Spotlight on: Kurt Hugo Schneider and Sam Tsui

Annie Kim, Kelly To, Annie Kim, and Kelly To

How many people actually become famous via YouTube, and how many of those are musicians?

The answer to both of those questions is very few.  With musical talent residing in all corners of the world, it is quite common to become lost among the countless videos uploaded by aspiring musicians.  It takes a great deal of talent, perseverance, and luck to gain recognition as a YouTube musician, which make Kurt Schneider and Sam Tsui two of YouTube’s most elite.

Kurt and Sam have worked with Coca-Cola in a campaign called “The Sounds of AHH,” which consists of a series of music videos that feature Coca-Cola bottles, glasses, and cans being used as instruments.  In 2013, Kurt was asked to create an original soundtrack for the Coca-Cola Red Carpet Live Digital Pre-show at the 2014 American Music Awards.  Over the course of six weeks, Kurt was able to interact with his extensive fan network across the country, by having them choose the elements they wanted to include in the soundtrack.

Even more recently, their music made for Coca-Cola is being aired as commercials during American Idol Kurt and Sam began collaborating while attending Wissahickon High School in Pennsylvania (a partnership that continued during their time at Yale University), featuring Sam’s crowd pleasing voice and Kurt’s talented skills as a musician, arranger, and producer.

The duo began by performing covers of popular songs, with their first video being a cover of High School Musical 3’s “Can I Have This Dance.”

Since then, they have produced covers of virtually every popular artist, from The Goo Goo Dolls to Bruno Mars.  The duo has uploaded several “viral videos” that have garnered more than 30,000,000 views each, the first of which was a medley of Michael Jackson songs.  The two have even been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

This growing recognition allowed the duo to branch out and collaborate with other YouTubers, such as Dave Days, Alex Goot, Tyler Ward, Christina Grimmie, and Max Schneider.  More recently, they have produced covers- “The Other Side” with Jason Derulo, as well “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” with Jason Mraz and Hunter Hayes.

Besides performing covers, Kurt and Sam have written original songs, some of which were featured on an online series called “College Musical,” a spin-off of High School Musical.  They have also released their first original album titled “Make It Up,” which contains 14 original songs written by both Sam and Kurt.  The duo toured across the US, Canada, and Asia performing these original songs for fans across the globe.

They have more than 3.7 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 750 million total views, and these numbers continue to increase every day. Although they have been around for a few years, their careers in the industry definitely have a long way to go.