People use YouTube for many reasons.
For Courtney Jenaé, it was a way to make her dreams real.
Jenaé, a 22-year-old Fountain Valley native who was born Courtney Woolsey (no relation), discovered that YouTube could help her share her love of singing.
"I feel like having a social media outlet like YouTube is a great advantage because it's free advertis[ing]," Jenaé said. "It's a way to immediately get your music out there to everyone."
Jenaé's YouTube channel, CourtneyWoolsey, currently has more than 12,000 subscribers and 3.7 million views. Most notably, her cover of The Chordettes' "Lollipop" has more than 1.4 million views.
"It feels awesome to know that someone on the other side of the world is listening to my music and enjoying it," Jenaé said. "So far, the response has been great. I've had fans ranging from 15 years old to 45 years old. I feel a lot of people are able to identify with my music because it is very relatable."
Jenaé discovered her musical talents during her days at Fountain Valley High School, where she performed in the Concert Choir and participated in the Associated Student Body.
"I feel like it would've been more helpful to me if I had discovered my music talents earlier in life because I would've gotten an earlier start," she said. "But at the same time, I'm thankful that I was able to live a somewhat normal childhood life because I wasn't surrounded by the industry until recently."
In 2011, Jenaé decided to move to Los Angeles after graduating with a certificate in vocal music at Orange Coast College. She said she wanted to surround herself with others in the industry.
"Moving to L.A. was a big step for me," she said. "[I have been] writing with my producer, Stephen Stahl, for the past year, writing for countless hours in the studio and singing the National Anthem at UCLA baseball and softball games."
Jenaé also recently signed to Wondr Music , an independent record label, and is currently working on a debut E.P. with original songs.
"I write all my own music," Jenaé said. "The inspiration depends on what mood I'm in that day. Typically, my lyrics stem from past relationships or an alter ego of some sort."
Jenaé said her biggest musical inspirations are Etta James and Christina Aguilera.
"Both [singers] have powerhouse voices," she said. "Etta James has so many great songs, and her lyrics are so real and from the heart. Christina [Aguilera] has this voice that I could literally listen to all day. I have looked up to them for as long as I can remember."
Like her inspirations, Jenaé plans to continue pursuing a solo career.
"I'm not opposed to being in a band," she said. "But, ideally, I like the idea of identifying with my [listeners] one-on-one."
Jenaé also said she wants to break out of the YouTube cover mold, but wants to continue with her channel to promote her own original music.
On Saturday, Jenaé will perform at the Key Club in Hollywood in conjunction with RAW Artists, a community that calls attention to individual artists from all forms of art.
The event is 21-and-older and cocktail attire is encouraged. Tickets are $10 (presale) and $15 at the door. To purchase tickets, visit rawartists.org/courtneyjenae.
"It's taken a lot of hard work and determination to get to where I am now," Jenaé said. "In this industry, there's no such thing as being lazy. Every day has its struggles but my family and friends are what keep me in one piece."
For more information about Jenaé, visit courtneyjenae.com.