The Totally Tube! event unites seven of the country's most viewed young YouTube stars for a 2 1/2-hour show followed by a "meet-and-greet." Performers hail from California to Connecticut, including Dix Hills' Jenna Rose Swerdlow.
The organizers wanted to showcase talent on the same path Justin Bieber took before he became a professional recording artist, says Jon Allen of Wenig-LaMonica Associates, a Tarrytown, N.Y.-based talent agency. They chose a Long Island venue because of the high percentage of middle and high school students in the area, which is their target audience, and because it was easy to get all the performers to the New York metropolitan area, says organizer Jordan Tubiolo. "It just seemed the perfect storm of a lot of different factors," he says.
Here's who's scheduled to take the stage:
JENNA ROSE SWERDLOW
FROM: Dix Hills
GET TO KNOW HER: YouTube.com; search for "My Jeans" Official Video
TOTAL NUMBER OF VIEWS: 8 million-plus for "My Jeans"
Since Newsday last wrote about the seventh-grader from West Hollow Middle School in March, Jenna has posted a second video, called "O.M.G.," that has surpassed 1 million views. Both her songs are now available on iTunes. She's been invited to speak on an online panel with Kevin Jonas and Tori and Dean Spelling on June 9 about the impact of social media. She has also been featured or will be featured in several teen magazines, including "J-14" and "M." She auditioned with Nickelodeon in Manhattan. She is working on a music video for a third song, called "Don't Give Up." Says Jenna of performing in Westbury: "It's going to be so cool because it's going to be a big stage, and a lot of people are going to be there."
MEGAN AND LIZ MACE
AGE: 18-year-old fraternal twins
GET TO KNOW THEM: Youtube.com/MeganandLiz, search for their cover of "Breakeven" by The Script, performed in their Michigan kitchen
TOTAL VIEWS: 72 million
Megan and Liz are high school seniors who launched their YouTube career from their grandmother's house three years ago because they didn't have high-speed Internet in their tiny hometown of Edwardsburg. Their initial post was an original song. "We realized you didn't get traffic unless you did covers," Megan says. People search YouTube for a well-known song and happen upon an amateur. When the twins sang "Here We Go Again" by Demi Lovato in 2009, they got 1 million views in one week. Now they have 80 videos posted, both covers and originals. "We're known for our harmonies," Megan says. The duo is relocating to Nashville to see if they can make it big.
FROM: Palmdale, Calif.
GET TO KNOW HER: YouTube.com/TiffanyAlvord, search for her original song "The Reason Is You," which is also available on iTunes
TOTAL VIEWS: 66 million
Tiffany was 15 and looking at YouTube and thought, "Oh my gosh, that's so cool. They're starting to live their dreams." She asked her older brother, Trent, to record her first video, during which he told her not to smile because it made her look stupid. "I look like someone forced me to sing," she says, laughing. She has since taken that one down, but won a following with her subsequent videos, many taped in front of the white closet doors of her bedroom. She tries to post one a week now, and they are done more professionally.
FROM: San Fernando Valley, Calif.
GET TO KNOW HIM: Youtube.com/Hoorahjencar, search for "If You Stay," an original tune
TOTAL VIEWS: 35 million
Joseph got his push to go on YouTube from an unlikely source -- his dad. Parents aren't usually that tech savvy, Joseph says. At first, Joseph was afraid to put himself out there. "People are mean," he says. He posted videos from his apartment while attending UC Irvine and studying public health policy. "Random," he admits of his major. He says his bachelor's degree is a backup to give his parents peace of mind while he pushes ahead "full force" with his music. In 2010, he was asked to appear twice on the "Ellen" show; Ellen DeGeneres awarded him $10,000.
GET TO KNOW HER: YouTube.com/Kaitlynannnn, search for Katy Perry's "Firework"
TOTAL VIEWS: Nearly 800,000
Kait started seriously posting YouTube videos in 2010, after she was rejected during her second time auditioning for "American Idol." "I decided I had to take things into my own hands," she says. She got a call from a producer on Ellen DeGeneres' show asking her to perform in February. "I just broke down in Barnes & Noble, and I was a crying mess," she says. "I'm a small-town girl and all of a sudden a producer for 'Ellen' calls and says we want to you sing on the show." Weston was in Barnes & Noble, by the way, shopping for supplies to compete an assignment for a class at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she is majoring in advertising photography.
FROM: New Haven, Conn.; travels back and forth to Los Angeles
GET TO KNOW HIM: YouTube.com/kurthugoschneider; search for cover of "Just a Dream," in which he plays piano
TOTAL NUMBER OF VIEWS: 240 million
Kurt is different from the other performers; he's a music producer. He plays piano and guitar while other people sing on his YouTube Channel. He's a graduate of Yale University, where he majored in math. He'll be the piano accompaniment for all the other performers.
WHAT Totally Tube!
WHEN/WHERE 5 p.m. Sunday at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury
INFO $29.50 and $49.50; 516-334-0800 or 800-745-3000; livenation.com