Savannah Berry Dishes on Being a YouTube Sensation and Writing With Acclaimed Songwriter Zac Maloy
Savannah Berry is a typical 16-year-old high school student -- she has a boyfriend, goes to bible study and listens to music. But the fact that Berry has over 1.6 million views of her country music cover videos on YouTube is anything but typical.
As 'SavannahSings' on YouTube, Berry posts covers of songs by top artists, from Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert to Sara Evans and Gwyneth Paltrow, and even her own original hits-in-the-making. Her subscriber count is 7,000 and rapidly climbing, and her cover of the Band Perry's 'If I Die Young' has over 500,000 views, but the modest hopeful doesn't get shy when she sits down in front of the camera -- she admits she can always erase and start over.
The teenage Texas native dishes to Taste of Country on why she started uploading cover videos, her supportive boyfriend (sorry boys, she's taken!) and writing with Zac Maloy, perhaps best known for penning Carrie Underwood's 'Temporary Home.'
Where did you get your start, and how long have you been singing?
I've been singing ever since I was little -- my grandma used to pick me up and put me on the table to sing for people. Once I turned 12 I knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
What gave you the idea to start uploading videos of yourself singing to YouTube?
I originally started posting them for my friends and family to look at. Then, I started getting more people that I didn't know commenting on them, saying they liked the songs and requesting more songs. So I kept uploading different covers of my favorite songs and started getting more subscribers. That's kind of how my YouTube page started to build, gradually.
What was the first song you put up?
It was me singing 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' from, like, sixth grade, but it's not up anymore since it's so old.
What do you think has been the most fun cover you've done?
'Stuck Like Glue,' [by Sugarland]. I love that song. And 'If I Die Young' by the Band Perry.
Watch Savannah Berry Cover Sugarland's 'Stuck Like Glue'
We know you read your YouTube comments -- and we're sure it doesn't happen often, if at all -- but how do you deal with negative comments?
I take it as constructive criticism. I just try to reply and be nice and be like, "Well, I'm sorry if you feel that way, but..." I mean, I don't have to deal with that that often, so that's good!
We heard you wrote with Zac Maloy in Nashville last week -- tell us about that!
I met with Zac in Nashville, and we sat down and started working on two songs that I already had written. He kind of helped me co-write on them, and helped to polish it and everything. Then we worked in the studio for four hours on both songs, so it was actually pretty quick. We had a great time working on it, and hopefully next time we can write a song from scratch. I think he's going to be producing all of my songs in the studio, so that's going to be fun!
Was that your first time in Nashville?
No, it wasn't. It was probably my fifth or sixth time, and hopefully it won't be the last time. It was a lot of fun. It's definitely an awesome town. There's a lot to look at and a lot of places to go, and definitely a lot of music everywhere, so I felt right at home.
What do you like to write about? What inspires you?
A lot of things inspire me. Love stories, I like to write about that, or fun songs. Like -- if you go look at 'Don't You Dare' on my Facebook page, that one is kind of a fun one about getting the guy back. So I like to write slower songs, but I also like to write fun stuff that you can just listen to and jam out in the car.
Watch Savannah Berry Perform Her Original Song 'Don't You Dare'
We heard that you have a boyfriend. What does he think of your social media success?
He thinks it's awesome. He's very supportive about it and everything. He just wants to see me succeed, and he thinks it's cool because there's really not a lot of girls at our school that do that.
No kidding. Do you get a lot of attention at school -- do a lot of people know that you have this YouTube page?
Um, pretty much everyone at my school does know about it, but since I've known them so long they treat me like everyone else, so that's nice. But I mean, there's always some people that really act different about it … but everyone's really excited about it so they're hoping that I do well.
Who is your favorite country artist?
I would have to say… hmmm… ooh, that's hard. Either Sugarland or Miranda Lambert -- I really love both of them.
Do you like Taylor Swift? Do people compare you to her a lot?
I do like Taylor Swift. I think she's awesome. You know, I do get compared to her a lot, probably mostly because we write our own songs. But, I mean, I guess you could say there's definitely a difference between us. A lot of people do like to compare me with her, but never in a bad way or anything. They think it's awesome that we're both doing the same thing.
See Savannah Berry Cover Taylor Swift's 'Back to December'
What advice do you have for other young people who are looking for an outlet for their talent?
I would say YouTube! Put up as many videos as you can. It's a great start. I mean, if you're not really ready to get out there and start performing in front of a lot of people then YouTube is the best way [to do it] without having to sing in front of a bunch of people. But you still get that constructive feedback and that constructive criticism to help make yourself work to get better.
What are your goals for the year?
I'm hoping to be able to finish an album by the end of this summer. We're talking with all of the labels right now, and hopefully things go well and we can get an album out there.