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.
DSharp‘s approach to violin performance is proving to be a hit on the world’s top video site. The musician, whose real name is Derryck Gleaton, has pulled in more than one million subscribers by producing and performing emotive, passionate covers of pop and hip-hop hits on his violin. In addition to his reimagined versions of popular songs, he also uses his YouTube channel (which is partnered with Collab) to share some original compositions of his own. Outside of his online video work, he’s also active as a DJ.
Given his rising status on YouTube, we chatted with him about what he’s accomplished so far:
Tubefilter: How does it feel to have more than one million subscribers on your channel? What do you have to say to your fans?
DSharp: To be honest, I expected to have some huge emotional moment with crying and shouting when I saw that number change to 1,000,000. But that wasn’t the case. It was more of a mindset shift. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am SOOOO thankful for everyone that supports my stuff. Hitting a million subscribers on YouTube really made me put things in perspective more. This is no longer merely a hobby. This is no longer “Oh yeah D, just post a video every now and then when you can, you’re good.” This is serious stuff! I’m not just doing this for myself. People are actually being reached all around the world and it’s amazing and humbling and exciting.
To all the people that ride with me and support the projects that I put out, I love you forever and every one of you makes life more awesome. I’m so glad my music is resonating in your souls and (I hope) inspiring you to be free, open, and happy…even if just for a few minutes at a time.
TF: What is your background with the violin and what do you like about it as an instrument?
DS: I started playing viola actually (I picked up the violin a few years later) back when I was 11 years old. I was immediately drawn to it when I first got it and honestly couldn’t put the thing down! The coolest thing about it for me is the fact that there are so many sounds and styles you can do with the one instrument. It’s so versatile. Classical is dope and all, but there is SO much more you can do with it if you just open your mind a little more.
TF: What would you say are the qualities that best describe your personal style on the violin?
DS: I really feel like I’m singing when I play the violin! I feel like I am communicating with you through the notes, the ornamentation, the rhythms, all the way down to the vibratos and bow strokes. Sometimes you may feel what I feel or feel something else and I am completely okay with that!
TF: When making videos, how do you balance your actual violin playing with your on-screen performance, personality, and charisma?
DS: There honestly isn’t a certain balance I have in mind! I just try to be myself on camera and let what I’m feeling from the music be showcased without holding anything back. If there’s a point in the song where I want to put the violin down and dance, I’ll do just that because I hope you’ll dance with me.
TF: What role do your DJing skills play on your YouTube channel?
DS: Even though I don’t DJ a lot on my channel, it actually has a lot to do when it comes to picking the music that i’m going to cover. I’m always listening out for whats hot and what will get a crowd moving. Often the high energy songs you see me do on YouTube are some of the same songs that I will do (or do a remix of) when I’m performing and DJing at a club or party! The slower, more emotional songs, don’t make it into my DJ sets unfortunately. When I DJ and perform live, it’s all about energy, dancing, and living your best life at that moment.
TF: You’ve been on YouTube a long time. What is the most significant way in which you think the site has changed since you started making videos?
DS: My favorite ways that YouTube has changed over the years are all in terms of the creators honestly. It’s a platform that welcomes so many types of art and entertainment. You can truly find whatever your thing is on YouTube and it has become more of a community of unique, creative, hardworking people. That’s beautiful.
TF: On a similar note, how do you think the site will change in the future?
DS: I have no idea to be honest! But I hope they will continue to make changes necessary to make the community as open, welcoming, encouraging, and rewarding to newer creators as possible so that YouTube can be here to stay for generations to come.
TF: Beyond music/DJing, what are some of your other interests?
DS: I love traveling and experiencing different cultures which I am very blessed that my music has made possible for me to do a good bit of. But really, I’m a pretty simple guy. I just love hanging with dope people. I’m obsessed with horror movies. I love nightlife, loud dance music, a good steak, and sharing a hookah and couple drinks with my friends. See…I’m simple, guys!
TF: What’s next for your channel? Any fun plans?
DS: All I’m gonna say is lookout for more variety on my channel in the coming weeks. I’m not gonna leave you hanging on the music side, of course, but there’s a few more dimensions of DSharp that I want to share with you as well soon.