IN PHOTOS: YouTube stars Leroy Sanchez, Sam Tsui, Kurt Hugo Schneider, more in 'Own It' concert

MANILA, Philippines – Heading into this one – with a list of musical artists who have made their claim to fame via YouTube – it was difficult saying what to expect from the stage performances themselves.

With some research, it’s obvious each of these performers are gifted with off-the-chart talent, they can certainly sing, and sing well. However, a live show is far from performing in front of a camera at home, nothing like carrying off a stage show.

And I’m delighted to declare, I was more than presently surprised with the overall performances of all these young, talented up-and-comers at the Own It! concert last July 9, Saturday, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 


Photo by Stephen Lavoie/Rappler


Photo by Stephen Lavoie/Rappler


Photo by Stephen Lavoie/Rappler


Photo by Stephen Lavoie/Rappler


Photo by Stephen Lavoie/Rappler

They may not be household names just yet, but all have collaborated with names you’d recognize – and most certainly have the potential to be instantly recognizable one day. In the YouTube world, these artists are at the top of the list when it comes to subscribers and viewership – millions upon millions of them. 

Each artist even had plenty of original material mixed in with covers of popular songs. I was also expecting to see more folks attending, a surprisingly sparse crowd at the venue.

What was captivating though was how they collaborated onstage during various parts of the concert. Its flow which can be a challenge with so many artists, went off without a noticeable hitch.

It was hosted by the humorous Bogart the Explorer and the ravishing Rizza Diaz, who kept the ball rolling in between sets by interacting with the crowd. At one point, they even facilitated an onstage interview with guests.

Love you @BogartDexplorer! — Wyatt Ong (@wyattcaraway) July 9, 2016



Local talent Gab Valenciano also made a special guest appearance and put on a sort of dance clinic – impressive indeed. 

First up was Lynk, formerly know as At Sunset, a band hailing from Australia, and who performed here before, opening for Boyce Avenue. This band recently changed their name, after one of their members decided to go the solo route.

Currently at its core are 3 brothers: Harrison Kantarias, Andrew Kantarias, Matthew Kantarias, and there’s nothing that matches their vocal harmony.

An easygoing and friendly group, they even took some time out for a quick portrait session before the show. Their performance went well, keep an eye out for this band in the future. 

Next was Max Schneider, perhaps my favorite for the evening – this guy can sing with an onstage charisma that you don’t see often. He had the crowd amped up from almost the get-go, and his onstage energy is contagious. He moved about in an explosive and flamboyant fashion with a vocal prowess to match.

Whoooooo! @Maxgschneider 's own spin on "Sorry" by @justinbieber! Love you Biebs but Max was awesome too! — Wyatt Ong (@wyattcaraway) July 9, 2016


He recently stopped by the Rappler HQ for a Live Jam session, which is worth checking out. It’s almost a sure bet he’ll be back in Manila, so don’t miss him on his next visit. 

Tiffany Alvord then took the stage, the homegrown darling of YouTube with an astounding 2.8 million subscribers. She’s performed in the Philippines before with an equally impressive performance.

She delivered a solid segment, picking up the acoustic guitar for a few songs. I enjoyed her medley of cover songs which were incorporated to tell a story of sorts, like how two people might have met and fell in love.  

Sam Tsui was up next, accompanied by Kurt Hugo Schneider on the piano for most of the set.


Kurt also accompanied Tiffany for one song but took center stage when Sam took a break.


His stripped-down version of Kina Grannis' "Where You Are" was impressive – just him and a guitar, highlighting his vocal talents.

. @KurtHSchneider sang tonight!!!! Glorious. All the heart emojis. — Wyatt Ong (@wyattcaraway) July 9, 2016


Sam also has an elaborately animated onstage presence, similar to Max and really had the crowd rocking and rolling with a solid mixture of music.


Watch @SamuelTsui KILL IT on #talkdirty. GO SAM! @rapplerdotcom — Wyatt Ong (@wyattcaraway) July 9, 2016


He and Kurt entertained the crowd with a creative segment, using a table and cups as an homage to Anna Kendrick’s scene-stealing moment in Pitch Perfect.


Can @SamuelTsui and @KurtHSchneider go faster?! YES THEY CAN. And take on @Adele, too. — Wyatt Ong (@wyattcaraway) July 9, 2016


There was also a poignant moment as they performed a song in memory of Christina Grimmie, their friend who was tragically lost in a post-concert shooting.

#JustADream for the wonderful @TheRealGrimmie, gone too soon. If you've ever loved somebody, put your hands up. — Wyatt Ong (@wyattcaraway) July 9, 2016


To finish off the show, Leroy Sanchez took the stage. He kept things moving along, mixing it up with some mellow numbers and upbeat tracks – again a commendable balance of originals and covers.


#UptownFunk x @IamLeroySanchez : Cool as ice and so smooth! — Wyatt Ong (@wyattcaraway) July 9, 2016


#UptownFunk x @IamLeroySanchez : Cool as ice and so smooth! — Wyatt Ong (@wyattcaraway) July 9, 2016


I was impressed with his crowd interaction, with an easygoing style as he related his story – just as you might hear someone at a friend's party. 

Quality sound with well-executed stage lighting made it a wonderful night of music. Keep an eye out for these artists returning to Manila. It's worth the trip to the stadium to catch them live.

Make sure to also check their videos out. They're outstanding and provide an interesting perspective to the growth of an artist, like watching your children grow in pictures. –