Published July 02, 2013
LOS ANGELES – It’s the stuff dreams are made of – YouTube style.
Kait Weston has been pursuing a career in music for six years. Three years ago, she decided that instead of pursuing a major label or trying out again for "American Idol" or "The Voice," social media would instead be her platform.
“The first two years I spent auditioning for ‘Idol,’ ‘X Factor,’ ‘The Voice’ and ‘America’s Got Talent’ and had no luck," she told FOX411's Pop Tarts column. "That is when I decided to put covers on YouTube and I slowly built an online presence for myself."
That was a good call.
“I built my YouTube presence by collaborating with other YouTube artists, which helped bring in a bigger audience,” Weston explained. “I would also look for songs that were rising on the charts, or already at number one. Those were the songs that people were searching for on the Internet.”
So Weston would cover the most popular songs on the Internet and lend them her unique style, which gained her an online following that included producers Madison Jones and Suzanne de Passe, who eventually took on a management role.
“Suzanne and I heard her on YouTube, we were told about her, and how good her views and subscriber numbers and significant social media profile were for a young artist doing it on her own," Jones said. "Suzanne has discovered artists from Lionel Richie to Rick James and DeBarge and she knew right away Kait was special. Kait is part of a generation of recording artists that have a direct relationship to her fans, cut their own music videos and talk directly to them.”
Jones and de Passe pitched their new client for a new big-screen version of "Romeo and Juliet" starring Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth and Ed Westwick. That was also a good call. Weston was chosen to sing two songs -- “Fly” and “Carry Me” -- on the soundtrack. Her voice also graces the online trailer for the film, slated to hit theaters on October 11.
But it turns out her big break almost didn’t happen. There was some doubt earlier this year when or even if audiences would see the Carlo Carlei-directed and Julian Fellowes written “Romeo and Juliet,” with multiple studios concerned today’s young generation was just not interested.
“Hollywood didn’t initially believe young audiences would go and see Shakespeare and of course ‘Romeo & Juliet’ can’t have a sequel as the main characters die at the end. But the producers were smart about it and hired their own social media team to get the word out online,” Jones explained. “The response was overwhelmingly positive. The ‘Twilight’ and ‘Hunger Games’ crowd poured in.”
Weston’s success may not have happened overnight the way it does for winners of “Idol,” but it represents an emerging vehicle for hopefuls willing to bypass Hollywood machine and go directly to their audiences via the massive reach of social media.
"I never thought I would be singing on a trailer full of Oscar-nominated actors and actresses," she said. "I really hope that comes as inspiration for people.”