We first stumbled across Savannah Outen during one of our many YouTube binges, scrolling from song to song, playlist to playlist. Savannah’s feel good music instantly caught our attention and is something that everyone can relate to. She started her musical journey on YouTube itself, when the likes of Justin Bieber were also using it as a platform for music. Having been in the music industry for over 10 years now, she has worked incredibly hard to get to where she is today.
Savannah’s hard work has most definitely paid off with over 102k followers on Twitter, 23k followers on Instagram and 600k subscribers and over 1 million views on YouTube, Savannah is smashing the music industry. Now, she’s working with producers who have helped create music for superstars such as Beyoncé and Rihanna.
We spoke to Savannah about her journey, her tips and tricks for keeping a healthy voice and how to be present in the moment.
“Just be in the moment. Just be. Whatever that means to you, just be in the present.”
Taylor Magazine: You started singing through YouTube… why did you decide to focus your singing through this platform?
Savannah Outen: I was one of the first musicians on YouTube alongside Justin Bieber, Mia Rose and a few others. In general, not a lot of people were doing music on it at all. The idea came about from my parents – they were like, ‘Let’s post a video on this thing called YouTube!’ We had no intention of creating supporters or a fan base, we just wanted to post it on there in case someone from the label side wanted to know more. We posted the first one and it started getting likes and comments – I was so excited! I was also kind of freaked out too thinking, ‘Who are these people?!’ I kept going into my Dad’s office and filming videos in front of the white closet. My Dad would be behind the camera and it would be the worst quality video ever. It’s so funny to look back now, as it’s so different. I’m so thankful for YouTube, because it’s really been such a cool experience and outlet for me to reach people all over the world and gain a really great support network.
Taylor Magazine: Do you think YouTube will always be a platform for people to rise to stardom, or do you think it’s becoming more of a social media channel? What’s the future for it in your eyes?
Savannah Outen: YouTube changes every day. It’s definitely not as music driven as it used to be — it’s mainly about bloggers, everyday content and beauty gurus, which is awesome, but now there are so many people creating content on YouTube so the focus is all over the place. Everyone is wanting a touch of something else.
Taylor Magazine: Tell us a little bit more about your single ‘Boys’ — where did you get the inspiration from for this song and what is your favourite thing about it?
Savannah Outen: ‘Boys’ was a song that I wrote around three years ago — I was inspired by this guy that I passed on a street in New York and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, who is he?’ Sadly, I never saw him again. He was so handsome so it got me thinking.
Taylor Magazine: You’ve worked with producers who have created content for the likes of Beyoncé and Rihanna — that must have been so exciting!
Savannah Outen: It was amazing. I am so lucky to work with such cool people who have worked with my idols and favourite musicians. It’s so fun to just go into the studio and have no expectations and no clue what is going to come out of it — dive in head first and pour out your heart and soul. You just see what happens. At the end of the session, you’ve come up with a song and it’s so exciting. It’s gone from literally nothing to a fully finished song. Every experience is so fun — it’s been an awesome team to work with.
Taylor Magazine: It must be so rewarding as well, going into the studio and not having a clue what you’re going to do and then you come out with this amazing song. It must be really great?
Savannah Outen: Oh it is, and it’s so therapeutic! Some of the time I’ll have something weighing heavily on my mind, or there’s something that I’m going through and I just want to get it off my chest — working in the studio helps that massively, it’s so rewarding.
“You don’t need to change for anyone, just be who you are, just be yourself. Everything will work out. I think the good thing I’ve learnt is trust your gut — stay true to yourself.”
Taylor Magazine: What would you say has been your personal secret to success?
Savannah Outen: I’m still working every day towards it, but I definitely have so many things that I want to accomplish and I’m just getting started. I have learned a lot in the 10 years that I’ve been doing this! The main thing is to just be true to myself. I’ve worked with a lot of people that have tried to tell me that if I had blonde hair it would work, basically if I was not me then it would work. That is a lot of what my single ‘Coins’ is about as well — you don’t need to change for anyone.
Taylor Magazine: That’s great advice, especially for anyone thinking about entering this industry. What advice would you give to someone that is thinking about going down a similar path?
Savannah Outen: Everybody is going to say this… but never give up. Be persistent, because you will be told no so many times and be knocked down or discouraged. If it is truly something you want to do and you can’t picture a day without music, you have to keep going. If you don’t give up, something will happen. You might get frustrated and want to speed things up, but sadly that’s not how this industry works.
Taylor Magazine: As a singer, it must be really important to keep your voice healthy and make sure you’re training your voice. What do you do to keep your voice healthy and how do you make sure it’s always as good as it can possibly be?
Savannah Outen: I actually never really used to take care of my voice — I never had a voice lesson or anything. About a year ago, I met with this girl called Cindy Vaughn, who lives in Colombus, Ohio. We hit it off really well and she offered me Skype lessons! So I meet with her on Skype once a month and we go through everything — she’s really taught me how to keep my voice healthy and sing properly without damaging my voice. She’s given me cool vocal warm-ups that I can do before a show or a gig. For a while, I didn’t really understand that your voice is an instrument and you have to treat it well. You need to exercise it, just like a basketball player would exercise their arms and legs.
Taylor Magazine: Do you play any instruments or is it just singing that you focus on?
Savannah Outen: I play guitar — I’ve been playing it since I was 13. I love it so much, it calms me down. I really want to start playing the drums. I’m an amazing air drummer, but I can’t actually drum properly.
Taylor Magazine: What is the one song you absolutely love to sing?
Savannah Outen: Okay yeah, this is a fun question — I absolutely love singing Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley. It’s a really deep song, it’s so beautiful. When I’m doing karaoke with friends, I absolutely love singing Roses by Outkast. It’s so care-free and there are such good vibes around it. People are singing karaoke to Justin Bieber or The Rolling Stones nowadays, so no-one expects Roses to come up!
“Never give up. Be persistent, because you will be told no so many times and be knocked down or discouraged. If it is truly something you want to do and you can’t picture a day without music, you have to keep going. If you don’t give up, something will happen. You might get frustrated and want to speed things up, but sadly that’s not how this industry works.”
Taylor Magazine: Who, or what, is your dream collaboration?
Savannah Outen: I would say Justin Timberlake, but I think I would faint. I don’t think I would actually be alive for that. So I guess John Mayer — I would still faint but I would be able to handle it. I’m so obsessed with him as an artist and a creator, he’s so smart. I’m a fan of every song he has ever released. I’m also a massive fan of Jon Bellion — he’s becoming huge and I would love to work with him!
Taylor Magazine: Who are your top three favourite music artists that are always on your playlist?
Savannah: John Mayer, Bon Iver and Celine Dion. She’s my idol.
Taylor Magazine: What is your life motto or the advice you will always live by?
Savannah: You can’t ever give up — I always tell myself that. I’ve made it this far and there have been ups and downs, but I have to keep going. That’s always my motto. Also, just be in the moment. Just be. Whatever that means to you, just be in the present.