Exclusive: Singer Esmee Denters Chats with JSYK

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Before Justin Bieber's road to YouTube stardom, Esmee Denters was already gaining millions of hits for her versions of songs by Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo, TLC and Natasha Beddingfield.

The Dutch singer soon gained YouTube superstar status and eventually caught the eye of Justin Timberlake, who not only invited her to open for him during his 2007 European tour but also made Esmee the first artist on his record label, Tennman Records.

"If I didn't have YouTube, I wouldn't be here right now," Esmee told JSYK. "It would be harder for me to get signed, and I would have to go on a lot of auditions in Holland where I'm from. So it's definitely the new way of getting yourself out there and getting people to listen to you. So without YouTube, I wouldn't be signed to a record label right now."

Although Esmee is still posting new videos up, she's been busy in the studio working on her debut album with JT himself. 'Outta Here,' out in August, shows that the 20-year-old artist does more than just covers.
"The album is definitely a pop record," she said. Some of the music is a more funky like the first single, 'Love Dealer,' is very sort of funky and kind of reminds me of a little bit of Prince, of an old Prince song but updated."

With JT guiding her along the way, it's no surprise that the popstar teamed up with her on 'Love Dealer' and even co-stars with Esmee in the music video. Even though working with JT (as well as OneRepulic's Ryan Tedder and opening for Ne-Yo) is a pretty sweet deal, Esmee also hopes to collaborate with other big names in the future. "I think be cool to work with Snow Patrol, the Script and rappers – I love Jay-Z," Esmee said. "Yeah, that would be pretty cool."

And Denters may share the same name as everyone's favorite mommy vampire, but this Esmee admits that she's no Twi-hard. "I haven't seen the movies or books, but I heard there's a character in the movie and in the books that have the same," she said. "But that's just a coincidence."

Esmee revealed that she's named after someone her mom saw on TV. "I think my mom was watching a TV show one day, and there was this girl and she had a little brother who had autism," she said. "She seemed like such a nice girl that my mom was like, 'Her name is so beautiful' so she named me after the girl."

With a bright career ahead of her, Esmee thinks that everyone can have their chance at the limelight if they really want it -- it's all about putting yourself out there.

"I have to say if you really want to be an artist, just go for it," she said. "There's so many things you can do. You can put yourself on YouTube, make a MySpace page, start Twitter and build up a following. And people will enjoy what you're doing. Just have fun with it and show your talent. It doesn't even have to be singing. If you want to be a makeup artist, there's a lot of people doing makeup on YouTube or people want to be comedians. So for everybody, there's something."

Check out Esmee and Justin Timberlake in her video 'Love Dealer' below!


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