In just over a year this up-and-coming pop star has racked up nearly 33 million YouTube views, released his debut EP, which went to #1 on the pop albums chart, and had one of his songs covered by none other than Justin Bieber. It's not bad to be 17-year-old Ryan Beatty.
Beatty got his start back in February of 2011 after posting his first cover song, Cee Lo Green's, "Forget You" on YouTube, and within the first week, the video had about 10,000 views. Since then, Beatty has covered songs from Frank Ocean to Taylor Swift, making him one of the most viewed artists on YouTube.
Yet, now Beatty is making the transition from YouTube sensation to recording artist. His first EP, Because of You, was released back in July, and just last month, he released the music video for his second single, "Hey L.A."
In the song, Beatty proclaims that his heart belongs to Los Angeles, but when MTV News caught up with the singer, we wanted to show him what New York City had to offer. We took him on a tour of all the city's biggest landmarks — from Times Square to the Empire State Building to Central Park, and along the way, he revealed the inspiration behind "Hey L.A.," which he co-wrote.
"First time I ever went to L.A., I had such a great time. It was a lot of fun," Beatty said. "I really wanted to do a song about my love for the city, and it's not necessarily just about L.A. I wrote it about anywhere I go. I've been going a lot of places lately ... I have a little amount of time in every city I visit so I want to make the best of it and really get to love the city, and no matter where I'm at — Fort Wayne, Indiana, or New York, New York — it's also about that, and that's kind of what we wrote it about."
Yet, it's not just the fans that are gravitating towards his original material. Last month, Justin Bieber, who also got his start on YouTube, covered Beatty's single, "Every Little Thing."
"I was definitely so shocked," Beatty said of the Bieber cover. "It was definitely one of the craziest things that has ever happened to me and I didn't expect it whatsoever especially from Justin Bieber of all people. I was extremely grateful when I instantly saw it I wanted to thank him, I took to Twitter and thanked him, and so many people were very stoked off it. I was excited about it, hearing someone like that cover one of my songs. It was such an honor. I have nothing but respect for the guy."
Even though Beatty and Bieber may strike some similarities, he admits that they are "totally different" artists, and is concentrating on having his fans learn more about his style of music, but promises that he won't forget where he came from.
"It's definitely been one of my goals to try to let people know that I'm not just that kid from YouTube that's just going to do covers like the rest of my life. I'm really becoming an artist now and they've [the fans] taken it really well," Beatty said. "I promised myself that no matter where I got, I'd still post covers every once in a while. I still want to post videos and keep people updated because I feel like the fans deserve to have that.
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