate with someone that has a lot of subscribers, that will help you get new fans and the views you need to become known. Mainly, you need to ignore the haters and stay true to yourself, and just love what you do. Luck is when hard work meets opportunity.