If you are or if you live with a teenager, chances are you’ll have heard of Adam Beales already. The 18-year-old from Derry has amassed nearly 860,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, TheNewAdamb99, in just under three years.
A colourful mix of lifestyle vlogs, light-hearted pranks on friends and family, and good-natured banter with his little brother has endeared him to an audience of loyal fans both at home and right across the world.
Adam’s says he’s had a 'passion for video creation from an early age', making his first recordings on a 'crappy Nokia at the age of eight or nine – the video quality was just awful!'
He created his YouTube channel in 2012, but it lay largely inactive until 2015 when he got a camcorder and began creating video content in earnest.
Beales explains, 'It was then I began really working on after effects and taught myself how to edit video and use things like Photoshop, by watching YouTube tutorials.'
Between May 2015 and March of last year, he worked hard at his craft and built up an impressive 11,000 subscribers – all while working towards an equally impressive clean sweep of A grades at GCSE. Fitting filming and editing in around schoolwork hasn’t been easy, but his extracurricular efforts paid off last spring when he uploaded a ‘hack’ video giving tips and tricks for using Siri, the iPhone’s digital assistant.
'Over the next day, my phone just started going mad with notifications. I’m not sure what it was about that video that made it go viral, but that was the one that kicked off the first initial jump in subscribers and it’s just continued to grow from there.'
As well as his own line of branded merchandise, Beales has turned his fame into fortune – or more accurately, a very healthy part-time income - by working with brands and corporations, including Disney. He hasn’t let success cloud his judgement, however, and he is taking an admirably level-headed approach to his career prospects after school.
He currently fits his content creation work around his A-Level studies and has applied to study Computer Science at university. While plans are not yet set in stone, Beales thinks he might defer entry for a year and spend 2018/19 working on videos and online content full-time. If his online career takes off, great – if not, he’ll bring his impressive digital skills and experience to university.
In the more immediate future, he says he is really looking forward to 'showing off Derry' at Friday's 'Uploaded! Creators Day' at the Nerve Centre with fellow vloggers Jake Mitchell, Millie T and Lee Hinchcliffe. As well as his love for video and online content, Adam clearly cares a lot about playing a part in educating and inspiring the next generation of digital creators – just one of the reasons he is 'buzzing' about this week's sold out panel and meet and greet event as part of Creativity Month.
Adam's most popular video (11m views) followed last year's remake of Stephen King's IT, which took the name of its setting from the YouTuber's native Derry
The young YouTuber is keen to see more and better quality digital education in Northern Ireland schools – something he feels is currently 'lacking'.
'There is a whole science behind creating great digital content and getting it seen. More and more young people are out there using the online world to effect change and I would love to see schools here investing in that.'
Subscribe to Adam's YouTube channel TheNewAdamb99.
By Heather McGarrigle