TEEN pop prince Jai Waetford was unearthed by X Factor but now wants to be jettisoned to viral success via YouTube.
CHECK OUT HIS X FACTOR AUDITION HERE:
Waetford, who turns 16 this weekend, finished up school at the end of the year to focus on his music career.
The precocious singer and songwriter started getting noticed for his on-camera skills when he hosted the red carpet at a Sony Foundation charity event in October and then as a Tweejay at the ARIA Awards.
Waetford already had an enviable fanbase in the wake of the television talent quest, even though he maintained a relatively low profile to satisfy his school commitments.
His social media following continues to grow with more than 300,000 Facebook and Instagram fans matched by more than 75,000 YouTube and 155,000 Vevo subscribers.
His second single Get To Know You has clocked up more than eight million views since it was released in March last year.
To further boost his online appeal, the video for new single Shy features leading Australian vlogger and singer Kimmi Smiles.
Launched on Friday as the Shy EP debuted at No.4 on iTunes, the clip has had more than 65,000 views already.
Waetford is a keen student of the music business and has devoted as much of his time since X Factor working out the machinations of the industry as he has spent songwriting.
He said promoting his music and talent via online media was imperative when “radio doesn’t want to play a 16-year-old.”
“The internet is where my fans are so I decided to set up the YouTube channel and explore that more,” he said.
“YouTube subscribers are the hardest group of online fans to earn so I am doing all right with 75,000 since I started the channel four or five months ago.
“If it doesn’t work, we will try another way but it’s not like I am old and struggling. I’ve got all the time in the world to experiment.”
The world’s talent scouts are keeping a closer eye on Australian artists plying their trade via social media in the wake of the chart performances by teen sensations 5 Seconds of Summer and Troye Sivan who were discovered via the video platform.
Waetford said it was the only way to connect with tween and teen fans, besides in-store appearances, when touring is not an option for a young artist.
The Shy EP wisely includes a handful of covers of current hits, including Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud and Sam Smith’s I’m Not The Only One.
He continues to work on his own songs and has had two trips to Los Angeles for writing sessions, with varying degrees of success.
“It is harder because when you are at an age when you want to start telling people what you want to do (but) a 40-year-old is not going to listen to a 16-year-old,” he said.