Landon Austin
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Landon Austin

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic

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The best journeys in life are unplanned.
On August 11th, 2007, when Landon Austin whimsically posted his cover tribute to Tay Zonday’s song “Chocolate Rain” on YouTube, just a few weeks before his freshman year of college, he had no idea of the journey that had just begun. This brief 49 second clip of Landon playing his guitar, singing enigmatic lyrics, such as “Smells a bit like oopie poopie / Coming down like chocolate rain,” was actually his first YouTube video, ever, and when he decided to shroud the scene in dark lighting, hide his face with a baseball hat, and title the video “John Mayer responds to Tay Zonday Chocolate Rain! Cover!!!” He had no idea that these lyrics would come true as he started a chocolate shit storm of all his own. - Producer Cloud


When did you decide to leave Far North Dallas?

I left when I was 18 and now I’m 24 and a half [laughs]. I left to go to Belmont University, a music/business school where I graduated. I’m one of the few who did — I feel like a lot of people just started touring.

When did you know you wanted to do something with music?

First time I realized it was a reality was when I did the Texas 10 under 20 [a contest for guitarists 20 years old and younger]. I was 13 years old.

When did you start singing?

I competed in the Texas 10 under 20 competition as a guitar player, and beforehand I sent in a song with me singing in it. They liked it so much they made me do a 30-minute set with songs I had to come up with just for the show.

What was your next big competition? I heard you were a finalist for a Doritos contest.

It was my freshman year in college and there was this annual competition that Doritos puts on. That year, my dad read in an article that they were looking for original artists. I entered through online voting. I made it to the top three. Will.i.am actually critiqued my song. I didn’t win — my friend did — but it gave me a fan base. The song I used was a song I wrote called “Waitin’” for Taste Addison.

Rumor has it you got an offer to be on “The Voice.” What came of that?

I’ve been contacted by “The Voice,” “The X Factor” and “America’s Got Talent.” I went to Los Angeles and “The Voice” asked me to be on the show. This was back in May 2012. At the time I had a development deal and EP I was working on in Nashville. So I actually turned down “The Voice” because they have rights to your songs for a year and a half.

So do you have a CD?

Every month I release an original song. It’s unique because it lets me do a nice music video for every song. It takes a lot of work to get a music video done. Normally an artist releases an album once a year, but if I do a song once a month it’s kinda different.

Tell us about your YouTube channel.

Well, I graduated with a business degree, worked at State Farm and I hated it. I quit and became a valet so I had time to tour. I emailed a lot of people who had big YouTube channels — the ones that make money. This guy Luke Connor was the only one who replied, because he liked my songs. I went to Los Angeles to visit him for advice and filmed my original song “Where We Used to Run.”

Have you made any money off YouTube?

Yeah, more than at State Farm. You get money through advertisements on videos, song sales and endorsements. YouTube is giving me enough of an audience that I can tour and people come. Last night I played at the Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum and 100 people came. Last time there were only 15. There were these girls who drove four hours to see my show and wanted to hang out, but I couldn’t that night, so I went and got breakfast with them at 9 this morning.

That’s really nice of you. Tell me about your fans.

Anywhere from 13-year-old to 24-year-old females.

Why do you think that is?

I write girly pop songs — I’m not going to lie [laughs]. I like the music I write, and it’s pop. Straight-up pop.

How do you come up with your songs?

I’m not a sentimental singer-songwriter. I don’t need to light candles or drink tea. It’s not much of a process. I’m probably the least artsy musician ever.

Why do you say that?

I make songs because I like to perform for people. I don’t sit down and keep a diary or a journal. Half the time I write a song because I made up a story in my head.

What’s your own favorite song?

“Once in a Lifetime.” It’s about meeting someone and realizing they are your once in a lifetime. I’m not at that point where I want to get married. But this song gives you hope there’s a “once in a lifetime” out there.

Speaking of once-in-a-lifetime events, I heard you met Taylor Swift.

I covered a Taylor Swift song on my YouTube. A week later my phone starts blowing up. My friends told me she saw my video and tweeted about it. She wrote, “I just saw Landon Austin’s cover of ‘Sparks Fly’ and I really liked it.” I told my friends we had to go get a cookie cake to celebrate. I walked to the grocery store 30 seconds from my place, and no lie, there she was. In Nashville. Thirty seconds from my house. Two days later, I got to sit with her parents at her concert. I’ve seen her dad but haven’t seen her much.

What are you doing now?

Music and YouTube. My goal is to get to the size where I can do this in the long run. - The Advocate


The next Justin Beiber might have made a recent stop in Wyandotte.

Teen heartthrob Landon Austin played at Tongue’s Coffee in Wyandotte on April 2 to a capacity crowd of mostly teenage girls. Austin is a self-proclaimed “professional YouTuber.”

The 24-year-old Dallas native has perfected a mix of boyish good looks and Southern charm, while winning over parents with his sincerity and talent.

He manages himself without an agent, and markets himself through online videos of not only his peppy pop music, but his day-to-day life and tales from his tour. Austin has become his own business — and he’s good at it. But beneath that business model appears a humble musician with a great deal of talent.

When Austin was a junior in high school he won the Texas 10 under 20 competition and, in 2008, was voted a top three finalist of the national Doritos Crash the Super Bowl competition by online voters. He was then flown to Los Angeles to record a music video for his original song, “Waitin,’” and performed at the Saturday Night Super Bowl block party in Phoenix.

Part of his performance was aired during the Super Bowl pregame show and “Waitin’” was released as a single on iTunes by Interscope Records.

Armed with a camcorder, his guitar and his trusty sidekick, Aaron Lagrone, he travels through towns winning the hearts of teenage girls. Austin and Lagrone are fraternity brothers who both studied business at Belmont University in Nashville, where Austin now lives. They have an evolving tour set up with about a dozen cities.

They had a show set in Toronto, but were turned away at the border because of a work-visa error. After each show they sell and autograph T-shirts, CDs and posters. Their YouTube site also generates revenue with 105,000 subscribers and almost 10 million views after a year and a half.

“It’s doing very well,” he said, but added iTunes sales generate much more.

Austin releases one original song a month.
“It keeps things going,” he said. “It’s kind of what I’ve decided to do.

“I’m always pushing a new original song on iTunes. The last one debuted at six on the singer-songwriter charts.”

He told his fans at one break between songs about meeting Taylor Swift at his local Nashville grocery store and how thrilled he was about her tweeting about him and liking his cover of her song.

“She gave me a big hug,” he said. “It was really cool.”

Swift also is famous for writing her own music. Justin Bieber got his start on YouTube, as well.

“I started posting cover songs and they got a lot of views, so about three months ago I started releasing my own music and they got even more views,” Austin said.

Tongue’s was his only Michigan stop and the first time he’s been here. He’ll be in Chicago next.

“Austin is a genuine guy who cares about his fans,” Tongue’s owner Greg Tongue said. “We had fans from all over Michigan.”

Jennifer Poster of Lincoln Park and Krystal Golden of Chesterfield said they’ve been following Austin for about a year. Hannah and Lizzie Myrab of Trenton, ages 15 and 12, respectively, not only watched the show, but also won dinner with the singer at Portofino restaurant.

“He’s really humble,” they said.
Austin played many of his own songs, as well as songs by Taylor Swift, the Beatles and more. In between songs, he told stories and joked with the crowd. The packed house sang along with all of his songs and waited afterward to meet him and get his autograph. Austin spent time speaking with everyone, in between making change for merchandise sales and posing for photos with fans.

His wholesome attitude and humor seemed to charm fans and parents as Austin seemed to enjoy every second of the concert, taking time out to ask the crowd questions and capture them on film to “show his mom.”

“You may just end up on the Austin family fridge,” he told them.

Austin has a Facebook page, a Tumblr account, a Youtube channel and a Youtube Vlog. His music also can be found on iTunes.

- The News Herald


Discography

Once in a Lifetime EP

Photos

Bio

Landon has accumulated over 169,000 subscribers on Youtube and between his two channels has over 12 million video views.

Landon has toured to over 40 colleges and is currently on a Spring 2013 tour drawing 75-100 people in most major US cities.

In October 2011 Taylor Swift Tweeted about Landon to over 8 million people "Just listened to Landon Austin's cover of Sparks Fly-- I really like it!"

In December 2011 Gavid Degraw Tweeted Landon's cover of Not Over You and wrote "Fantastic!"

In January 2012 Plug In Stereo tweeted Landon's cover of Oh Darling and wrote, "I Really Dig It"

He has opened for Counting Crows, Boys Like Girls, Hanson, and Rooney as well as featured on front page of Coldplay.com

Landon's latest single "Once in a Lifetime" debuted at #6 on the itunes singer/songwriter charts.

Landon also was a top three finalist in the Doritos Crash The Super Bowl competition in 2009 and a live performance of his was aired during the Super Bowl pre-game show.