coiski: What is the end goal for your YouTube channel? Is there a benchmark you’re looking to reach?
MJ: I’ve had many thoughts about that, and it’s sort of been evolution for me as an artist and a person/business woman. I remember setting these numerical goals of 15,000, 20,000, 100,000 (subscribers). I remember 100,000 seeming like it was impossible. Then one day, you get there, you get your award and then it’s onto the next thing; you know, 150k, 200k. I found myself in this constant cycle of trying to outdo myself constantly saying, ‘Well what’s next?’ instead of enjoying it. I was like, ‘Wait a second, I’ve been dreaming of having that many subscribers or getting a million views on a video!’ Sometimes it feels like when I’m on the road to where I want to be I forget to stop and enjoy these milestones. It’s good to have goals in sight, but you have to stop and also enjoy yourself. Now I think my long term goal is to continue to make music, and I don’t think I will ever stop uploading to YouTube. I used to look at it as a vehicle to get me to where I want and then abandon it. That’s what I thought I would do. YouTube is really what got me where I am, so in the long-term, I’ll always be here on YouTube somehow.
coiski: If budget and accessibility were no barrier, what would be the one video or piece of content you would like to make but haven’t yet?
MJ: Oh my, that’s tricky! I’ve been thinking about this because another platform I just joined is Patreon, which is another way for artists to connect to fans and get paid to do it. So I started thinking outside of the box and looking for what people really want to see next and what might resonate with people. I think, ultimately, some kind of video to go along with my song “Pretty.” I think I would dream of some kind music video where the location was all over the place. It would be cool to just meet different types of women and bring them together to go along with the song in some type of unifying video. I could probably go on for days about how I would want that to be; it would, for sure, be storytelling. I love music videos and feel like sometimes it’s a waste if you don’t tell a story through it. Almost like what Beyonce did in terms of a visual album.
coiski: What has been the best moment you’ve experienced so far while making videos?
MJ: I think when I started branching out and posting original songs that were very honest and vulnerable, even though it was nerve wracking to share those intimate moments. It was really nice to hear the feedback, and it puts everything in perspective that YouTube has so much more about it than just numbers. So that was big moment for me and from there, just growing as an artist.
coiski: If you could give anyone reading this a piece of advice about getting started as a creative on YouTube, what would you tell them?
MJ: I guess my answer would be cliché; it goes back to what I was saying before and that is just be yourself because that automatically sets you apart from everybody. That in and of itself is your brand and who you are. I also would tell people not to rush into uploading all the time. When I was 14 and I started watching these videos and being inspired by it, I wasn’t necessarily ready yet. I had to gain my bearings and start understanding myself as a person and as an artist. So just do it when you’re ready but definitely do it! I say go for it, and don’t be discouraged by the fact that it isn’t going to happen overnight; that is unless you’re the “Cash Me Outside” girl. Haha. I also say study what the creators you like do; everybody started at zero. Lastly, don’t ever underestimate the power of what it is you’re doing. Remember, there is power in creating things, so just do your thing!