They were just a bunch of island girls hanging out, when they decided to record a video cover for fun. It was their friend Solange Dowden who decided to upload the fun video they made, so their friends could enjoy it too. After all, it was just their friends who viewed this kind of thing, right?
That’s what they thought. However, friends shared it and then popular Facebook icon and artist, De Lorean shared it, subtitling it, “They made my evening with those killer voices!” The Chicago bred singer/songwriter and record label owner of Get It Crew and Swagga Boyz Entertainment, fell in love with the melodic island voices and shared the video with his fans, who then took it viral.
The girls soon realized just what had happened and knew they were going viral. From De Lorean’s page to the next popular Facebook page to post the video — I Discover Stars — the views were rolling in and so were the fans, rave reviews and the Facebook shares.
Just how many views have these girls collectively generated from the aforementioned posts? Eleven million: 11,625,248, as of me typing his line on Tuesday, March 24. This is not including the additional 200,000 plus views on their friend’s Solange’s page, where the original post was uploaded. So, who on earth are these girls? Everyone wanted to know.
They are local rising stars 18-year-old Jasmine Murray, 23-year-old Avi Charles and 19-year-old Adonna Campbell. No artist from their island has ever had a video go that viral. It’s possibly torn down several records for viral videos in the region and internationally as well, given the speed with which they gained a following on Facebook, with everyone asking particularly, “Who is backpack girl?”
So, it was appropriate to find out more about these young Grenadian divas, because the Internet could not get enough of them and still can’t. The girls came together as a group and answered the following questions:
What inspired you to create the cover? Was it for fun?
We had just finished eating and decided we should do some snippets for Instagram. On instant we realized we harmonized together perfectly and we loved how amazing Jasmine sounded on the hook, so we just went for it. It was all fun and games.
When you posted the video online, what were your expectations?
We weren’t really expecting much, a few likes here and things, tons of comments, but that was it.
How did this viral thing happen? What were your gut reactions?
De Lorean, a Facebook icon, uploaded the video on his page and it went VIRAL, in a matter of hours, it was over 1 million. OUR REACTION: Screaming, Tears, Laughter and just sheer Awe of the fact that our little home video went that far.
Did De Lorean or I Discover Stars contact you, or did he just post the video?
No, neither parties contacted us. The video was just uploaded.
What are your individual aspirations for your vocal careers?
Avi: I really want to make it internationally and make a difference in the music industry. I hope I do, but with the country live in, the love for arts is slowly dying.
Jasmine: Music is my life, and once I have music and I can share it with the world, I will.
Adonna: I want to be able to make millions of people [feel] how powerful singing can be and for them to feel as amazing as I do, when I sing.
Have you ever thought that you would be discovered online like this? What does that feel like?
No, we haven’t — a few views — but nothing major. It feels humbling and amazing at the same time to know that we brought smiles and tears to lives and that’s all we ever really wanted.
What are feelings about the feedback you are receiving from fans around the globe?
It is an awesome feeling to see the world look into this little island, for a bit, and just show some love with the island girls.
Jasmine – how do you feel about the rave reviews you got for your vocals and your new nickname – ‘Backpack Girl’? Are you really shy as everyone thinks you are?
I am really not the shy person. I just wasn’t expecting the camera to be so close to my face, so [I] turned around quickly. I hope the name ‘Backpack Girl’ doesn’t stick. I prefer ‘Jazzmine’ and it brought tears to my eyes, with all the showers of love and support I got.
What do you think will come of the fact that you now have a viral video with millions of views?
Interviews, jobs, and much more and we are ready for the road ahead.
How do you plan to use this opportunity to market yourselves as artists — regionally and internationally?
[We’ll] use this to share our music and [the] music of Grenada, to the world, and show them the islands really aren’t just about Soca and Reggae and not every artist would sound like a Dancehall artist.
Are you all solo acts, or are you now contemplating the idea of a girl group?
GRENADIAN DESTINY’S CHILD? LOL, the name needs work. Yes, but we each have individual careers — but we love singing together, so it could be in the works.
Have you had any discussions with the Grenada Tourism Authority, Ministry of Tourism or any Government agency, regarding your recent achievement and, if so, what kind of plans do they have to help you develop and market your creative talent?
No, we are still enjoying the slight fame we have gotten.
If a well-established talent manager or label were to approach you to manage and/or sign you, what would your response be?
Yes, but we want to be able to do our own music and brand ourselves.
What would you like Grenada to know about you as artists?
We are young and talented and want to change music and make a difference, ‘cause music is the way to the soul. We love all genres, but give us a lil’ Soul and Rhythm and we will take you away.
What kind of environment exists in Grenada right now for artists? Can they thrive? Do you think we are capitalizing on creative talent as an exportable product?
A Think Inside the Box Environment — No, for all questions, and it’s a sad state for a country to be in. Yes we are an island — we are a multi-cultured island – influenced by so many different cultures, but we are focused on Soca and Reggae and we still seldom capitalize on those artistes. Grenada is one of the most talented places I know, and instead of harnessing those talents and developing it, it’s left on the sidelines. Discouraging.
How important do you think social media is now for independent or unknown artists?
It’s the most important aspect for your music, as an independent artist. You are your support team and your marketing team, so social media is your playground.
Do artists in Grenada need more support and, if so, what kind of support do Grenadian artists need right now?
Financial Support and Moral Support — it’s hard being an artist in Grenada and having to produce music here. It’s either too much money to record, or the impact you expect the music to have, it doesn’t and that is hard and very discouraging.
What would you like to say to all Grenadian musicians who are trying to get their music out there and be heard?
Use Social Media, it works — the right Facebook pages — network and share your music with love.
What’s next for Grenada’s first viral artists?
We are working on coming out with new videos and probably a cover album.