Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
The world of video game music on YouTube is vast, but one of the people at the forefront of that scene is a 28-year-old violinist from the Midwest. Her name is Taylor Davis, and she’s distinguished herself with covers of TV, film, video game, and anime themes. Her videos feature strong production values and engaging choreography, and she’s no slouch when it comes to her violin skills, either. Here’s what she had to say about her work:
Tubefilter: How does it feel to have one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?
Taylor Davis: It doesn’t even feel real! When I first started my channel over five and a half years ago I never would have dreamed that I would reach one million subscribers. I have such an amazing audience on my YouTube channel and I am so grateful for their support because I certainly wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without them! They’ve been so encouraging ever since I first started posting and their positivity and encouragement has really inspired me over the years to continue posting and increase the quality of my content. I just want to thank them so much for their support and let them know that it has truly been so inspiring to me.
TF: Where did you get the idea for your channel? What was your inspiration?
TD: I’ve always been a huge gamer and fan of game music, and when I was growing up there weren’t a lot of other people I knew who shared my interests and a lot of people thought that it was weird that I liked listening to game soundtracks. When I graduated college I didn’t have any plans to try a career in music and thought I would end up with a more normal business style job, and I became pretty sad that I didn’t have any plans to keep music in my life in a significant way any more. One day I was just checking out some game music on YouTube and came across some pianists who were posting videos of themselves performing video game songs and I was surprised to see how many people were interested in their videos because I thought I was one of the only people who was really passionate about this music! I figured there was no harm in trying to see if people would enjoy watching me perform game music on my violin as well so that’s kind of how it all started.
TF: How do you decide which songs to cover next?
TD: It all depends. If it’s a game cover sometimes I’ll choose songs from newer games that I’m excited about, or some of my personal favorite classic games. Whatever I choose to play, I’m always very emotionally attached to the music, whether it’s for nostalgic reasons because I’ve played the game/watched the anime/film, or if I just happen to feel moved by the music. I’m also starting to release more original songs on my channel now that I have a full original album out and that’s been so much fun to share with my audience!
TF: What is the arranging process like for the songs you cover? Is there a most difficult part?
TD: In the beginning and also now lately again I’ve been doing all the arranging myself, but I have also worked with arrangers in the past on some albums and videos. I really like arranging things myself and am happy to be doing it again though. I’ve never been formally trained in arranging or composition so it’s a constant learning process for me but it’s something that I really enjoy doing so it’s challenging but also incredibly fun.
TF: How big is the team that works on your videos, and how long does it take to make one from start to finish?
TD: Generally my videos are shot by only 1 person (Landon Donoho or Jimmy Bates from FifGen Films), sometimes it’s just me and the videographer out filming, and other times I’ll have up to 3 people on a set helping out so it’s usually a very small crew. My latest video for the new Assassin’s Creed Syndicate game was by far my most elaborate video and we had a great team of extras and a stunt team, so that was a really fun new experience for me, to be on such a large set! The teams I work with are both incredible to work with and they can turn things around on pretty tight schedules so depending on how fast we need the video they’ve always been able to make it happen!
TF: What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen on tour so far?
TD: That’s a tough question! This is my first tour so everything has felt really new to me and I’m still getting used to the lifestyle, but I’ve had so much fun and can’t wait to get on the road again next year. I think the most unusual thing (in a very good way) for me has been interacting with so many of my fans in person for the first time. I am so used to performing to a camera or in my studio and a lot of the time I’m working by myself, so this has been such a different experience actually seeing a live audience each night, feeling their energy during the performance, and then staying after to meet with them at the end of the shows. It’s been a little hard to get used to, honestly, and so many of them have shared very emotional and inspiring things with me so I feel very privileged to be in the position I’m in right now and have the opportunity to be touring like this and to be performing for such a nice group of people every night. It’s really a dream come true.
TF: You must get compared to Lindsey Stirling a lot, given how similar your videos are to some of hers. Have you ever been confused for her?
TD: A couple of people have told me that they loved me on America’s Got Talent, but they’re thinking of Lindsey for that one because I’ve never been on TV before! I really have a ton of respect for what Lindsey does and from meeting her a couple of times I think she’s a great performer and person, but I do feel that we both have very different and unique styles of performing and playing the violin.
TF: Going forward, how do you plan to balance your covers with original songs? Do you have a specific schedule in mind?
TD: I don’t have a specific schedule in mind for balancing covers and originals at the moment but I do want to release more original music in the future. I am going to start working on a new album of original music when I get back from my tour in November so I’ll definitely be posting more original music videos next year than I did this past year. I love doing the covers too so I’m excited for more of those as well!
TF: What’s next for your channel? Any fun plans?
TD: No crazy plans at the moment! I have a lot of new video ideas for next year, and I hope to continue trying some new things with my videos to see how my audience reacts and what they most enjoy seeing as well. My audience is so important to me so I always love seeing what they like about a particular song/video and I also really like seeing what the most popular requests are as well because those are always fun to do!