Justin Timberlake signs YouTube star to new record label

Esmee Denters, 18, got her start by making low-tech karaoke videos and is the first artist to be signed to the new label.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
Esmee Denters, just signed by Justin Timberlake Esmee Denters' MySpace page

Looks like YouTube is bringing sexy back. Former boy band sensation and current pop star du jour Justin Timberlake has signed Esmee Denters, an 18-year-old Dutch singer who got her start by building up buzz on the ubiquitous video-sharing site, to his new record label.

Timberlake, 26, founded Tennman Records in a joint venture with Interscope Records last month; Denters is the first artist signed.

But despite her karaoke-like start, Denters is no "Numa Numa" kid--she can actually sing. She's been performing in several European countries already after gaining a fan base through videos where she sang along to a number of pop music hits, and over the past nine months, over 21 million people have watched her YouTube clips. (The fact that she's cute probably doesn't hurt.) Now, she'll be the opening act at some of Timberlake's European concerts this year, and is aiming to release an album later in 2007.

YouTube still might not have the impact of American Idol, but it nevertheless goes without saying that some pretty big names in entertainment are starting to look to it as a source for emerging talent. Comedy video star Brooke "Brookers" Brodack was famously "discovered" by TV host Carson Daly last year, and videoblogger "Lonelygirl15," after being outed as an actress, was cast in a movie opposite Lindsay Lohan.

(Via Billboard)