Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hickok45, Megan and Liz, CinemaSins and More: Greatest Hits from This Week's Scene Cover Story

Posted By on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 4:06 PM

This week’s Scene cover story profiles some Nashville’s biggest YouTube stars, including film-flub police CinemaSins, mysterious, friendly firearms fetishist Hickok45 and outspoken local filmmaker Olan Rogers, along with, of course, musicians like “People of WalMart” singer Jessica Frech, up-and-comer Landon Austin and Music City-by-way-of-Michigan sister act Megan and Liz.

Get the whole story here, and check out the most-viewed viral videos from its sources after the jump.

Julian Smith

Nashville native and comedy filmmaker Julian Smith moved from Music City to Los Angeles in 2009, the same year he posted “Malk,” a just-shy-of-two-minute-long play on the word milk that’s since gotten more than a jaw-dropping 20 million views.


As the affable assholes behind the popular CinemaSins channel, former Regal Hollywood 27 at 100 Oaks employees Chris Atkinson and Jeremy Scott have turned their heckle-heavy love of films (and their flaws) into instant viral gold. CinemaSins launched in December 2012 and reached a million subscribers a mere 10 months later.

According to Atkinson and Scott, “No movie is without sin.” Especially The Hunger Games, their video for which — “Everything Wrong With The Hunger Games in 3 Minutes or Less! — has logged an impressive 7 million views and change. (Spoiler alert: The video is actually longer than three minutes.)

Jessica Frech

Aspiring local singer-songwriter Jessica Frech had a feeling “People of WalMart” — her toe-tapper response to the meme-inspiring micro-blog of the same name — had viral potential when (with help from her then business partner and audio-engineer father) she wrote, recorded, shot and posted a video for the song in 2011. But the clip’s near 10 million views well exceeded her wildest expectations. "We didn't expect it to be that big, but there was some strategy behind it — we knew these photos of these people (at Walmart) with their butts hanging out and stuff like that were going viral,” she told the Scene.


A 63-year-old retired middle school teacher, marksmen and firearms who prefers to keep his name and location secret — to keep his gun-toting fans at bay — Hickok45 is perhaps Nashville’s biggest YouTube star, with a total view count creeping towards the quarter-billion mark. At 5 million views, this clip of the host blowing up watermelons with rounds from a .500-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver is the clear fan favorite.

Megan and Liz

With more than a million subscribers, and fans the likes of Taylor Swift and Oprah Winfrey, fresh-face small-town Michigan twins Megan and Liz Mace are nothing short of a viral sensation. After a brief flirtation with trying to make it in L.A., the duo's moving back to Nashville this week to showcase their songwriting chops — but it’s this cover of Gym Class Heroes and Adam Levine’s “Stereo Hearts” that tops their play count with more than 7 million views.

Landon Austin

While full-time local YouTuber and pop-songsmith Landon Austin might garner Jason Mraz comparisons with his original tunes, this cover of Mr. A-Z’s “I Won’t Give Up" is currently his most-watched video at nearly 1.5 million views.

Julia Sheer

Pop-country-tinged Nashville-by-way-of-Colorado singer-songwriter Julia Sheer has an impressive 450,000-plus subscribers to her YouTube channel. They especially love her acoustic cover of Miley Cyrus’ “When I Look at You,” which has well over 5 million views.

Olan Rogers

Local filmmaker Olan Rogers is outspoken and unfiltered when it comes to speaking his mind … or when it comes to sharing anecdotes about the social contract and how it applies to dropping a deuce in a Target bathroom, as he does in “Ghost in the Stalls,” his most-watched viewed at more than 8 million views.

Made In Network

As of last Fall, Nashville finally has its first multichannel YouTube network, producing quirky original programs with mostly music-centric themes, along with partnering up with channels like Infinity Cat recordings. So far, the network’s most popular show is Find the Beauty, in which a good musical artist is tasked to remake a terrible lost nugget of pop music past.

In this clip, local husband-wife duo Fleming and John reinvent forgotten ‘70s English pop singer Joy Sarney’s inscrutably asinine 1977 novelty hit “Naughty Naughty Naughty” as something listenable. Check it out.

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