Dondria Signed By Jermaine Dupri Thanks To YouTube Videos

'I put a video on YouTube just to see what people would say,' singer says of path that led her to a contract with So So Def Recordings.

YouTube has given plenty of singers a shot at stardom, the most notable being teen sensation Justin Bieber. The website offers people a venue to showcase their talents, and sometimes they cultivate their own fanbase using the power of the Internet — in the case So So Def’s R&B singer Dondria, the right person just happened to be watching her channel.

Dondria began posting videos to the site under the alias Phatfffat in 2006, because she wanted to see what people really thought of her as a singer.

“I put a video on YouTube just to see what people would say — besides my mom or my friends, because they [might] tell you you can sing but you probably can’t. I wanted to get that honest opinion on YouTube. A year later I had 25 videos up, people were coming out [from] everywhere trying to sign me or collaborate with me [and] one of those people was [Jermaine Dupri].”

The So So Def boss flew her and her mother out Atlanta to start work — but it took a couple of months to convince Dondria he was actually JD.

“First, he tried to reach me over YouTube, but I never got that message. Then he went over to MySpace, and at first I didn’t think it was him, so I was kind of ignoring him. ‘Don’t play with me, I’m smarter than that,’ ” Dondria replied.

“But it was really him. I’m so mad — like, what if he had stopped writing me. I wouldn’t be here,” she offered. “I finally responded and realized that it was really him, and ever since then I’ve bugged him like, everyday. ‘Let’s work, like, right now! Let’s get it done!’ ”

Dupri worked her tirelessly in hopes of bringing out her best and gave her the chance to work with the likes of Johnta Austin and No I.D., learn about the recording process and discover her own sound. Her debut album, Dondria vs. Phatfffat, is expected to be released in June. However, despite the title’s implications, the album isn’t a fight between personalities.

“It’s not really an alter-ego thing — it’s really kind of explaining to everbody that I could be more than Phatfffat that you saw on YouTube that was singing other people’s songs, forgetting words and eating pizza. Dondria, she’s singing her own music. She’s proving to everybody that she can be an artist and not just a person on YouTube.”

Are you looking forward to Dondria’s debut album? Let us know in the comments below!