Local musician goes viral on YouTube
Two years ago, when Williamsport native and Pittsburgh resident Mal Scoppa posted her homemade video for “Let’s Run Away” on YouTube, she was just happy that anybody watched it.
“My whole intention of doing so, was to share with my friends and family what I was writing,” she said. “I remember getting 40 likes and thinking that was awesome!”
The video showcased her experimenting with a new song and a new instrument, the mandolin, and at times, she wasn’t quite so confident about its appeal.
“I almost took it down a couple times because I didn’t think anyone was watching it,” she said.
But last week, after a long period of dormancy for the video, something surprising happened.
“I woke up Wednesday morning to a message from my friend and bandmate John Shively, saying ‘You are on the second page of Reddit!’ This was 7 a.m. and I was super confused as to what Reddit was.”
Reddit.com is a website where users can choose which stories they think are the best by clicking on arrows to vote them up or down the list. Someone had found her video and got the ball rolling by posting it to the site.
“I clicked on the link that was titled ‘Found this gem in the depths of YouTube with no views’ and it was me in my bedroom singing!” Scoppa said. “I looked at the views and it went from around 300 (who at that point had only been my friends and family) to over 4,000 in a matter of a few hours! This was about 7:30 in the morning.”
But that was only the beginning. Within the next two days, the video accumulated more than 130,000 views and received a flurry of positive comments, something that anybody who has ever read YouTube comments should find impressive.
Scoppa couldn’t believe how fast everything took off.
“It’s just amazing how quickly events can set things in motion,” she said. “You do things every day that you don’t think are going to matter at all and one day that changes with a simple click. I’m just so happy I was able to reach so many people that I may not have ever been able to reach.”
The song itself, which has a similar feeling to laid-back hits like Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” is about a relationship in trouble.
“It’s about a last ditch effort to save a relationship by casting aside all the clear and present issues you have and returning to what you initially loved about that person,” Scoppa said. “Running away from the problems essentially and returning to a more simple time.”
Scoppa recorded the video in her bedroom, not thinking that so many people would see it.
“I know when you put things on YouTube, it’s there for the whole world to see, however, it was never imagined that so many people would view it,” she said. “It doesn’t really bother me though.”
Along with all the praise her voice and mandolin-playing are receiving online, something else also is getting a lot interest: her looks. There have been many comments similar to Benny Ortega’s “Your so beautiful and sound great 😀 your just perfect” and dccowboys1’s “Gorgeous and talented. Marry me?”
“It’s flattering, however, it made me feel strange to be judged by so many people I didn’t know,” Scoppa said. “I suppose that’s always something people are judging you on, whether you want them to or not!”
With “Let’s Run Away” getting so many hits – as of Monday, it had 167,552 views – her other videos like “It’s Still There” are picking up as well.
“It has [moved up] quite a bit, as well as the other homemade videos I have on my channel,” she said. “But nothing has taken off like ‘Let’s Run Away!’ “
Energized by the interest, Scoppa is working on songs for Mal Scoppa and the Tall Tales, her band that regularly performs in the area.
“I am currently writing things for the new album and we are still playing quite a few shows locally and in the surrounding areas,” she said.
To watch “Let’s Run Away,” visit YouTube.com and search for “Mallory Scoppa Let’s Run Away” or click www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqtySVDoDjg.
For more information about Mal Scoppa and the Tall Tales, search for “Mal Scoppa and the Tall Tales” on Facebook. The band’s music is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.