How Emma Blackery Found YouTube And Music Success By Challenging Herself To Take A Chance

"Branching out into new things is scary for anyone."

If you're a big YouTube fan, chances are you've come across some of Emma Blackery's videos — and are maybe even one of her nearly 1.5 million subscribers. But who is she when the camera stops recording? Turns out, the exact same.

For our first installment of URL to IRL, A Plus was able to ask the 26-year-old a slew of questions. Among what we asked, Blackery touched on various topics such as how to deal with haters, how being authentic with viewers is important, how stepping out of your comfort zone is necessary, how she wants her music to affect listeners, and so much more. 

"Stepping out of your comfort zone is when you stop merely existing and start living instead," the British singer-songwriter — who has songs like "Dirt" and whose debut album, Villains, is out August 31 — said, offering up advice. "That's it."

Check out the full conversation here:

A PLUS: What was it like making the transition from vlogging to music videos?

EMMA BLACKERY: Not a problem, really. I've been filming music videos since 2013, so only a year after starting my channel. It's obviously a different experience having someone else direct you, but the two experiences are so different they can't be compared.

Since becoming so well-known, what have you learned about dealing with haters?

It doesn't matter whether you deal with them or choose to ignore them and go about your day — they'll still be there. They'll take issue with everything you do, whether you try to please them or not, so you're better off just doing what you love and let them fade into the background.

Courtesy: Emma Blackery
Courtesy: Emma Blackery

Have you ever been scared of taking risks and creating content that you aren’t completely sure your fans will love? If so, how do you deal with this?

Branching out into new things is scary for anyone — no matter what line of work you're in. I always want my audience to feel involved and to enjoy what I do but, at the same time, I have an honest relationship with them. When I'm struggling, they know. When I'm taking a chance on something new, I tell them. They respect that.

Has there ever been a moment when you thought about giving up on reaching your goals? If so, how did you overcome it?

I try not to dwell on the past. It isn't healthy. I'm happy putting all of my passion into what I create, whether that's music or video content. You have to take time out for yourself and unplug from the rest of the world. Work out what makes you happy, and follow it.

What have you learned about stepping outside of your comfort zone? Why do you think it’s important for everyone to try it?

Stepping out of your comfort zone is when you stop merely existing, and start living instead. That's it.

Courtesy: Emma Blackery
Courtesy: Emma Blackery

How has fame changed the way you view yourself? How about how you view others?

You'd have to ask my therapist.

There are some very personal and vulnerable moments of you online. What made you decide to open up like this and why do you think it’s beneficial for others to open up about the less-than-perfect moments of their lives?

I've always found it hard to imagine being a creator of anything that isn't always 100 percent themselves. An audience wants to engage and connect with a real, relatable human. Someone who fucks up now and again. We live in a world filled with people who cry the second the camera's off, and Instagram pictures edited to only show the perfect moments. I think people are beginning to wake up to the idea that those images aren't the real world.

What message do you hope fans take away from your music?

Depends on the song, really! I guess in general I'd say that in spite of every cruel comment that's been thrown at me, about my style, my voice, my dancing — it doesn't matter. I'm doing what makes me happy, and that makes others happy, too.

Courtesy: Emma Blackery
Courtesy: Emma Blackery

What tips do you have for people who want to start their own YouTube channel?

I suppose I'd say "just be yourself" and make whatever you think is missing. And book therapy sessions in advance.

Which other YouTubers have you looked up to throughout your career and what is it like now being that inspirational figure to others?

Shane Dawson has always been someone who changes his content in the right way to stay relevant and engaging. I've watched him for about seven years, and to still have such an impact after so long on a platform that most people struggle with after a couple of years is really inspiring. I try not to think of myself as anywhere near that inspiring. Talks of "fame" and being an "inspiration" fill me with dread. It's an intense pressure to put on someone.

You didn’t take a traditional career path to get to where you are today. Do you think there’s a benefit to going your own way and not adhering to the usual means?

Well, I mean, it worked for me and that's the only perspective I have. If I didn't give YouTube a shot, I'd still be a waitress. If I didn't give music a shot, I wouldn't have played arenas or been featured during an Apple presentation. I hope that doesn't come across as bragging — simply that I didn't get those things by playing it safe.

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