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    19 Super-Famous Celebs Who Were Literally Discovered On YouTube As Children

    Turns out Ari didn't get signed because of Victorious!

    1. Ariana Grande

    David Crotty / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images, Ariana Grande / YouTube / Via

    Ari was obviously already famous after appearing as Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon show Victorious, but it was her YouTube videos that actually got her signed. A friend sent Republic Records CEO Monte Lipman some of Ariana's YouTube covers, and the rest is history.

    2. Shawn Mendes

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    Shawn mainly got famous through Vine before becoming a mainstream pop artist, but he started on YouTube. He'd actually been posting videos since the eighth grade!

    3. Dua Lipa

    Dave J Hogan / Getty Images, Moonchild / YouTube / Via

    Dua began posting song covers on YouTube at age 14. She called it a way to create a profile, and wouldn't get signed until a few years later, after working as a model. She called YouTube "kind of how everything started," saying it's when she started taking music seriously.

    4. Bo Burnam

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    Bo initially went viral on YouTube for his comedy song "My Whole Family" only a year after the site's launch. He had initially only posted the video so his brother at college could see it. He continued to post his songs, and an agent's assistant eventually found him on YouTube, which led to him signing with an agent, recording an album, and doing stand-up.

    5. Tori Kelly

    Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images, Tori Kelly / YouTube / Via

    Tori began writing music at 15 and posting it on Myspace, then moved to posting song covers on YouTube. However, it'd take until 2012 for her to have a real viral hit and release her self-made EP. In the next few years, she began to work with big names like Scooter Braun and Sam Smith, and in 2015, she was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy.

    6. Allesia Cara

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    Allesia started posting covers to YouTube as a teenager and was discovered there by a talent scout, who told her to write some original songs. "Here" was the first song she ever released — it saw almost overnight success and led to Allesia going from YouTube cover artist to promising young superstar. Today, Allessia is on her third studio album.

    7. Darren Criss

    Mike Marsland / Getty Images for the Red Sea International Film Festival, Team StarKid / YouTube / Via

    Darren achieved viral fame after starring in the Harry Potter parody musical A Very Potter Musical, and though his big break didn't come until he was cast in Glee, YouTube was "the first taste of people paying attention to me,” Darren told the Los Angeles Times. “It was overwhelming; it happened by accident. It was right at the advent of the viral video.”

    8. Dylan O'Brien

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    When Dylan auditioned for Teen Wolf (his first major acting role), creator Jeff Davis said his résumé was just two YouTube links. He quickly became a fan favorite on the show and later starred in The Mazer Runner series.

    9. Justin Bieber

    Emma McIntyre / Getty Images, Justin Bieber / YouTube / Via

    Justin's probably the first person you think of when you think of stars who got famous off YouTube. He used to perform on the streets in Canada, and his mom would post videos of him singing online. Music exec Scooter Braun discovered his videos, leading to a 2008 audition with Usher, who championed Justin's early career. His first single, "One Time," went platinum.

    10. Kate Upton

    JB Lacroix / Getty Images, Hot Celebs Home / YouTube / Via

    Kate was already a model and had covered Sports Illustrated, but she became mega-famous online following a clip of her doing the Dougie at a sports game.

    11. Christina Grimmie

    Jason Laveris / FilmMagic via Getty Images, zeldaxlove64 Christina Grimmie / YouTube / Via

    You may know her from The Voice, but Grimmie actually got her start posting covers of songs on YouTube under the username @zeldaxlove64, where she amassed millions of followers. She went on to mainstream success, until she was tragically killed after a performance in 2016.

    12. Lilly Singh

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    After years of growing success on YouTube, Lilly was hired as the first openly bisexual BIPOC to helm a talk show with her late-night show A Little Late With Lilly Singh. The show was canceled after two seasons, but Lilly is still developing unscripted content with Universal, so it's safe to say she's not going anywhere.

    13. Soulja Boy

    Jerritt Clark / Getty Images, Soulja Boy / YouTube / Via

    Soulja Boy started posting videos just three months after YouTube's inception, gaining fans on the site and starting to perform at events. He then posted a snippet of "Crank That Soulja Boy" (including the dance), which quickly became a viral hit, with everyone rushing to copy the dance. It was later officially released by Interscope Records, cementing his success.

    14. Chloe and Halle Bailey

    Christopher Polk / E! Entertainment / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images, / Via Chloe x Halle / YouTube

    Chloe x Halle had been posting song covers since they were 11 and 12, and eventually went viral for their "Pretty Hurts" cover on YouTube, leading to Beyoncé herself signing them to her management company. They've since released two albums, both of which were nominated for multiple Grammys, and toured with Bey.

    15. Megan Thee Stallion

    Aaron J. Thornton / Getty Images, Nayda Montana / YouTube / Via

    Megan's freestyles started to go viral on YouTube while she was still a college student, especially when she dominated against her male opponents in cyphers. She then began to release music on Soundcloud, and some of her songs went viral on YouTube before she signed with a label and found more mainstream success. While Megan's success was also influenced by Soundcloud, Instagram, and TikTok, YouTube was definitely another big part of her early career.

    16. 5 Seconds of Summer

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    According to Niall of One Direction, the band discovered the pop group on YouTube and decided to invite the quartet to tour with them. The group had been posting YouTube covers since 2011.

    17. Charlie Puth

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    Charlie was a student at Berklee College of Music when he was discovered by Ellen DeGeneres's team on YouTube for his cover of "Someone Like You." He was invited on the show and signed to her label, and continued to upload songs onto YouTube as his mainstream fame grew. He'd later sing on the Fast and Furious/Paul Walker tribute "See You Again" and tour with Meghan Trainor. He's since deleted many of his old videos, but you can still find some of his old comedy songs online.

    18. Ed Sheeran

    Jake Gosling / YouTube / Via, Mike Marsland / WireImage via Getty Images

    Ed started out performing at local venues and often posted videos of himself singing on YouTube, where he gained a lot of his popularity. He wouldn't reach real mainstream success until he was discovered by Jamie Foxx on his Sirius radio show and signed with a label, but YouTube was one of the places he first attracted fans!

    19. And finally, Austin Mahone

    Monica Schipper / Getty Images for Boohoo, Austin Mahone / YouTube / Via

    Austin first gained fame through YouTube and other social media sites, posting covers of popular songs. Eventually he was signed and released three albums — his initial rise in popularity has often been compared to Justin Bieber's, though he hasn't reached that level of success.

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