The saying goes: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. With over 50 fans posting videos of themselves singing along to singer/songwriter Priscilla Renea's original tracks on Youtube, the newcomer already knows the feeling.
It all started in Vero Beach, Florida, where Renea would perform for more than 30,000 of her devoted followers -- from the comfort of her bedroom. "I made a YouTube channel and I just started posting videos for the purpose of fun and to let people see that I could sing," says the 20-year-old. "I didn't really expect other people to see them, and I definitely didn't expect this type of outcome."
Youtube viewers weren't the only ones watching. After performing on MTV's "Say What? Karaoke" in 2007 -- which boosted her Youtube hits to nearly 2 million and her MySpace plays to over half a million, according to Renea -- she caught the attention of Power Entertainment and Capitol Records executives. In 2009, she signed a deal with the labels.
Now, the Youtube sensation -- who released an EP of her greatest YouTube hits called "Hello My Apple," in March -- is ready for stardom with the release of her debut album, "Jukebox," on December 1st. Produced by Benny Blanco (Britney Spears, 3OH!3) and Lil' Ronnie (Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly), her first single, the catchy "Dollhouse," has sold 37,000 digital downloads, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
Other hit-makers on the set include several in-house Power Entertainment talents like Brian Kidd (Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Nappy Roots) and the power-house Danish duo, Soulshock & Karlin (Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Keyshia Cole, JoJo). So far, out of eight self-penned songs that she presented to Capitol during her audition, six made the cut on the 11-track album.
Renea credits her songwriting ability to her love of writing prose and poetry. "Most of my songs are like stories: I start at the beginning and I finish at the end, which is how I write always," she says. "A lot of writers start with the hook. I can't do that. I have to start with the verses because I have to know where I'm going."
With that said, Renea isn't just a bubble-gum pop Katy Perry clone. Much like a jukebox, she best describes her sound as "something for everyone. When you first start, people can't help but pigeon-hole you and compare you to someone else. But, I don't mind that for now because once they hear the rest of my music, they'll understand."