Meet the YouTube stars who are getting paid to vlog
- Credit: Samantha Harvey has a huge following on Youtube and Instagram. Picture: SAMANTHA HARVEY
Suffolk is home to some big name celebrities including global phenomenon Ed Sheeran and now a new wave of stars are being created thanks to their growing popularity on YouTube - here we meet three of the up-and-coming names who between then have 3.4 million subscribers.
Hitcham-based musician Samantha Harvey has over 1.6 million subscribers and has just finished headlining her own UK tour – she says it’s all down to YouTube.
The 25-year-old has been on the platform for the past eight years and found fame when her cover of Sam Smith’s Stay With Me went viral over night.
The singer who went to Stowmarket High School, said: “YouTube completely changed my life, I would encourage anyone who has the time to do it to take it up.
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“I used to clean during the day and then come home and record covers in the evenings,” she continued.
Now YouTube and singing has become Samantha’s main career, alongside working with huge brands such as McDonalds and Pepsi to increase her income.
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The singer who has a huge 261,000 Instagram followers and has started to upload more vlogs and ‘how to’ videos as she admits “people always “want to know what I am up to”.
Samantha says her fans are loyal because she interacts with them and responds to as many of them as possible. She tries to upload regular Instagram stories to constantly keep fans in the loop about what she’s doing, and never wants to let them down or neglect them – which is her biggest worry.
She said: “I worry that if I don’t post content frequently enough that I will lose my fan base – but it’s hard to share every aspect of your life online so you have to find the right balance.”
•Street Soccer International
Formerly @STRskillSchool on YouTube, father and football fan Steve Roberts has been on the platform since 2009, and began uploading weekly football training and skills videos in 2010.
Originally a football coach from Ipswich, and later going on to coach at Ipswich Town Football Club, Steve decided to make videos because of the lack of contact time he had with players and he now has a huge 1,479,592 subscribers (at the last count).
“Initially I started the channel so I could set homework or show videos as reminders to what the players were learning.
“My original content included demonstrations, but over time I listened to my audience and made content people wanted to see – collaborating with other YouTubers and giving people a reason to keep watching.”
YouTube has now become a full time job for Steve, who says “financially it has been amazing – doing something I love and getting paid for it has been unbelievable”.
After his success on the channel, Steve has been able to travel around the world, working with top brands and some of the best players in the world – such as Neymar and Steven Gerrard.
Steve says the platform has helped change his career and his life.
Jamie Raines is the name behind ‘Jammidodger’ which has gained more than 200,000 subscribers online. The YouTube account follows the journey of 24-year-old Jamie, a transgender man from Colchester who fell in love with his best friend Shaaba.
Jamie, who is also a PhD student researching transgender people and their wellbeing, said: “I decided to start my channel mostly to document my own transition as I started taking testosterone. There was a lot of information about transitioning in America, but I wanted to offer a UK perspective as it’s something I struggled to find when I began.”
The couple post videos online and Jamie has been documenting his transition on the platform since he was 17 years old.
He said: “The platform often means that people can give a lot of hate forgetting you’re not just a personality, but an actual person. It also means that people can forget privacy boundaries which can get a bit uncomfortable at times.”
Jamie has been documenting the ups and downs of hormone treatment, how his relationship has helped him through it and all the things people forget to talk about.
He publishes two videos a week, every Wednesday and Sunday and hopes that people will learn and laugh with him on his journey.