YouTube musician Kurt Hugo Schneider loves local musicians Gentle Bones and The Sam Willows

YouTube-minted musician Kurt Hugo Schneider will be performing in Singapore for the first time without his usual music partner Sam Tsui at this weekend's YouTube FanFest Singapore.

When they perform as a duo, Schneider is happy to let Tsui take the microphone. With Tsui performing in Thailand, will Schneider finally be compelled to sing here?

"Maybe, we'll see," says the 26-year-old American who has 5.4 million subscribers to his YouTube channel since he started uploading videos seven years ago.

For this year's YouTube FanFest Singapore held on Saturday and Sunday - where YouTube stars meet and perform for their fans - he is here with 33 other YouTube content creators such as singer Macy Kate and comedians and rappers Fung Brothers from the United States, fashion vlogger Bubzbeauty from Hong Kong, and comic duo Munah & Hirzi and lifestyle blogger Naomi Neo from Singapore.

It is the third consecutive year the event is taking place here. More than 2,000 people attended last year's event, which featured the likes of Jenna Marbles and Ryan Higa.

Schneider's YouTube subscriber base of 5.4 million users is bigger than that of big-name pop stars British singer-songwriter Adele and Canadian singer Avril Lavigne.

In the past year, he has worked on several projects for Coca-Cola, including a recent video featuring stars such as American TV host Ryan Seacrest and former American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.

It is why Schneider, a mathematics major who graduated magna cum laude from the prestigious Yale University in 2010, has no career plans for the forseeable future beyond making music.

He tells Life!: "I love mathematics. But music and video is awesome, and I couldn't give that up."

His viral videos have led to appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Bonnie Hunt Show, and he has worked with companies including Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

His most popular video - a cover of the Nelly song Just A Dream which was viewed 97 million times - might have been five years ago.

But he is not feeling the pressure to outdo himself.

"I try not to get hung up on the actual numbers. I just really try to focus on making great videos. I don't feel external pressure, but I feel a motivation from myself to always try to be better," he says.

"As long as I keep making great stuff, I'm fine with that."

Would he ever consider doing the things other YouTubers are known for, like crazy challenges, daily vlogs or question-and-answer videos?

"I won't say 'never'. But I'm a musician, director and film-maker.

"There're many people who are much funnier than I am. Much quicker on their feet. I wish I could do daily vlogs, but I don't think I'm that type of person."

Not that he needs to. Although he declines to talk about money, online sources say he is believed to make a six-figure yearly sum from YouTube.

To Singaporean content creators, he says success on social media platforms is definitely possible.

"I've listened to Gentle Bones' song Until We Die like 10 times and he's really talented. The Sam Willows is also great and I did a video with (its frontman) Benjamin Kheng a couple of days ago," he says, referring to two popular local musicians.

Mr Gautam Anand, 45, YouTube's director of content and operations for Asia-Pacific, was also quick to attest that the site can provide a sustainable career for content creators.

He explains that those who are part of YouTube's partner programme get a cut - more than half - from all ads played when users watch their videos.

Since the site was created in 2005, a billion people worldwide now watch YouTube videos every month. According to Alexa Internet, a website that provides online traffic statistics, YouTube is now the third most visited website on the Internet - behind Google and Facebook.

Schneider's advice to budding YouTubers? "Think about why someone would want to share this video. And always do what you love.

"When you're just starting out, you can't sustain yourself obviously. But if you love it, you'll have a better shot, because you won't quit."

Book it

YouTube Fanfest Singapore 2015

When: Until Sunday (May 24, 2015)

Where: *Scape, 2 Orchard Link

Admission: A 3-day festival pass costs $155, and a 1-day show pass costs $75, more inoformation at EventClique (

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