After painstakingly growing a fan base online through social media and YouTube clips, Austin Mahone has finally transcended the “viral sensation” tag and has a hit on his hands. His RedOne-produced single “What About Love” debuted at No. 74 on last week’s Hot 100 chart after premiering on June 7, and previews the 17-year-old pop artist’s forthcoming debut full-length on Chase/Republic.
In a recent sit-down with Billboard’s William Gruger, Mahone discussed his humble career beginnings as a 15-year-old goofing around with his friend Alex on YouTube. “Sometimes we would make videos of us fighting each other or just something stupid, and sometimes I would cover songs,” says Mahone. “My first cover was ‘Beautiful Song’ by Jesse McCartney.”
Austin Mahone Makes Social 50 Chart Return
Since then, Mahone has amassed 3 million Twitter followers, scored a record deal, snagged an opening spot on Taylor Swift’s Red tour and is learning how to introduce himself as a rising pop talent. “I think it all comes down to just me being myself,” he says. “With this new album, it’s kind of like a little old-school mixed with new-school, electronic dance music with Backstreet Boys melodies. It’s a different sound, but I think a lot of people are really gonna enjoy it.”
Check out the video above to hear Mahone discuss his musical influences and hanging out with fans, and watch the official “What About Love” video (which has earned 9.4 million YouTube views since June 10) below.