The Misadventures of BriBry

Motley’s Méadhbh Crowley chats to YouTuber Brian O’Reilly aka BriBry about fame, travel and life as a YouTuber.

YouTubers seem to have exploded into fame  over the last few years. YouTube’s Zoella aka Zoe Sugg has had the fastest selling debut album since records began, Troye Sivan stormed the charts across the world with his debut EP and Cork’s own SacconeJolys sold out Dublin’s Button Factory in just under 20 minutes. It seems that they have crept up to become the new A-list celebrities, with some even having followers as prolific as Taylor Swift, Lorde and One Direction.

Motley recently had the chance to chat with Brian O’Reilly (BriBry), an Irish YouTuber. Chatting with BriBry it was hard to believe the vast success he has achieved in such as short space of time and how he hasn’t, like others, let it all go to his head.With his YouTube AdSense revenue going to charity, suh as a cancer charity called The Ross Nugent Foundation, and #CutCakeNotWrists, a mental health campaign set up by BriBry himself. The young Irish man has made a great example of how to use your popularity for good in the world.  YouTube might not seem like a typical career move for most, but for BriBry the normal life was never for him, as he explains: “I was about to graduate from university and every friend around me was talking about getting a job or going to do a Masters. I didn’t want to do any of those things until I completed my bucket list.” He continued to say, “I decided to start travelling around the world and film the whole experience! Nobody watched at the start; then suddenly 300,000 people were watching.”

After starting his channel, ‘BriBry’, it rapidly became successful, gaining a strong and loyal following. He currently has nearly 400,000 subscribers. When asked if he expected such success BriBry replied, “Not a chance. When I started I didn’t even bother daydreaming that it’d become my full time job one day. Too unrealistic. I just got very lucky.”

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BriBry’s channel varies in content from comedy sketches to music videos to discussions of extremely serious issues. With such a mix of topics and genres it was difficult for BriBry to choose his favourite video so far, but after some deliberation he came up with a suggestion. “One of my music videos ‘Care’ was shot in Hollywood, LA, so that was very cool. Otherwise some of my early videos where I make a boob of myself are always good fun to watch back.”

The world of YouTubers is still a mystery to us, but, like everything, comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. BriBry explains why it is both a joy and hindrance. “The main pro is it’s the best job in the world. It’s never not fun.” While on the other hand he claims “the main con is a lot of people take their success on Youtube too seriously and become arrogant. At big YouTube events I can’t spend longer than 5 minutes in the so called ‘VIP’ room; everybody is just too up their own arses.”

In the UK and US, a YouTube frenzy has occurred, where 1000s of people attend YouTube events like VidCon and Summer in The City to meet their favourite YouTubers – spending hundreds in the process. BriBry explains that this is not the usual occurrence and that “YouTube Culture” has gone a bit too far.

“This only happened over the past couple of years. In 2011 YouTube events were still held in random fields across the world; where the creator and viewer were equal and could have a chat. Now thousands of kids queue for hours to see their favourite YouTubers. It’s a bit daft.”

UK counterparts have had exponential success with YouTubers like Sprinkle of Glitter, Alfie Deyes, Marcus Butler and Tanya Burr all harvesting a following of millions, but will Irish YouTubers ever reach these heights? BriBry thinks the Irish can be just as successful but won’t let this go to our heads. “We’re too nice,” he admits, “some of those British guys will literally do anything for fame. We Irish have a bit more dignity.”

Not only have his videos been extremely popular, but they are also very honest. His videos often touch on sensitive topics such as mental health and depression, which, from reading comments, has had a massive effect on thousands of young people’s lives. Speaking about this with BriBry he never realised how much his videos had helped these people. “It’s never once kicked in how those videos have helped people, I just sat down and talked for a few minutes and still feel like I could have done a much better job. But when I’m not touring I do mental health talks at schools across the UK and I love doing it.”

As a parting word BriBry gave some advice for aspiring YouTubers. “Very clichéd thing to say, I know, but do it for the love of making videos; never to become ‘famous.’ The moment you stop enjoying what you’re doing and just concentrate on views is the moment it becomes a real job. It’s YouTube, not an office.”

BriBry plays Cyprus Avenue on the 19th of April. Tickets are €11.65 excluding booking fee.