Aspiring local artist attempts to make it big through YouTube

Joe Llorin, Features Editor

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To much surprise, many of today’s brightest shining stars would not have surfaced were it not for them lighting up the metaphorical sky that is the Internet. For example, in 2006, Arnel Pineda, a young man from the Philippines, was discovered through viral videos of him and his band performing covers of popular music. Currently, the world knows this young man as the lead singer of Journey, having an impeccable vocal resemblance to their former lead singer, Steve Perry.

In 2008, a young teenager by the name of Justin was discovered on YouTube, covering music by such pop artists like Usher. Soon after he was discovered, Usher himself paid a visit to him, and he was thoroughly impressed by this young teen’s talent. Ever since that pivotal moment, he has risen up to fame and now he is now the teenage pop titan that is Justin Bieber.

Nowadays, the trend continues. The Internet remains but a gateway for young talent to burst through, and yet another has as of late- and his name is Nik Bates.

Nik Bates is an aspiring rapper and producer, although he is not limited to only that- he is also an editor and director, showing his ability in his own music videos. Bates is originally from Kanagawa, Japan, but was raised in San Diego, where he would start his music career. At only 19 years old, his journey is only beginning.

Through the eyes of many, Bates lives merely as a student at Southwestern College and a worker at a Vans store at the Plaza Bonita mall, but when he’s not hustling through his homework or dealing with mass amounts of customers, he’s buried deep into his music- whether it be writing, creating or remixing, Bates is on his musical grind 24/7. Aspiring to be a famous musician, Bates already has his hands full. He writes and records his own material, while also editing and producing it.

Bates promotes his music through the power of social networking with the use of popular websites like Tumblr, SoundCloud, and YouTube. Currently, he is working on his latest mix tape, “Lights On!/Lights Out!.” This will be his 3rd mix tape. Although it is a work in progress, Bates is always looking for ways to improve, as he streams all of his music (including incomplete tracks, which he calls “samplers”) on SoundCloud and Tumblr.

Although he is trying to make his name as a solo artist, Bates likes to collaborate with his friend Andres Murillo, who is also a rapper. Together, they form the duo known as Are the Kids Alright?, or as they abbreviate it, “A.K.A?.” They have performed locally numerous times and have gained a solid following among San Diegan teenagers. Bates and Murillo are both part of a group made up of their friends known as The LXST ADLSNTS.

“Everyone has a role in the group, and the main goal of is to spread our music,” Bates says.

Bates considers his music to belong to the genre of rap, but since rap is such a wide and diverse type of music, Bates elaborated more on the subject.

“My style is hard to explain. Think of it as a mix of indie rap, chillwave and hip-hop,” Bates says.

As he continues to work to complete “Lights On!/Lights Out!,” Bates remains on the grind. He is not yet known worldwide, but he is always one step closer to making his dream a reality, as he strives to promote and spread his music through the Internet and his performances. He takes up any opportunity to showcase his talents and he remains ever so persistent. Although he is currently unsigned, future record producers will only regret it they passed up on Nik Bates.