These days, becoming a country music star doesn’t require being signed to a label and touring relentlessly.
In fact, you don't even need to leave your house.
From Colbie Caillat to Justin Bieber, a host of artists have skyrocketed from obscurity to stardom thanks to YouTube and social media.
Could cheerful country newcomer CJaye LeRose be next?
The rising star has over 2.4 million YouTube views and over 35,000 subscribers. She also has 15,000 Facebook fans and over 18,000 Twitter followers. And yes – she’s totally unsigned. The 26-year-old began posting videos of herself performing original songs on YouTube two years ago, and could be on her way to be country music’s next big thing. Her single “The Porch” debuted in May on Sirius XM’s The Highway radio station, and her first full-length album' "Date With the Tub," is due in mid-July.
But LeRose’s first priority is the still the same as it was when she started – communicating with her fans online.
“I really have made so many friends on there,” LeRose told FOX411.com of her YouTube channel. “I didn’t have any idea that I’d become so obsessed with the connection with people, but it really gave me that fulfillment, regardless if I’d gone to Nashville or not, of connecting with others and getting my music out there and feeling like I was making some sort of difference in the world. I was making so many friends, talking to them and letting people get personal with me and tell me their problems.”
LeRose is so dedicated she dropped out of college and put her all into conversing with her fans online. While she said her family thought she’d lost her mind, LeRose insisted this is how she wants to make her mark.
“When I first started YouTube, I’d probably be on there like 12 hours a day, sometimes clear until two in the morning,” LeRose continued. “I’d get every single person back. That’s a big part of who I am, being able to connect with people. The music is really important, but the people are number one.”
The Texas native’s tunes are charmingly lighthearted. The smiling songwriter strums an acoustic guitar as lyrics scroll across the screen so fans can sing along with her twang-filled ditties. She’s modeled herself after the artists she’s admired growing up, like Deana Carter and Shania Twain.
“I like the people who are kind of quirky,” LeRose explained. “That’s kind of how I think my music is; fun to listen to, something that’s kind of funny.”
Before LeRose discovered the Web as a stage for broadcasting original songs from her living room, she was uploading videos advocating pet adoption, a cause that’s remained close to her heart as her view count has grown.
“That’s been my goal, in life, and what I want to do with my music somehow—be able to spread that message,” she said. “There are all these dogs out there who need families to love them and once I started posted songs, my dog message started growing.”
LeRose’s album will be available on iTunes and Amazon July 12th. Coinciding with this release, The Highway will debut her “The Porch” music video on its social network. Until then, LeRose invites fans and friends to visit her on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
“I just love talking, so if anybody wants to drop by, I’m there all of the time,” she added.