YouTube Star Ricky Dillon on New Single & Success: 'It Kind of Freaked Me Out, But in a Good Way'
Ricky Dillon didn't make his way onto the Billboard charts in typical fashion; he YouTubed his way there.
The 23-year-old YouTube star told Billboard he first started making videos on his family's giant VHS camera when he was just 5 years old back in the '90s. He would make homemade commercials and a re-creation of a Batman movie with friends.
Then, Dillon discovered YouTube and gradually became an online sensation. He now has 2.5 million YouTube subscribers and 2.13 million Twitter followers -- but his real passion is music.
Dillon charted two entries on the Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks chart in 2014, going as high as No. 8 with "Ordinary" and No. 10 with "Nobody."
"It kind of freaked me out at first, but in a good way," Dillon told Billboard. "It's overwhelming but really cool that people support my music."
The rising pop singer will release his new single and music video "Beat" on Monday. Dillon said this was the first song he wrote entirely on his own, and that it is completely different compared to his other music.
"The song is kind of about how when you listen to a song, you get put into a trance and you just can't help but dance," Dillon says. "It's kind of a song about a song. It's kind of dark -- most of my songs are light and upbeat. This one's got more of like a dark feel and the vocals are more my niche."
Because "Beat" is taking Dillon's music in a new direction, he wanted the video to match the dark theme of the song. He took inspiration from Kiesza's "Hideaway" and Miley Cyrus' "Start All Over" because he liked the one-shot videos and street-dancing techniques they used.
Dillon will perform "Beat" live on Saturday at VidCon in Anaheim, Calif., which kicked off this week. Although he said he's nervous, he can't wait for his fans to hear the new tune. He also has a meet-and-greet on Friday for 500 lucky followers.
Besides making appearances at what Dillon calls the "giant convention for all things YouTube," he's focusing on making videos for fans and finishing his next EP, which he says will come out in October or November. He is also going on tour with his friend and fellow YouTuber Trevor Moran in the fall.
Many of Dillon's friends are YouTube stars, just like him. After dropping out of college in his second year and moving to L.A., he said he's met almost every famous YouTuber there is. But his dream collaboration? Bethany Mota.
"We've been friends for a while. We've tried to collab before, but she's been busy and I've been busy. It just hasn't happened yet," Dillon says. "She has a million talents, so it wouldn't be a basic video. We would have to do something crazy because she's so talented. Maybe a fun dance video, but I can't dance that well."
Fans can preorder "Beat" on iTunes now, and check out the video on Dillon's YouTube page on Monday.
Check out "Ordinary" below: