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The YouTube Madonna

The YouTube Madonna

In February I wrote about Ysabella Brave, the local woman who, out of her small apartment, has drawn thousands of fans internationally through performances of classic 20th century songs on youtube. She’s a new kind of star from a new kind of medium — without youtube, no one would know who she is, much like Madonna made her mark over 20 years ago thanks to MTV, then in its infancy.

In the last six months she has gained many more fans, signed a recording contract, and has begun performing original material. The first two original songs (“Such a Quiet Man,” and “James,”) were okay, but the most recent, “Baby One,” I find extraordinary.

Maybe it’s because I’m such a fan of Madonna’s that I’m drawn to Ysabella — they’re similar in many ways (hard-working, ambitious, clever, strong-willed, seductive, exhibitionistic, creative, highly individualistic, with a passion for costume, makeup, and changing hair colors, multiple voices, and shifting personae.) If Madonna were starting out in 2007, she would gravitate to youtube too.

Ysabella wrote and performed “Baby One,” and also made the video. I wouldn’t be surprised if she also sewed the clothes she wears! The lyrics are very interesting — they’re informed by her religious study, but it’s not a religious song. It seems to me a meditation on the artist’s creative powers, which give one the ability to fly, to step over mountains, to become, indeed, a giant! From such a small screen on youtube, such things just might be possible.

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