We all know by now that there are many more ways of being discovered than talent shows. Social networks have allowed us to discover, for better or worse, a plethora of Canadian talent over the course of the last decade: The most shining examples being Alessia Cara, Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes. As for the worst ones, we’ll simply skip them.
In Francophone Canada, it was just a matter of time before a talent would emerge from one social network or another. And if the rumour is to be believed, that talent has now been discovered.
His name is Jordan Hébert, he’s 24 and has just shy of 30,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. Created two years ago, it features his take on current Anglo hits by Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers and The Weeknd, as well as Franco hits by Jason Bajada, Louis-Jean Cormier and Vincent Vallières.
When asked about the upside of being a YouTuber, he says that “operating on the web has definite advantages.” But the same goes for the downsides. “Creating a platform on YouTube where you can be constant and consistent is easy,” says Hébert. “Then all you need is to post regularly, every week or other week, so that your audience knows to return frequently and grow attached to your content.
“Business development is also very easy: it’s recommended to all YouTubers with a certain following to send their audience to other platforms to discover quality content while at the same time preserving their core audience. But that’s sometimes harder than it seems. When you make music, the return on investment is quite low. You can spend 20 hours on a capsule that’s three minutes long, while other content creators just pick up their camera, talk for 10 minutes, and Bingo! It’s a hurdle for music, because YouTube prioritizes videos that have the longest watched duration when it comes to ad revenue.”
Be that as it may, Hébert puts the music first, and he recently introduced one of his songs, “Dehors” (“Outside”), one with delicate grooves and tender pleas. Positive reactions already abound and he’s even won the first edition of the talent discovery contest presented by Play, VRAK TV’s musical show!
“After all this time spent recording in a semi-professional way with basically no budget, it’s quite pleasing to have access to what Play has offered me: singing my song on TV, and radio tracking of my first published song,” says Hébert. “I’m still astonished. I was questioning the relevance of trying to break out my career on YouTube, when suddenly, it’s the exact reason why I won that contest, and forged ahead in this industry. It’s obvious that playing live on TV and benefitting from radio tracking is much more serious and desirable than videos on YouTube. That’s why I’m so grateful for what’s happening to me right now, and I can’t wait to learn more about how it’s all going to unfold. I must say, also, that everyone in the crew is charming and the production environment is very healthy.”
One thing leading to the next, he also got to participate in his first major musical event, Santa Térésa, the inaugural edition of the Sainte-Thérèse music festival, in late April. His first concert was sold out. “I did an original, math-rock-influenced song, “SP33DST1CK,” as well as “Dehors.” After years on YouTube, assembling a band was quite a challenge, because I’d grown accustomed to my comfort zone; all I had to do was record, film, edit and voilà, it was online! But it’s not enough. I rented a studio to rehearse my first show,” says the young man, who humbly refuses to take all the credit for that show’s success. He shared the headline with other up-and-coming songwriters such as William Monette, Miro Belzil (formerly of the band Blé) and Soran Dussaigne, three musicians he calls, “very, very talented artists.”
Based on these first experiences, Hébert – who’ll quite likely spend a lot 2017 weighing offers presented to him – plans to work on a full concert, and an album inspired be Foals and Bombay Bicycle Club: “a combination of the math rhythms of the former and the ethereal ease of the latter.”