7 Artists Who Started From The Bottom (Now They’re At The iHeartRadio MMVAs)

Before they were bonafide superstars taking on the grand iHeartRadio MMVAs stage, they were just kids trying to make it. Going from fetus status to grown-up real quick, these musicians started out recording from their bedrooms before they ever made it big. Their humble beginnings prove that anything is possible when you have a dream. From viral video veterans to contest-winning sensations, check out the iHeartRadio MMVAs celebrities as we revisit their ghosts of Internet past.

Shawn Mendes

It was love at first sight–or at least at the initial six -seconds that Shawn Mendes posted his music covers to Vine that we knew we’d fallen for him. After uploading a quickie of “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber, Mendes path to fame was paved parallel to the Canadian pop prototype he covered. The self-made star swiftly amassed 300, 000 Vine followers and simultaneously caught the attention of every major record label. Mendes learned to play guitar through YouTube tutorials and consulted covers to teach him to sing. He’d joined his high school glee club and practised his stage presence in acting lessons (fittingly leading as Prince Charming at one point). Today, the 20-year-old has abandoned his Pickering bedroom ballads for breaking records. His third EP  Shawn Mendes, earned him Apple Music’s most-streamed pop album of 2018 in its debut week.


5 Seconds of Summer

The boys from down under have roots that run deep. Before performing original music, the high school BFFs garnered attention posting their takes of songs by the likes Mayday Parade and Blink-182. Obviously, Biebs was in his prime time and so it was actually 5 Seconds of Summer’s acoustic rendition of “Next 2 You” that projected them into prominence.

We will never forget the days that British boy band One Direction backed the baby-faced Australian pop-punkers. Louis Tomlinson linked 5SOS’ original “Gotta Get Out” and Niall Horan subsequently promoted their first single “Out Of My Limit” in November 2012. After fangirls took notice, 5 Seconds of Summer was signed under 1D’s management company and joined their international Take Me Home tour. Nowadays, we mourn over a disbanded 1D, but 5SOS continue to be heartthrobs with a new sound that’s more pop than punk on the recent release of their third EP Youngblood.


Madison Beer

This beauty and the beat certainly got the attention of Justin Bieber, since he discovered Madison Beer after she uploaded a cover of Etta James’ “At Last” to YouTube in 2012. The real conspiracy is that these three aforementioned artists got their break through some connection to Bieber, but Beer’s was the most direct. Beer, who was 13 years old at the time, instantly went viral thanks to Bieber’s retweet of approval and was signed by his manager Scooter Braun soon after. The songstress has since transitioned from covers to writing her own original music with credits on her first studio EP As She Pleases.



Halsey’s origin story sounds like something of a dream because she was an overnight success. After meeting music producer Dylan Scott at a party, the two went on to collaborate on a song. They went to a DIY studio (aka “someone’s basement that had a microphone and recording equipment”) and got to work. Halsey wrote “Ghost,” about a junkie ex and a few weeks later, uploaded the song to SoundCloud. In a matter of hours, the song had gained popularity, her social media accounts had a blown up and five labels had contacted her. Previously, Halsey had a sizable following from posting videos to social media sites such as Tumblr, YouTube, and Keek. The pop singer also plays eight instruments but ventured into music hoping people would discover her poetry. Today, Halsey’s synth-pop specialty can be heard on her 2017 concept album hopeless fountain kingdom. The creative extends her talents having co-directed four music videos for her recent release inspired by Romeo and Juliet.


Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine

The Canadian electronic-pop duo first started recording song from the comfort of Elijah’s home in Perth, Ontario. Both were attending  Algonquin College in Ottawa where Elijah majored in engineering and production while Jamie went for the culinary program. A mutual friend showed Elijah a project they’d worked on with Jamie and a meeting was quickly arranged. An electric collaborative connection happened when they first worked together, seeing Elijah’s instrumental production escalated by Jamie’s vocals evident on “Wouldn’t Be Enough”. It makes sense then that the “x” in their name said to represent the multiplying effects they have on another. Most recently, the pair won CTV’s The Launch and their earworm “Ain’t Easy,” co-written by OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder and pop star Camila Cabello, is propelling the Canadian duo to stardom.


Tyler Shaw

Shaw was only 19, studying sociology at the University of Prince Edward Island when roommate Kyle Dutton encouraged him to enter the MuchMusic Coca-Cola Covers Contest in 2012. His interpretation of Britney Spears’ “I Wanna Go” put him in the Top 3 and he was announced the winner during the 2012 MuchMusic Video Awards. With an anticipated album on the way this year, we’re hoping it’s as catchy as the singer-songwriter’s 2012 debut single “Kiss Goodnight,” which rose on the Canadian charts at. Shaw returns to the stage that started it all as he pulls double duty presenting and performing during the iHeartRadio MMVAs red carpet show.


Francesco Yates

In Yate’s cover of “Starboy” by The Weeknd he switches things up with his own freestyle verse rapping, “Started from the basement, Scarborough down and there is no replacement/ Running through the 6 with my crew, it’s so flashy.” The R&B crooner has been mesmerizing audiences with covers as early as 2013. At 16, his talent was quickly recognized by Atlantic Records as well as Robin Hannibal (Kendrick Lamar, B.o.B) and 10-time Grammy award-winner Pharrell Williams who co-produced his self-titled EP in September 2015. Yates’ voice is like the lovechild of Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake, making it no wonder that he joined JT as the opening act on the Canadian leg of the Man of the Woods tour. Now at 22, Yates has revitalized his sound with a zesty electro track “Somebody Like You” and a full-length album with credits writing, producing, and performing in the works.

The 2018 iHeartRadio MMVAs hosted by Awkwafina go down Sunday, August 26 at 9/7MT on CTV and Much. But all the fun starts with Pre-Game show, which streams live at 7:30/5:30MT right here before the Red Carpet at 8/6MT.