Cute English accent. Adorable human being. Ukulele player. One year ago, I stumbled across Dodie Clark in my recommended YouTube feed — most likely because her video featured a collaboration with Jon Cozart (widely known as Paint on YouTube), a favorite of mine. I clicked on my first Dodie video, “An Awkward Duet,” in which she sings a silly song with Jon, and together they fulfill the title’s promise. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Dodie has two channels, doddleoddle and doddlevloggle. Most of the videos on her first channel are covers and original songs while the videos on her second channel feature personal chats with her audience about her struggle with mental disorders, sexuality and her life. Dodie has an uncanny ability to connect with people, especially those with mental disorders. She seems genuine and vulnerable in most of her vlogs about mental health issues and about the YouTube community, which is probably why she has gained a huge following online.
Additionally, her songs have a simple but moving quality to them. Her lyrics prick you because of their ability to mix metaphors and descriptive words and to take a look into the human soul. The uncomplicated riff in “Secret for the Mad” and “Human” creates space in the song, which makes the listener listen more closely to the soft melodies and piercing lyrics. Her ukulele also makes it perfect to listen to on a relaxing day.
Like many other upcoming musicians on YouTube, late last year, Dodie released an EP called “Intertwined.” She includes six of her original songs that vary in length, style and theme. Every song seems like a little snippet into Dodie’s mind, including contradictions about what she wants in life. For example, there’s a clear juxtaposition between “When” and “Absolutely Smitten,” where the former is a ballad about lying to yourself about finding love and enjoying dating, while the latter is a playful song about finding love in an instant and holding onto it. I think that speaks to the genius of Dodie. She is able to write from multiple lenses about complicated things, like love, to silly things, like not being able to see a dentist.
So how did Dodie become so successful? Aside from her talent, her success has comes from the loyalty of her fans. Because of Dodie’s honesty and vulnerability, she has gained a huge fanbase that supports her tours, EP and other social media outlets. She interacts with her fans as much as possible and makes videos about topics that concern her and her audience. She also often collaborates with other artists on YouTube, growing the audience she reaches. Through her music, she was able to gain a manager that helped organize her “Intertwined” EP and tour.
YouTubers often work with other YouTubers, who may be producers, directors or musicians, in order to learn the skills necessary to make high-quality YouTube videos. YouTube is a great outlet for starting one’s creative endeavors into the music and film industry. As Dodie’s career shows, it allows you to experiment and develop an audience all under your own control.
Contact Jourdann Fraser at jourdann ‘at’ stanford.edu.