Published on March 27th, 2015 | by Nico Young0
In today’s digital age, the concept of making a connection with over one million people in the span of an afternoon is no work of science fiction. With social media’s ever-increasing popularity, having your post unexpectedly “go viral” can be life-changing.
Samo student Andrew Bazzi (’15) was launched into Internet stardom in 2013 when he took his musical talents to the smartphone application Vine, a video platform where users can share six-second videos of any genre. Two years and over 1.3 million followers later, Bazzi is preparing to embark on his first nationwide tour.
Bazzi first signed up for a Vine account in July 2013, seeing it as a unique opportunity to express himself.
“I just wanted to find a different way to share myself with the world via social media,” Bazzi said. “Vine was the perfect outlet for that.”
He found his passions — singing and playing the guitar — at the age of four. Since then, Bazzi has always known what he’s wanted to do with his life.
“My dad got me this little guitar, and I played the mess out of that thing,” Bazzi said. “I played it like crazy. I used to dress up as Elvis and go to my neighbor’s house and I would put on a show for everybody. I knew when I was young that I wanted to be an entertainer.”
Bazzi was hanging out with his friends when they decided to put together his first Vine.
“Two summers ago I made a Vine in my friend’s backyard. It was just some dumb rap video we did as a joke. I remember going to bed on that video and waking up and seeing 200 likes or something and I was like ‘Ah that’s so cool, 200 likes! I’m gonna keep going!’”
Bazzi had no idea how long those six seconds would really last.
Although Bazzi had been uploading his own covers of pop songs from artists such as Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande and Sam Smith to YouTube since 2012, he never attracted too big a following. However, after he caught people’s attention with that first Vine, he garnered a modest fanbase. Bazzi began posting Vines of himself covering pop songs, often accompanied by his guitar. His “loop” count, or the number of times his Vines have been viewed, climbed with each new Vine he posted. Soon enough he started receiving tens of thousands of notifications a day on Vine.
“I was like ‘wow, this is awesome’ so I kept making them,” Bazzi said. “Throughout the process it just kinda blew up, I would wake up and start seeing 50 or 60 thousand likes.”
Bazzi had built up a devoted fanbase in a matter of months. He soon realized he would have to move from his hometown in Michigan to Los Angeles if he wanted to further his career.
“I lived in Michigan up until November 2014,” Bazzi said. “I was missing a lot of school in Michigan because I was always out here in LA recording, making music and going to meetings and things like that. So, my parents just said ‘Yo, you can live there.’”
Bazzi enrolled in Samo near the end of first semester of this school year, and has flown relatively under the radar since then. Bazzi doesn’t like to flaunt his Internet fame, seeing as staying humble is one of the characteristics he believes to be very important. According to him, he doesn’t go around telling people about the double life he leads, but his closer friends know by now.
“It’s the best of both worlds, man,” Bazzi said. “You gotta be humble about that stuff.”
Rizal Garcia (’15), a new friend of Bazzi’s at Samo says finding out about Bazzi’s fame was a surprise, but wasn’t something that made him feel any different about his friend.
“I was fascinated by the amount of followers he had, but it definitely did not change the way I looked at him,” Garcia said. “I just saw him as a new student at school who seemed super laid back and relaxed. He is super friendly and has a chill vibe to be around.”
Nowadays, Bazzi gets millions of loops within a few hours on every Vine he posts. He has worked alongside his close friends and fellow Vine musicians Rajiv Dhall and Tanner Patrick for much of his Vine career. The boys collaborate on songs and interact with their fans together. Each of the three Viners has built up his own following individually, so simply promoting each other’s work through “revines,” (a feature that allows user’s to share other user’s content on their own account page), and collaborations have led their audiences to mesh together, letting their successes build off of each other in a natural way.
Starting April 10, the trio will be touring the United States for its “Longer Than Six Seconds Tour.” They’ve already booked three stops — Dallas, Detroit and Chicago — and will be performing at venues like the House of Blues in Dallas.
Many musicians are now promoting themselves on the different social media platforms they have readily available to them. With sites like SoundCloud, BandCamp and YouTube offering easy ways to share your music, musicians are making a name for themselves simply by gaining support from other users on those sites.
Vine is a perfect example of a media outlet which makes sharing content with viewers extremely simple, and leaves them wanting more. With its almost addictive layout, Vine allows users to scroll through six-second clips of music, dance, comedy and even magic.
For Samo student Amber Cisneros (’17), hours can go by before she’s realized how many Vines she’s actually watched.
“Sometimes I’ll watch one person’s vines and I end up on another person’s page and hours will go by but I won’t even realize!” Cisneros said.
Bazzi’s Internet fame is a perfect example of the paradigm shift we are beginning to see in the music industry. The concept of building a career for yourself from the bottom up no longer seems ludicrous.
“I think the game is definitely changing these days in the music industry,” Bazzi said. “You know, ten years ago you couldn’t get famous unless you had the push of a record label but now, I can go in my friend’s backyard and make a video and become an Internet celebrity. All you need is an iPhone.”
Nearing the end of his senior year, Bazzi plans on taking a gap year to focus on his career before going into college.
“I think with how busy things have gotten for me, I’ll take a year off of highschool to focus heavily on my music, but I do have plans to attend college,” Bazzi said.
Bazzi’s career is based off of a passion for what he loves, hard work and dedication. His mentality is that if you dedicate yourself to a truthful goal, it will eventually be achieved.
“I like to believe that when you tell yourself you’re gonna do something, and you actually believe you’re gonna do something, you’re gonna do it,” Bazzi said. “So I guess that’s kinda what happened.”