Top 10 YouTube Cover Artists - TopX Ep.7
Welcome to the seventh episode of TopX, the brand new WatchMojo.com show where we countdown the very best that YouTube has to offer! Today we're doing all things musical as we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 YouTube cover artists. Cover artists on YouTube have become extremely popular with many gaining international fame and fortune outside of the online world. So while we're sticking to artists that began their careers covering popular songs on YouTube, don't be surprised if many of the entries you see here have since transcended their humble beginnings. We ranked our list based on subscriber numbers, views, votes from our users, personal preference and general impact on the YouTube community.
Top 10 YouTube Cover Artist Channels
Welcome to the seventh episode of TopX, the brand new http://www.WatchMojo.com show where we countdown the very best that YouTube has to offer! Today we're doing all things musical as we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 YouTube cover artists. Cover artists on YouTube have become extremely popular with many gaining international fame and fortune outside of the online world. So while we're sticking to artists that began their careers covering popular songs on YouTube, don't be surprised if many of the entries you see here have since transcended their humble beginnings. We ranked our list based on subscriber numbers, views, votes from our users, personal preference and general impact on the YouTube community.
- Are you ready for some peppy, PG fun? You better be, cause coming in at #10 is Cimorelli, a group of 6 sisters from Sacramento, California.
- Cimorelli uses their strength in numbers, relying primarily on an a-cappella style to cover popular, usually uplifting pop songs. Some of their most popular covers include songs by One Direction, Justin Bieber, Taylor swift, although they’ve recently been feature original tracks as well. Although they sometimes mix in the occasional guitar, and sometimes even have full blown karaoke track undernieth, they’re still most popular for their purely vocal performances.
- That said, their recent videos have shown a huge spike in production value, now featuring fully realized music videos, soundmix and all. This, of course, makes a lot of sense when you consider that the sisters have been picked up by Universal Music’s Island Label. As you can imagine, you can grab their songs on iTunes if you like what you hear.
- One other fun thing they do on their channel is a hybrid sitcom music show called Summer with Cimorelli, which follows the girls over the course of a summer where eldest sister Christina is left in charge. Chaos ensues, as do the expected musical numbers.
#9: Walk Off the Earth
- Cover artists seem to fall into 2 categories; those that try to emulate a song as best as possible, and those that try to add their own special touch to the song to create something completely different. This next group from Canada, definitely falls into the later category.
- Chances are somebody has already shown you their incredible cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”, where all of the members of the band play the same guitar while 3 separate vocalists sing. Another personal favorite of mine is their a-cappella version of T-swifts “Trouble”, which features beat boxer KRNFX. . Don’t judge. All of their videos feature a cool gimmick or style that makes them as visually impressive as they are sonically.
- Aside from the fun tricks they like to pull for each video, like throwing instruments to different band member in single take shots, their style is heavily defined by their 3 vocalists. Each has a unique sound and range, allowing for striking harmonies that add layers of complexity to even the simplest of songs.
#8: Tyler Ward
- A young Tyler Ward was apparently enrolled in the United-Stares Air Force Academy, but found his personality to be incompatible to military life and decided to leave and focus on his passion…can you guess what?
- He describes his style as Acoustic Rock Country Pop, and his style reflects that mishmash of genres rather nicely. That said, while most of his most popular clips use an acoustic guitar, there’s still plenty of other clips that he’s that don’t, instead incorporating a whole bunch of other instruments and even other vocalists instead.
- One thing that sets Tyler’s covers apart is the fact that he often employs live musicians in his videos, instead of karaoke backing trackings. This gives a lot of the songs more a much more multi-layered authenticity, and just generally sounds great.
- What’s cool about this live band style is that it helps strike a interesting balance between originality and impression. What I mean by that is that Tyler rarely changes the tempo or general sound of the song, they often sound very similar to the original. However, because its done mostly through real instruments, you get to hear the songs distilled to their “baser elements”, injecting originality into them and allowing you to easily deconstruct the individual parts.
#7: Sam Tsui
- Sam Tsui is a great example of putting your most natural talents to good use. Snicker all you want, but he’s made a name for himself doing incredible covers of songs usually performed by female artists, or those sung mostly in falsetto. That’s because he has a naturally high voice, holy crap what a voice it is.
- So, remember when I said that some cover artists like to add their own unique flair to a cover. While, Sam goes one step further, by adding his own unique flair to two or more songs, by mashing ‘em all together. This works especially well because he sings a lot of songs even higher than they were originally recorded, so he mashes them together easily because he can choose the level at which to sing them.
- Like almost everyone else on this list, you grab Sam’s music on iTunes. Plus he’s also released a full fledged album that features covers by Michael Jackson, Beyonce and Jason Mraz
#6: Kurt Huge Schneider
- Although he does plenty of covers of his own, Kurt Schneider’s channel differentiates itself from the others on this list because it serves as a platform for other YouTube cover artists. Remember our last entry, Sam Tsui? Well the two are apparently best friends, so you’ll actually see a lot of Sam’s most impressive work appear on Kurt’s channel,
- along with a number of other artists you’ll see here on the list.
- In fact, if you check the “About” page, Kurt makes no mention of himself as a cover artist, instead referring to himself as a music producer and filmmaker. And that’s what I mean by his channel acting as a platform for other cover artists; he collaborates and works with them to make high quality videos, both in a visual and vocal sense.
- Although he works with a ton of other artists, I mention his work with Sam Tsui for a reason, and it’s not just because they’re buddies. One of his most interesting group of videos are these simulated a-cappella videos, where camera tricks and editing make it seem like there are multiple Sams on screen at once, all singing together.
#5: Alex Goot
- Everyone we’re examining today is very talented, by our next entry may take the prize for the biggest variety of talents. On top of being a stellar vocalist, Alex good is a songwriter who plays acoustic and electric guitar, the bass, keyboard, drums and more.
- A lot of cover artist like to play around with editing to duplicate themselves, making it seem like they’re playing several or all of the instruments in their covers, but none of the ones we’ll see today are as good at it as Alex Goot. Most people would have trouble being only one piece in a rock band; Alex seems to have no trouble being a whole band all by himself.
- Much like I mentioned for Tyler Ward, doing the covers with multiple, live recorded instruments really allows you to appreciate the individual elements of the songs he covers. This is also aided by the style in which is his videos are shot, which help to showcasing these elements in a visual sense as well.
- Alex also like to collaborate with other popular YouTube cover artists. A quick scan of his channel will reveal a lot of familiar faces, or at least, familiar to anyone who’s watched this countdown.
#4: Megan Nicole
- It’s a safe bet to say that all of our entries are fans of karaoke, but this next girl owes a huge chunk of her popularity to her love of it. Megan Nicole’s father apparently bought her a Karaoke machine when she was 10, and after spending some time in her church choir, she began her YouTube career in 2009. The rest, as they say, is history.
- While she definitely goes for emulation over originality, her voice is surprisingly powerful someone so tiny. Despite that, it’s still got a youthful edge, something that helps define her sound as well as her overall image.
- Megan has gained her popularity doing covers of recent pop songs originally performed by artists like Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and One Direction. However, she’s recently been signed and has begun releasing originals as well, which are gaining popularity in their own. Currently, her 3rd most popular video is an original track.
- Megan is, at the time of this video, still very young, making her success all the more impressive. Her covers reflect her age as well, as it stands, she has a squeaky clean image, even changing some of the riskier lyrics in some of her covers to make them more family friendly.
#3: Lindsey Sterling
- Coming to the end of our list, we finally come to someone who has serious nerd cred, Lindsey Sterling. Almost every cover artist we’ve seen today has covered Maroon 5 and One Direction. But I’m pretty sure Lindsey’s the only one here to have tackled the theme songs to Zelda and Skyrim.
- It only takes a second to figure out what unique about Sterling’s cover. The violin! Lindsey’s pretty much out there to prove that the fiddle makes everything better, and judging the videos on her channel, you’d be hard pressed to disagree.
- Her videos have transformed into full fledged music videos. Costumes, story, setting, editing, camera work, sound mix, the whole shooting match.
- This is where it gets really impressive. Lindsey seems to collaborate with other YouTubers more than most, simply because while she does provide a decent amount of vocals, she also has to play the violen throughout most songs, so she needs other vocalists to carry the bulk of the singing. It would be impressive enough that she did covers with people like Tyler Ward and Megan Nicole .But for her cover of John Legend “All of You”, she just went right to the source and did it with John Legend.
- Naturally, she has a large selection of original tracks too, many of which make up her most popular songs.
- Consisting of 5 Vocalists Pentatonix is an a cappella group originally from Texas. Their creative style injects an enormous amount of originality to their covers. Often their videos are fun to watch just to see their fresh take on a well known song, as you never really know what they’re gonna do.
- A lot of cover artists like to use a cappella to replace instruments, but Pentatonix definitely takes the cake. Their harmonic mix of deep base and tenor, mixed with the higher voice of their female vocalist and beat boxer, gives an often haunting vocal tableau. You’re sick of Gotye covers, but we promiss that this one is worth a listen for style alone.
- Some people have noted that Pentatonix has a style that sometimes resembles Walk Off The Earth, and that similarity spills over into their creative music videos. Creativity is definitely king in their clips, and when you factor in the fact they mash several songs by the same artist into a single clips, the stuff that Pentatonix is about a creative as you can get and still call it a cover.
HM#1 The Piano Guys
HM #2 Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox
HM #3 Madilyn Bailey
HM #4 Peter Hollens
HM #5 Tiffany Alvord
HM #6 Daniela Andrade
#1: Boyce Avenue
- We kicked off our list with our list with a group of sister, and we’re finishing it off with a group of brothers. Damn you patriarchy. Boyce Avenue is comprised of the 3 Manzano brothers, Daniel, Fabian and Alejandro.
- While creativity is great, one of the things that a lot of people really like is acoustic covers, and for those of you out there who feel this way, we’ve saved the best for last. The Boyce Avenue bros have a playlist entirely devoted to acoustic covers, with over a hundred videos and counting on that list alone.
- But why are they #1? Well, almost everyone we’ve seen has garnered enough recognition to get a record deal, and any one that hasn’t, probably will very soon. Boyce Avenue is unique for creating their OWN record label after leaving Universal. This has made them the most viewed independent band in the world. We think its only fitting that for our #1 pick of YouTube cover artists, we picked an group puts the emphasis on the You part…the you, being them of course.