Daniel Ryu: You just have to work at it


Credit: Nathan Zhao

Sophomore Daniel Ryu began playing the piano at age seven and comedically signing a year ago. Now, he has his own YouTube channel and recently performed at the Winter Week talent show.

Nathan Zhao

With the workload and time commitment of high school, few high school students actively maintain YouTube channels. Yet sophomore Daniel Ryu has been uploading videos to the popular video-sharing site for the past three years, and for the past year, he has dedicated the channel to comedic singing videos. Recently, Ryu performed at the Winter Week talent show, his first and only live performance to date.

Ryu’s channel initially consisted of video games and occasional commentaries, most of which received fewer than 30 views. His first singing video, “Protoguy64 sings Riptide by Vance Joy (Valentine’s Day special),” was published on Feb. 13, 2017, and currently with 396 views, it is his most viewed video.

Ryu said his video appealed to those who had a sense of humor.

“In the [Valentine’s Day] video, I sang a song and comically sang it really bad. As a joke, I mentioned my seventh grade crush and yelled it out, and that’s when it blew up, basically,” Ryu said.

Ryu noted that while there’s no specific schedule or format to which he uploads videos, he releases each video with the intention of receiving the most views—along with a few laughs.

“I release videos at my own pace,” Ryu said. “Whenever I find a piece of music that I can sing comedically to, I will make [a video]. However, I’m definitely going to make a lot of videos for Valentine’s day [and other holidays].”

Ryu promotes his channel through social media and the online game Kahoot, which is an online personalizable quiz platform often used by teachers.

“When my teachers use Kahoot, I put my username as ‘sub to protoguy64,’” Ryu said.

According to Ryu, the filming process is quite simple, often involving one recording and a half an hour of editing. Ryu uses his home camera to film and iMovie to edit.

Ryu first had the idea of performing at the Winter Week show over winter break. He had never sung and played the piano concurrently, so he set out to master that skill set in preparation for his performance. Ryu cover “Lower Your Expectations” by Bo Burnham, one of Ryu’s biggest inspirations. Burnham is a comedian, singer-songwriter, musician and actor.

“The song was mainly inspired by my own life. [Burnham] was also a big inspiration,” Ryu said.

Burnham’s original version of the comedic song, originally from the Netflix show “Make Happy,” has over nine million views on YouTube. After listening to the song and memorizing the lyrics, Ryu decided to go ahead with the performance. Ryu recently uploaded a video version of his performance on his channel.

“The hardest part is singing and playing the piano at the same time. I had to work day and night on that,” Ryu said.

Ryu believes the performance was well-received by the student body. In fact, he is looking to perform again at the talent show next year.

While he is not planning on pursuing his musical interest through a collegiate degree, Ryu hopes he can be a professional comedic singer someday.

“For now it’s an on the side thing, but this is definitely one of the things I plan on making a career out of,” Ryu said.

Recently, Ryu has added e-swing dancing videos, and his first, “Protoguy64’s E-swing dance #1 Clap Your Hands by Parov Stelar,” currently has 29 views. Ryu is expanding on his channel’s dancing videos based on popular interest.

He strongly encourages other WHS students to pursue their artistic and musical interests.

“There’s really no secret to do it. You just have to work at it,” Ryu said.

Ryu’s channel can be found on YouTube as Protoguy64.