I had the opportunity to speak with YouTube Star Patty Shukla about her work over the phone a few weeks ago. Read an edited version of our conversation below.
In the world of kids music on YouTube, Patty Shukla is a rockstar. With over 100,000 subscribers on her first channel and over 9,000 on her second, she sings fun, classic and original tunes for kids and releases several videos a month. Born and currently residing in Florida, Patty went to school at FSU for theater and music. She got her start in Atlanta with her twin sister, doing adult contemporary music. They also spent time in LA, and New York, playing in clubs and bars. Patty and her husband and partner Neel moved back to Florida after nearly ten years away when they had their first child. The plan had been to spend a few years and then move on, but through YouTube they’ve found there’s no need to go anywhere else.
You started posting videos in 2010, what made you think: You know what would be cool? Youtube videos!
Yea, Youtube wasn’t even that popular back then. I don’t even really know. We saw a couple things online. Even people I loved like Raffi and Laurie Berkner didn’t really have a presence online, but we saw some stuff, and thought we’d give it a try and it was really neat to see that it caught on quickly. People started to write us, and it grew pretty quick, so we kept doing it. We still kept doing it for fun, for the first couple years, but now we’re doing it more like a business, like a full time job.
How much time do you spend in a week devoted to Youtube?
It used to be that we would just kind of throw up whatever but now we feel like we want to put a little more time into it, so literally we’re putting about two or three videos a month and all the time in between is recording, video shooting, editing we do it all ourselves.
So is that a part time job basically, like 20 hours a week? A full time job?
Oh no, we’re burning the midnight oil. It’s definitely full days, if I’m not editing I’m performing in schools. My husband also performs full time for orchestras and theaters, so I grab him to record when we can. My performances are usually in the morning, in elementary schools, you know 300 first graders, kindergartners or preschoolers at a time in the cafeteria. I’ll go probably about three or four times a week, with double shows back to back so it ’s about six performance and when I’m finished with that it’s still early, so I’m back at noon and then I’m working on the music and writing. We have three children so we take a break when they come home around 2:30 for family time and then later when they go to bed we’re back at it.
And we love it! I love it. I didn’t even know about editing a few years ago. I started editing in 2011 but I love that aspect too. You’re really creating, you’re putting everything together. Even some of the cartoons. Some of the animation now we use someone we like, but some of the animation I do also and it’s just so fun. It’s one of those things I never thought I’d do, and it’s one of those things that part of the full process.
Why do you have more than one channel?
Because I have a mommy and me class once a week for 1 – 3 years olds, which is such a fun age, and they wanted that, they wanted nursery rhymes and twinkle twinkle and now I’m able to say after class, you know all the songs we did in class are on there so go check it out. They do, and it’s a good way to reinforce the songs.
On the first channel you have 100K subscribers, how do you feel you keep them engaged?
Yeah, other youtube channels are very person driven, like they’re attached to the person and the talking. How we keep them engaged is we do more music videos and things like that. We have experimented in the past, we‘ve done tour videos and education videos but our audience is not into that really what they love are the videos, so we really try to get music videos on there. Usually we try to do two a month, it used to be more but I just had a baby last Feb, and family is important! Also we try to do more quality videos, which takes longer.
Check back tomorrow for part two of my interview with Patty Shukla!