out perform // outlast // out work
I used to have this dream that one day I would make something that really caught on- some video or article, something that everyone wanted to show to all their friends. It wasn’t that I wanted celebrity status, I just wanted to know that people were into something I’d made. Flash back in time to two years ago. A couple of new guys, brothers, start training as waiters at the restaurant I was working at. Funny guys, down-to-earth, the kind of guys you’d want to have over for dinner. I worked with them for probably a month or so before I found out that they were musicians. One of the brothers had started his own music channel on YouTube, featuring himself, his siblings, sometimes even a mob of cousins, aunts, his mom, etc. One afternoon I had the chance to go listen to the brothers practicing their music in person. I was shocked. Nathan Leach was so comfortable and confident in his voice, and his brother, Ben, was a great compliment. I knew then that I had witnessed true musical talent, free of computer effects and editing, just pure, clean voice. The Leach brothers and I eventually left that restaurant, but we remained distant friends (though spread out all across South Carolina for school). Nathan continued to record his videos by himself or with Ben or Eva, their younger sister for a couple of years. Then came January 25, 2015.
I was absentmindedly perusing Facebook when I stumbled upon an article by The San Francisco Globe entitled “Talented Siblings Sing ‘Hero’ in a beautiful duet. My jaw dropped. There on my screen were the faces of my friend Nathan and his sister Eva staring back at me. I clicked back to YouTube to discover that the views on this video had already climbed by several hundred thousand. The next day one of Nathan’s friends posted “Help [Nathan] get 1 million views on YouTube by the end of the night!” None of us could have guessed what was in store. Over the next week, dozens of websites began to pick up the story using attention-grabbing titles like “Mom Starts Filming Her 2 Shy Kids. Seconds later? I Gasped.” and “Shy Siblings Have Incredible Harmony”. Celebrities started to watch and share the video as well, including YouTube sensations Walk Off the Earth, “Little People Big World”‘s Matt Rolloff, and Glenn Beck. In real time we watched the video spread across the world, surpassing 11,000,000 views (that’s 11 million) in a few short weeks. News stations and late night shows started contacting Nathan, and for a while every eye seemed to be on him. Amidst all the people grabbing at him, I had the opportunity to talk with Nathan about these experiences.
[I began by opening the floor to Nathan to talk a little bit about himself and his channel]
Nathan: Originally, I started the channel to get myself playing guitar again. It was freshman year of college, and I had stopped taking lessons my junior year of high school. I felt like I was straying away from my musical roots, and I felt like I needed to pursue music myself in order to explore what I could do with it. The channel forces me to not only constantly discover new music and broaden my musical tastes, but to also challenge myself to constantly improve. The channel has given me an avenue to have good times with friends through the collaborative process, some friends I never would have known to be musically talented! Some highlights of the channel have been reconnecting with friends from elementary school who see the post on their Facebook feed, having our video posted on the Walk Off the Earth page, and getting some free stuff from Jimmy Kimmel!
I just want to thank everyone for your continued support for our music, it means the world to me!! I had no idea that we would ever have this much attention, so it’s all very humbling to hear so much love for our videos. I also want to thank the San Francisco Globe, Glen Beck, and Walk Off the Earth for sharing our video. Through them, our video reached a much larger audience than I could have ever deemed possible! Thanks so much guys!
Nathan’s journey (and his family’s) is a great reminder to me of why I write these interviews. I find people that are so humble and kind in spite of their obvious talent, and I can’t help but want to tell the world about them. Nathan’s success does not depend on gaining more fame or money. Success is making the world a better place, and in that regard, he’s definitely found it.
Proud to know and proud to share this remarkable story, I’m Chancy Johnson, here to bring them~
Out of the Woodwork.