Arts

Student asked to record with band after winning YouTube contest

Photo: Jessica Eritou

On a quiet evening during her psychology lecture at the University of Ottawa, student Drew Taylor’s life got a little more exciting.

Since last May, she has been uploading cover songs onto YouTube from her bedroom. And in February, one of today’s most popular Canadian bands took notice.

During class, Taylor received a message from Arkells vocalist Max Kerman telling her she had won the Leather Jacket Golden Ticket contest, where fans upload a cover of their popular song “Leather Jacket” to YouTube. Winners of the contest are given free entrance to any concert or festival the Juno-winning Hamilton band plays in 2015.

As exciting as it was for Taylor, that wasn’t the end of it.

“You have the voice of an angel, here’s my cell number,” she recalls Kerman telling her on the phone. The band wanted to record a version of “Leather Jacket” featuring Taylor, but unfortunately the band’s tour dates clashed with her school schedule. Although the studio recording fell through, Taylor says she’s flattered for the opportunity and the personal connection she now has with the band.

“I was like, OK, I have Max Kerman’s number,” she says. “Maybe that’s the best present ever.”

With more than 4,600 hits on her cover video and more subscribers each day, Taylor has since uploaded covers of Vance Joy and Tokyo Police Club that she says have been well received.

Due to her popular online presence, Taylor now has another musical outlet to show off her talent. As a result of her YouTube cover, Jack Hopkins from 92.7 FM CFFF Trent Radio contacted Taylor to play her cover on their show, Alt Power. The station also asked her to do promotion for the Arkells’ upcoming show in Peterborough, Ont.

“I obviously said yes,” says Taylor, “and now I send (them) covers and originals weekly.”

It all inspired Taylor to book studio time to record a proper EP when she’s back in Muskoka, Ont., this summer.

As for her shot with the band, the relationship isn’t over and out, says Taylor. “My plan is to convince them (to let me) open for them.”