In a world where the flashiest music videos seem to get all the attention, Daniela Andrade’s simplicity is provoking. Armed with her guitar, Andrade acoustically covers a range of popular artists like Beyonce, Daft Punk, Bruce Springsteen and Nirvana. Her voice, sweet and vulnerable, is the star of each video. Sometimes the recordings, filmed with a digital Canon camera, are uploaded after just one take. At other times, it takes a few tries. Her shy smile and haunting vocals thread through each video, making you forget she didn’t write the songs herself.
Having only ever played a handful of live shows, Andrade admits that selling out clubs in Vancouver and Toronto this spring was a surprise. “It’s amazing to meet people who say they’ve been following my music for years,” she says.
Listeners from across the world have discovered Andrade through YouTube. She first recorded from her Edmonton living room six years ago, while still in high school. Since then, Andrade has captured attention in more than 40 countries, garnering over 17 million YouTube views and 100,000 Facebook followers.
“The online community is like a family,” says Andrade, now 22. “I learned guitar from watching YouTube, so I just started posting for fun. After a while, I covered Michael Buble’s popular song ‘Everything’ and listeners really grew organically from there.”
In 2012, an EP of her own folk-pop songs,Things We’ve Said, was funded with $10,000 earned from a fan-voted online video contest – she entered a Spanish duet of Abba’s “Chiquitita” with her father. Andrade flew to San Diego and recorded with producer Jesse Barrera, whom she met, unsurprisingly, through a YouTube interaction. In fact, most of her musical collaborations have been because of linkages through the site.
Voting fans have helped Andrade secure several other awards, including the Hot 107 Hot Factor and the Lite 95.7 Emerging Artist Award, a win that also granted her a main stage slot at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival last summer. Each of those prizes came with $10,000 cash awards.
Andrade’s most popular cover, “Creep” by Radiohead, has been viewed more than three million times. In some recent cases, YouTube has enabled cover artists to receive a portion of advertising revenue from the videos they post, split with the songs’ original artists/songwriters. That income, along with a steady flow of iTunes and streaming sales, has given Andrade the funding to create new recordings.
Though known for her covers, Andrade is now scouting producers for her first full, original album release in the near future. Major labels have approached her with offers, but Andrade feels her strength, right now, is in engaging with music lovers directly. She is eager to finally bring her own songs on tour and greet the many fans anxious to leave their homes to hear her.