Austin Mahone’s rise from a gifted nobody to a YouTube wunderkind and eventually a teen pop idol,has all the right ingredients for a modern fairytale. A youngster from La Vernia – a city that doesn’t even have bowling alleys or cinema halls, defies his humble beginnings and catapults himself to international fame by the virtue of his talent.Sounds a little implausible, doesn’t it? But when you’re as incredibly gifted as this young man is, few things seem improbable.Today, Mahone is one of the most sought-after teen pop stars, with vast legions of fans and paparazzi following him everywhere. As he gears up to release his first full-length album, let’s take a look at his phenomenal rise to stardom.
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Born in San Antonio, Texas, Austin Mahone was raised by his mother after his father died, when he was just 16 months old. According to Michele Mahone, music has always been her son’s passion and young Mahone quickly took to learning guitar, drums and keyboard on his own.
In 2010, Mahone started out as an avid YouTuber , steadily gaining a fan base through some amusing sketches and impressive covers of popular songs. The watershed moment was the insanely popular cover he did for Justin Bieber’s ‘Mistletoe’, which shot him to the limelight.
Some hailed him as the next Bieber, and even before he landed a record deal, Mahone had soared to No. 38 on the ‘Billboard Social 50’ – a chart which ranks musical artists on the basis of their popularity on social networking sites.The growing popularity had its downsides, though.
The celebrity status proved to be a major impediment to Mahone’s educational prospects and he had to drop out of high school. Eventually, his mother gave up her job as a mortgage banker to juggle with two tasks, home-schooling her son and managing his career.
Prior to his heydays in the industry, Mahone had the ultimate fanboy moment at a little café in Nashville when he chanced across his idol, Taylor Swift. Taylor’s advice to him was to ‘keep up the hard work and never give up on the dream’. A year later, in 2013, the young star was touring with Taylor on her ‘Red Tour’, as one of the opening acts! Now, if that isn’t a meteoric rise, we don’t know what is!
While a lot of online musical sensations fail to advance beyond this point, YouTube was just the stepping stone to greater things for Mahone. By late-2011, he was staging local concerts and performances and a loyal group of fans, who called themselves ‘Mahomies’, were rooting for him at every packed venue. In 2012, Mahone released his debut single, ‘11:11’,on iTunes,and the song reached No. 19 on the ‘Billboard Heatseekers’musicchart. Meanwhile, the burgeoning fan base had reached millions across all social platforms, and it was only a matter of time before record labels came knocking.
In mid-2012, Mahone signed an agreement with‘Chase/Universal Republic Records’, and released his second single, ‘Say Somethin’. The song was a runaway success, immediately striking a chord with the teens and charting at No. 34 on the Billboard Pop Songs Chart. The best was yet to come – for if the first couple of years have been about a steadily peaking career, the third year was all about consolidating this newfound stardom.
The juggernaut didn’t stop there. In the same year, Mahone won the ‘Artist To Watch For’ Award at the ‘MTV Video Music Awards’ for his hit number, ‘What About Love’. In October 2013, Mahone embarked on the first headlining tour of his career – MTV’s Artist To Watch Tour.
In May 2014, Mahone released his second EP, ‘The Secret’, which debuted at an impressive No. 5 on the ‘Billboard 200’. His latest single, ‘Dirty Work’ was a home run, and Mahone has since released a mixtape (a Christmas gift for his fans!) and collaborated with the Jump Smokers and Pia Mia.
So, what’s the real Austin Mahone like? Is he just another snotty star with a penchant for controversy and deviance? Well, if your idea of idolatry involves brooding pop idols with their drug-addled past and stormy relationships, you’re in for a major disappointment. Mahone is not your quintessential self-destructive, possessed teen heartthrob.
“I don”t want to be that guy who is having problems and going to rehab. I am focused on the music,” says Mahone, exuding the kind of sensibility that’s unusual for his age. Perhaps,the absence of a father figure instilled a sense of responsibility and level-headedness in him at such an early age. Could be Austin’s obligation to ‘man up’ and not make too many stupid mistakes, unlike most of his peers.
“I felt a lot of pressure on me and was like, okay, I definitely have to go hard now. I”ve gotta be the man of the house and make the money and provide for my family,”recounts Mahone, in a voice that’s yet to lose its boyishness.
So, this isn’t the kind of star who makes headlines for his public meltdowns and ugly break-ups.And as if to underline the point, Mahone insists that he is in very good terms with both his former lady loves – Camila Cabello and Becky G. Of course, there have been rumors suggesting a fall-out, but if there is any truth to it, Becky’s appearance in his 2015 mixtape, “This Is Not The Album”, is a mystery left for the tattlers to solve.
It’s been half a decade since ‘Mahoneism’ first took the world by storm. So, what’s next for the superstar? With two EP’s, numerous Singles and Tours to his credit, would there be an album anytime soon? According to Austin, a full-length album is not far away, and that alone should give ‘Mahomies’ all over the world enough reason to rejoice.
Once, when asked about his inspiration to create music, Austin Mahone summed it up in a few simple words, “I hope everyone can connect with the songs and love them. I want to make music that people can listen to over and over again and feel good about.”