Students garner success through YouTube
Di Bianca and Schmetterer unite to deliver unique twists on classic hits.
A large portion of YouTube’s millions-thick library is dedicated to musicians: hopeful amateur guitar players, aspiring singer-songwriters and, by a large majority, cover artists.
To claim that each cover of a song is different or unique would be ridiculous; a vast majority of the songs re-recorded by fans are watered-down versions of the original. Most people only see the veneer of mediocrity that is all-too-common in songs like the done-to-death “Cups” by Anna Kendrick.
But beneath the surface resides a small contingent of stirringly well-crafted videos that can illuminate the original work in a profoundly different way.
Sophomores Maria Di Bianca and Jeremy Schmetterer are responsible for a large portion of these videos.
These “Maria and Jeremy” videos are always acoustic representations of either classics (“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” or “Hallelujah”) or contemporary pop standards, (“She Will Be Loved” or “Suit and Tie”) that blend Di Bianca’s warm, sultry sound with the sparse, trebley quiver of Schmetterer’s guitar playing.
At first glance they may seem like two old friends who have been recording together for years, but the reality is much different.
“Before freshman year, we met on Facebook,” Di Bianca says. “I posted a video, and then he posted a video, and then we both went, ‘Okay, we need to record when we get to Mizzou.’”
Their serendipitous meeting was sparked by a mutual interest in John Mayer and Colbie Caillat.
“We definitely bond over shared music tastes, but we are both definitely open to new music as well,” Di Bianca says. “Usually we will send each other YouTube links of songs we like.”
After both Di Bianca and Schmetterer have chosen a song to cover, they will typically each learn their specific parts separately — Di Bianca the lyrics and Schmetterer the chords — before they meet up to record.
“It’s very collaborative,” Di Bianca says. “We definitely decide everything together. I think that is part of the reason they turn out so well.”
Both Di Bianca and Schmetterer craft covers that are able to transcend any type of cliché retreading of their originals, and in the coming months, they hope to start writing some original material inspired by their everyday lives.
“We are both in long-distance relationships,” Di Bianca says. “So we are gonna try to pull some emotion from that and write about it.”
By all accounts, Di Bianca and Schmetterer are successful; they have 122 subscribers, between 300 and 1,800 views per video and tremendous talent.
Yet their current success leaves no obvious signs to where the future will take them.
“We’re really hoping to get some more gigs around campus this year,” Schmetterer says. “If by some miracle, some opportunity pops up that would allow me to make some kind of a career as a musician, I’d take that opportunity in a heartbeat. But music really is something that I love doing and I can always do it on the side.”
Di Bianca feels the same way.
“It’s a bit unrealistic to expect a career in music,” Di Bianca says. “But if I ever got the opportunity, I would love to.”