NOVEMBER 10, 2011
By Allison Davey ’14, Contributing Writer
As a college student, having 15,000 subscribers and 1.5 million views of your work can be considered quite a difficult and impressive feat. For Blake S. Campbell, a sophomore business major, this feat is reality.
Campbell, one of Furman’s “YouTube Stars,” has quite a following on his channel, and his satirical raps have shot him into the realm of fame. Yet, for Campbell, “It is definitely strange. Having to respond to emails and fan mail adds an interesting twist to what I thought was just making videos. It’s hard to grasp the idea that people from the other side of the world see me as someone notable.”
Campbell began writing and recording his own raps two years ago. He credits Bo Burnham and Lonely Island as his main inspirations, and also points to the support of his friend Max, who appears in many of his videos.
Campbell claims, “I’m not a rapper. I make YouTube videos,” and says that while he wants to continue to pursue entertainment, music is not his passion. “I’m not that good at rapping,” he says. “If I was, I ironically wouldn’t have the fan base that I do today. People find my awkward rapping about weird topics endearing.”
His “Casey Anthony Rap” received more than 300,000 views and was featured on radio stations across the country. Another of his videos, “Autotune Rehab Rap,” was filmed on Furman’s campus. His success has led him to meet people such as Nolan Smith (Duke basketball player) and John Basedow (fitness celebrity).
Furman is also the home to another YouTube star, Katie McLean. McLean is a junior psychology and philosophy double major who began recording videos at age 16. She is primarily self-taught musically, although she took guitar lessons briefly after she became interested in playing.
McLean has been featured on YouTube’s homepage, which she considers one of her biggest accomplishments since beginning her musical career. “Music is a fun outlet,” she says. “It’s something I always want to maintain in my life. However, profiting from it is not a goal I will most likely pursue. Then again, you never know.”
McLean’s page features acoustic covers of popular songs, along with some original works.
Campbell’s work can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/user/blakescampbell, and McLean’s at http://www.youtube.com/user/acoustickatie24.