The Boys of Summer are not TV personalities, movie stars, stand-up comedians or famous musicians, but they are headlining a national tour stopping at 89 North in Patchogue on Saturday, Aug. 10. The social media influencers — who communicate with their fans via video clips on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok — will spend six hours playing games, taking pictures, signing autographs and answering questions with fans.
Gitnick started to attract followers online in the wake of posting his anti-gun artwork online.
“I did a lot of art shows and got some media coverage that led to social media influencers reaching out to me,” says Gitnick, 17, of Los Angeles. “I’d put a gun on the canvas and camouflage it in an abstract three-dimensional way to make a statement against gun violence. All of my art has a message behind it.”
One of Gitnick’s favorite parts of being on tour is connecting with his fans. He lets them in on his relationship with actress Mads Lewis, who often makes appearances in his videos and live shows. “We put a lot of our life out online,” says Gitnick. The pair celebrated their one-year dating anniversary on stage together in Denver.
Looking toward the future, Gitnick wants to produce events, develop small social media influencers and work on some brand deals.
“I’m looking to get into business,” he says. “But I’ll always do art my whole life.”
FOLLOWERS Instagram: 718,000, Twitter: 90,600, YouTube: 91,650, TikTok: 435,300
The day before going into 9th grade, Gray made a video called the “Don’t Judge Me Challenge” as a joke. The clip showed Gray making his face look ugly, then covering up the camera and reappearing as his normal self.
“I went to sleep and woke up with 100,000 more followers,” recalls Gray, 18, of Houston. “When I started high school, everybody knew who I was.”
Being relatable to his followers is something that’s important to Gray whether it be struggling with acne or his recent hospitalization for a tear in his esophagus.
“I’m just a normal human being,” says Gray. “I let all my followers know what’s going on. They were right next to me the whole way in the hospital. It was very comforting.”
Known for lip-syncing videos, Gray smiles and winks to the camera as his numbers grow daily while on tour.
“Everybody is just always filming,” he says. “There’s not a time where nobody has their camera down. We post a lot of content.”
Gray says his next adventure is becoming a professional model as well getting his real estate license.
“I still want to stay digital because I love social media,” he says. “I’m going to keep making videos because that’s what I love to do.”
FOLLOWERS Instagram: 2.7 million, Twitter: 891,200, YouTube: 360,395, TikTok: 169,800 (4 million on old account)
“BOYS OF SUMMER”
WHEN|WHERE 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at 89 North Ocean Ave. in Patchogue
INFO 631-730-8992, 89northmusic.com
BREAKIN’ UP THE BOYS CLUB
Amongst all the machismo on this tour, singer Drew Ryn adds a shot of estrogen. This 22 year-old pop singer from Arizona appeared on “The X-Factor” at age 14. She made it to the top 6 and got to sing with Justin Bieber and had Simon Cowell as her mentor. Now she’s on tour with all the social media mayhem.
“Being amongst influencers is a whole other world,” says Ryn. “We will get out at a truck stop and everyone is doing these dances together for videos. It’s pure silliness and I love that.”
In the live show she performs a short set of her original songs like “Come Home” and “Problems” as well as a cover of The Weeknd’s “Call Out My Name.”
“I love the challenge,” says Ryn, who draws inspiration from Prince, Nirvana and Celine Dion. “I used to get so nervous but now I channel those nerves into excitement.”
Currently, Ryn is working on developing her own clothing line and shopping for a record deal.
“I’ve never signed one because I’ve been very cautious,” she admits. “But I’ve had some good offers from across the table so far.” - David J. Criblez