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