This generation's most versatile comedian started on social media
If you need a quick pick-me-up, but you don't have much time to spare, you should head over to J. Cyrus' Vine account. Full of accents and impressions, original characters and pop culture references, it's no surprise that Cyrus' LOL-inducing page has garnered 724,335,905 loops.
The internet comedian made an appearance at this year's Playlist Live, the annual convention that celebrates all things social media. It's no wonder that the star was brought in among the multitude of other creators, where he was able to meet thousands of fans and share some of the secrets to creating viral videos. J. Cyrus also partners with Collab, the largest independent multi-platform network for top social media stars.
And while you might attribute a video going viral to luck or appropriate subject matter, it's obvious with Cyrus' immense following and consistent ability to touch his fans that this stardom is no fluke, and not going to go away anytime soon. The organic nature of his sense of humor is obvious when you scroll through his page. He's not doing it solely for the views, although he's endlessly appreciative for them, he's utilizing a form of self-expression that not many are brave enough to make public.
"It's a classic old school story of being a class clown who was given a camera," Cyrus explains. So while he has catapulted to a level of influence schoolchildren probably don't really think about or expect for themselves, he keeps the characteristics of a class clown totally evident throughout all of his creations.
We had the exclusive opportunity to chat with J. Cyrus at Playlist Live, where we learned how he got his start in social media, how he felt about being featured at Playlist Live for the first time and how he deals with the demand of keeping his fans satisfied. Check out his full interview with #KanvasLive below!
What brings you to Playlist Live and is it your first year here?
I've been coming to Playlist for the past two years. But this is the first time they considered me funny enough to call me talent. Before that, I got here because I was hired by a company to run their social. But, I'm here now with a special guest pass with my name on it. It's been awesome, it's been amazing.
What else do you get to do while you're here as talent?
I think it's a little bit different for everyone. I think for the younger creators, this is the haven. This is where they hang out, they love coming here and being recognized. There are parties at night and everything, but for us older influencers it's kind of like -- let's go meet our people, hang out, and then we'll hit downtown Orlando. I don't drink or anything, but I still like to have fun with people my age.
How did you get your start in social media?
I think for me, it's a classic old school story of being a class clown who was given a camera. From there it elevated to a level that I don't think anyone really thought it would get to. Once you're given a platform, which I was so gracefully given by Vine, to showcase what you think is funny for you, and then it ends up being funny to millions of people, I think it's just something that comes naturally and organically.
A natural and organic following is the best one to have, because you know, you can put a number on anything, but the people that my number consist of would do anything for me. They came here, I didn't have to ask them to come here. It started off with me just being silly, then having a camera to show it off in 6.5 seconds, from there of course came Snapchat and Twitter and Facebook and everything else.
Do you find it to be overwhelming to have so many platforms? How do you decide where to put your content?
That's another thing about the beauty of an organic following, they're not chomping at the bit. They understand the process. I can set my own schedule as far as what I'm going to upload, and it usually does reasonably well. I think it is very overwhelming to have so many social media platforms that you're in charge of, but as long as you're representing yourself and you're 100% transparent, it'll come easy. Then, when it becomes second nature for you to post something, it's not so much of an obligation as it is just part of your day.
Did you have a moment where you first realized this would be a huge part of your future?
It was when I hit 10,00 followers. I thought, if I can get 10,000 people to believe in me, surely I can get 100,000. And then once I hit 100,000, I thought surely I can get 500,000, surely, I can get 1,000,000. Then 2,000,000. So, once you get a certain amount of people behind you, you're like ok, who else can I convince. Once I hit 10K, and was consistently getting good numbers, I was like, I'm here, I did it. I know the formula now.
What is your favorite thing about Vine?
I got to say the community and the viewers of Vine. The viewers are a beautiful thing. They are a wonderful thing that fills this hole that before, when you were acting like an idiot in your room, with no audience -- they fill that.
My best friends I met because of Vine. I've had relationships because of Vine. All of us have this thing in common, where we are all just intimately in the pockets of hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of people. You share this aura about you that not a lot of people share. You understand each other, and we come from all different walks of life. Any time we meet up and we're all in the same place it's just an amazing time from start to finish -- and that's my favorite thing about Vine.
How do you block out internet haters and negative comments?
Once realize that anyone who's miserable enough to go out of their way to say something negatively about you, you should feel sorry for them, not yourself. I used to respond to every single one of them, but I started to realize that I was defending myself to these kids who just have bad lives and they don't like seeing success.
Now, when I see a comment like that, I just say 'oh well, I must be doing something right because somebody hates me for it. Sorry you don't like it, but I still like you.' Kill them with kindness, that's what my mom always said. If I make it my problem, they win.
See some of the biggest highlights from Playlist Live:
Where do you get the inspiration for your Vines?
My mother raised me on Saturday Night Live -- my favorites are Phil Hartman, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Martin -- that's what I grew up watching. Being raised from SNL to All That on Nickelodeon, you pick up that it's normal for you to want to be able to make people laugh. Musically, I was born and raised in New Orleans. My father was the music commissioner of Louisiana, so I was around musicians and artists all the time.
Being raised by comedy and then taken in by music, the two have been embedded in my blood. I use both of them to my advantage. I play all instruments, but I don't really play them a lot online. I'm not a master at any of them, but I'm decent at all of them.
What is your favorite thing about your fans?
My followers are very absorbent. They absorb everything, and the biggest compliment I can have from one of my followers is if they reference something from when I had like 10,000 followers. One of the other things that I love about them is that their feedback is just so great. The people that have this maturity about them say things I can connect to on such a different level.
What do you have planned for the future?
I have a lot planned. I am coming out with an album this summer. I'm producing heavily on it, but I'm getting help from some people as well. It's going to be a different side of me that I don't think people know, and at the same time I think they're going to love it. I'm also doing voice auditions for different roles in cartoons, and a couple other things in the works that are pretty big that I can't really talk about, but people will know soon enough.
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