When Johnny Orlando’s sister helped him upload his very first song cover onto YouTube, they never could have imagined what fate – and the music industry – would have in store.
Eight years, over 600 million YouTube views, hit songs, and countless award nominations later, Johnny’s seamlessly made the transition from cute kid to international singing superstar.
Through it all, he’s remained kind and humble, and has even managed to stay in regular school! Now, let’s take a look back at how his journey has unfolded over the years.
Johnny’s first video to hit 50 million views was his cover of fellow Canadian artist Shawn Mendes’ single, “Stitches,” uploaded on November 6, 2015.
After that, Johnny worked hard at a Los Angeles dance studio and showcased his choreography in his cover of Justin Bieber’s “Where Are U Now,” which is the first time we saw him!
We knew he was a future superstar and invited him to YSBnow for an interview, where he told us about how he got started on YouTube:
Johnny also started doing live shows, after Jacob Sartorius reached out to him and invited him to perform on the Magcon tour:
He capped off 2016 with two firsts: a Teen Choice Awards nomination and a collab with longtime friend Mackenzie Ziegler:
But 2017 would be Johnny’s biggest year yet as he stepped away from covers and honed his own sound and style, releasing four original songs and garnering his first Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards nomination!
In 2018, he signed a major record deal with Universal Music and released “What If,” an epic bop with Kenzie Ziegler that’s amassed over 33 million views on YouTube:
And for the second year in a row, Johnny was nominated for a Nickelodeon KCA.
However, in 2019, Johnny began receiving acclaim in mainstream music. He was nominated for “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” at the Juno Awards, which is the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys!
Plus, with bops like “Waste My Time,” Johnny’s debut EP, “Teenage Fever” received rave reviews and massive streams:
He was nominated again at the Teen Choice Awards, where he led this performance of “Teenage Dream.”
Then, he closed out the year by winning “Best Canadian Act” at the MTV Europe Music Awards and presenting an award to Taylor Swift!
In January, Johnny celebrated his 17th birthday:
And come February, it was off to Milan for Fashion Week:
He also blessed us with a new single, “Phobias.” Take a listen below and you’ll agree that it’s a total banger:
But even a global pandemic couldn’t stop Johnny from sharing new music and releasing epic videos. On April 15, he dropped “See You,” which was full of cameos from celeb pals like Mackenzie Ziegler and Asher Angel:
Since it’s release, the video’s racked up over four million views! Johnny also continues to use his celebrity platform to support important causes, like the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The words he shared in this Instagram post were quite prolific:
View this post on Instagram
i am privileged. i will never understand the struggles that so many people in the world face on an everyday basis simply because of the colour of their skin, but i am trying to. i am lucky to have a platform. i have always tried to spread positivity & keep things light on here but that is simply not enough. by ignoring these issues or staying silent, you are contributing to the issue that is so prevalent in our world. when i first saw the video of george floyd i was appalled. it made me sick, and then it made me angry. growing up in canada where i did, this is not something i have ever witnessed first hand. for that i am privileged, and i wish i had acknowledged that within myself sooner. i have taken these last few days to educate myself, listen to others, sign any petition i see, and donate. i want to be part of the solution, not the problem. in order to move forward we must stand together. our generation needs to be vocal & be the change we wish to see in the world. to my fellow artists / influencers, a platform is a horrible thing to waste & if you are not speaking up right now you don’t deserve to have one. to my black fans, i am here for you, i am here with you, i love you all so much. i am going to continue educating myself on how i can personally help offline. “there is no freedom until we are all equal”. #BlackLivesMatter link to resources in my bio.
During quarantine, he also shared that he’s been working hard on new music – and shredding on the guitar!
It’s so amazing to see how much Johnny’s accomplished in less than a decade, all while managing to stay in school and with the support of his family, stayed kind and humble through it all. Way to go, Johnny O!