When we heard Bethan Leadley had bagged herself a job presenting on 4Music, we did a little dance inside because we genuinely couldn’t think of a YouTuber better for the job. We caught up with Bethan recently to chat all about her new job and how she’s dealing with going through a break-up online.
We The Unicorns: Congratulations on the 4Music gig! How did it come about?
Bethan: Thanks! I’d worked with them before a couple of years ago where I did reactions to music videos and then when this show came about, they asked me to come in for a screen test. I actually didn’t hear back from them for months because these things take so long to process and they called me one day and told me I’d got the job!
WTU: And how do you think YouTube has played a part in your offline success?
Bethan: Obviously it’s had some sort of impact because I do online presenting and have a passion for music so that helped. At the same time, however, it made sense for them and me because I had both the experience and the online music background too; I think that’s why they decided to go for it… which is nice.
WTU: How do you think YouTube culture has changed over the last few years?
Bethan: It’s changed so much! When I started putting videos online, it was more about a bunch of outcasts coming together and vlogging their lives and making silly videos- it was never serious or businesslike. As of the last three years or so, it’s gone from being such a tiny thing to a full on business. People are making millions off YouTube; it’s a legit job now. Before it was just a hobby, even if you were making a few quid off YouTube it was never anything that could be substantial. Now there’s thousands and thousands of people making a full on living from YouTube which is crazy when you think about it.
WTU: A now a lot of young people want to be the next vlog star, right?
Bethan: When you think about it, there’s people who will have just started their channel now that will be the next PewDiePie or Michelle Phan in a few years. It’s more difficult to break in now because there’s more competition – not that I like that word because we’re all supportive of each other – but there’s so many people doing it now whereas before it was a bit of an unknown thing. To be honest, sometimes I get a bit worried when people say “I want to be a YouTuber!” but I just take it in the same sense that I always wanted to be a musician and my big goal was to play music live to thousands and thousands of people. t’s a very cool job, obviously.
WTU: Do you think, for young people especially, there’s a growing pressure to protect your digital footprint?
Bethan: I think sometimes there is. And sometimes it’s so hard to draw the line in your head about whether you should be sharing something. Sometimes, however, you don’t really have a choice. Even stuff that I’ve forgotten about myself, other people remember. There’s a fine line in choosing what’s OK to be private and what should be public. The lucky thing about YouTube is, depending on how big you are, you can have some sort of secret part of your life. A lot of celebrities don’t get a lot of privacy.
WTU: Do you ever regret any of the stuff you’ve personally put online?
Bethan: Yeah, but it’s always small things. I’ve been through two break-ups on YouTube and it’s a really difficult thing to go through because you have so many people wanting to hear from you. If you break-up with someone, you do have to put it online. But if I’m having a tough time with depression or something like that, I feel like I have to talk about it because I haven’t been motivated to work or make videos. It’s difficult to decided what’s best for you and your image. I want to have a positive impact on young people so it’s a difficult one. I want to show I’m real but I don’t want to burden people with every single thing that’s goes on in my life because most of the time it can be resolved. Luckily, in the last couple of years I’ve gained a really supportive audience which makes it easier to deal with but it is tough.
WTU: On a more positive note, which YouTubers are you loving right now?
Bethan: Oh god, there are so many! I’m trying to watch a lot more cover videos right now. I’ve been watching my friend Elyar Fox (we just did a collab!), he’s really good. Ebony Day is amazing. And obviously I love Zoe and Alfie, they’ve been my friends for years.
WTU: Finally, everything is going incredibly for you, so what’s next?
Bethan: I’m releasing my EP on 20th November and it’s a new side to my music in the sense I’m doing really rocky music now. I have a band now and we’re playing a show in Camden on the 18th November. I’ll just be continuing with the 4Music thing and the music presenting, along with YouTube. I have got to the point now where I really want to branch out and do different things and kick myself up the arse which the music thing!
You can catch Bethan on 4Music every Saturday and you can buy tickets to see Bethan here.