For a new generation of artists, YouTube has become a popular platform for breaking into the music industry. Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, Tori Kelly, Shawn Mendes and Kane Brown shot to stardom by posting performance clips that racked up millions of views on the video-sharing website.
That’s exactly how 12-year-old Tegan Marie began her career. The aspiring singer is known for posting videos of herself covering songs like Sara Evans’ “Stronger,” Kelsea Ballerini’s “Love Me Like You Mean It,” Maddie & Tae’s “Shut Up and Fish” and many more.
But it was her cover of Florida Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y.” that took her career to the next level by garnering 17 million views on social media platforms.
“Every Friday, I try to upload a cover video,” says Tegan to Nash Country Daily. “This was just another Friday cover video. I didn’t expect anything at all. It was actually my first male cover. I just made my own female version of ‘H.O.L.Y.’—which, by the way, is such a great song. Honestly, I don’t know why it went viral. I just think people love the song so much. I’m so grateful for that.”
Born in Flint, Mich., Tegan discovered her love of music thanks to family cookouts and her dad’s karaoke machine, which she has now absconded with and calls her own. Tegan’s dad began posting performance videos of her before she even knew how to use a camera.
“I’ve been singing since I could even learn how to talk,” says Tegan. “My parents always had cookouts on the weekends and they would set up the karaoke machine. My dad uploaded videos when I was 3-years-old, singing ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus. It was my first video ever. Later on down the road, I started uploading videos to this really cool website called SweetyHigh.com—an all-girls website that lets young girls find their inner girl power. Sweety High made my dreams come true. That’s why I’m sitting here today. I just suggest for any young girls that are chasing their biggest dream, just like me, go join Sweety High.”
The Michigan native recently released her own debut single, “Lucky Me,” and is making some of her biggest dreams come true. At the age of 12—she turns 13 on Oct. 25—Tegan has done more cool stuff than most kids her age, such as open up for Hunter Hayes, play at the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day and perform the national anthem at a U.S. Women’s Soccer Team game.
“Let me just say, [singing the anthem] was the best experience ever—that was a surprise,” Tegan says. “It was their last game before they got sent off to Rio for the Olympics, and I just have to say I’m so honored to be a part of such a big event like that. It was just another magical moment for me and hopefully I get to do it again soon.
“I am doing a whole bunch of writing,” Tegan adds. “I actually just got done in the studio yesterday, and we wrote another song. We have three songs right now that are done. We’re probably going to go back in the studio, and work on them again, but all I have to say is that you guys are going to love them.”
Tegan would also like to follow in the footsteps of another young country artist who has found major success early on in her career, Kelsea Ballerini. Tegan got the opportunity to sing with Kelsea during their first meeting.
“She is amazing. She’s my favorite person. She’s such a nice human being. The first time I met her was actually my first time meeting the crew of Sweety High in person also. Kelsea actually had a show, and Sweety High does these Sweet Beat TV’s where they interview artists and do fun games and stuff. A week before that I uploaded a video of me singing ‘Love Me Like You Mean It’ by Kelsea. She shared it and, honestly, I just felt so thankful for that. When Sweety High was doing the Sweet Beat TV with Kelsea in L.A., I was hiding behind a wall and I popped out. She was just the nicest. I sang ‘Love Me Like You Mean it.’ I think that’s our song together, because it made an impact in her life and also made an impact in my life, too. I want to thank her for making such a great song that could change my life. She’s like a sister to me now.”
Tegan also counts herself as a fan of Hunter Hayes and Chris Lane. She is currently writing new songs and performing around the country. The soon-to-be teenager is more focused on getting new music out to her fans. “It’s just going to be fun,” she says.
About that, we have no doubt!
Listen to Tegan sing her single, “Lucky Me.”
Photo courtesy of Sweet Talk PR