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.
Making music of any kind requires thoughtfulness, but the required level of creativity jumps up if you’re playing “99 Red Balloons” on red balloons or dishing out some “24K Magic” with actual carrots. Those are just two inventive videos out of the dozens musician Andrew Huang has shared on his channel. Huang, who hails from Canada, has long made some of the most unusual and interesting music on YouTube, and his skills are paying off in a big way. Now that he has more than one million subscribers, we talked to him about his career:
Tubefilter: How does it feel to have more than one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?
Andrew Huang: I’m still not used to it, I don’t think I will ever understand that number. I’m immensely grateful for everyone who’s watching, and the little music community we have!
TF: What is your musical background like, and what made you first decide to translate your skills to YouTube?
AH: Most of my life has been centred around music. I had some formal training but I was (and am) so obsessed that every spare moment would also go towards experimenting, practicing, and learning more on my own. Video was something else I enjoyed exploring but it was an extremely gradual transition to becoming a YouTube creator. For a few years I was just uploading random ideas I wanted to share, and then I got excited about the community, and the possibilities that vlogging opened up, and the idea of building a channel rather than just posting random videos.
TF: Where do you get ideas for your challenges?
AH: Everything gives me an idea. There’s a part of my brain that’s always asking if what I’m experiencing could be translated musically, whether it’s a sound happening around me, an emotion I’m feeling, a phrase I read on Twitter…I also get tons of ideas from my viewers, and some of them are totally gold.
TF: How long does it take you to put together an orchestra of improvised instruments for one of your videos?
AH: Not as long as some people seem to think…but long enough that most other people wouldn’t want to do it.
TF: Have there ever been any challenges you’ve undertaken that for one reason or another did not work?
AH: I can usually tell right when an idea arrives if it won’t work out, and it’ll either be because I know it’ll be impossible for me or because I just don’t think it’ll make for an interesting video. I do have one video, “Rap but every word starts with the next letter of the alphabet,” where I wrote a couple lines and then gave up ’cause it was so difficult, and then randomly returned to it three years later and wrote the rest of it on my phone one morning in bed. That was pretty satisfying.
TF: Your videos often have nice comedic touches. Do those come with a lot of forethought, or are they more spontaneous?
AH: On the whole it’s more spontaneous, and I find that’s usually when it’s the funniest. I was on a panel recently where the moderator said my videos are often quite funny, and it was a weird for me because I don’t really think of them that way, but as he showed a bunch of clips to the audience I realized…yeah…I goof off a lot. I’m really concentrating hard on the musical part of the content; I guess the humor just creeps in everywhere because I’m a weirdo.
TF: If you could collaborate with any YouTuber or musician, who would you choose?
AH: I would bring Prince back to life!
TF: How have you managed to produce such a prolific number of albums? What steps do you take to prevent burnout?
AH: Having a lot of ideas as we mentioned earlier is probably the root of it. I try to never second-guess a musical decision, I just go. I don’t try out a million different options of things. Most of the instruments you hear on my albums are the first and only take I recorded, and they’re often parts I came up with just a moment before. I’m also pretty good about compartmentalizing which things are work and which things are fun. Work for me is editing, mixing, emails. Fun is writing, sound design, learning something new. So I totally recharge by just doing the fun things and then it doubles as actually being productive.
TF: What’s next for your channel? Any fun plans?
AH: Things are going to get epic in 2018, that’s all I can say! Outside the channel I’m also working on a few interesting tools for musicians of all skill levels. I’m super excited!