It's hard to keep up with kids today, always watching the YouTube and listening to the Ariana Grande. They grow obsessed with fresh faces at the drop of a hat. One look at today's iTunes chart reveals one such unfamiliar artist: Shawn Mendes, currently sitting at #6 for his new EP. Is he from the Disney Channel? Or maybe he's Instagram-famous?
He's neither. Shawn Mendes is a Vine star, and his EP hit the top of the iTunes chart within 37 minutes of its release.
You've probably heard that Vine stars are the next big thing by now, but until now, avoiding knowing anything about them was as easy as not downloading the app nor knowing any teens. But now, the social media mavens are breaking out beyond the confines of their looping six-second videos – and you'll soon be faced with having to know who they are.
Who are the important Vine stars? And how old will they make me feel? Let's get to know some of the cream of the crop as they break out into new fields.
Who/what is he? He's a 15-year-old singer and musician who may just be the next big thing.
How old will he make me feel? Oh my God, so old. He's 15! Remember how long it felt before Justin Bieber turned 18? We're dealing with that all over again. (He's also Canadian, like the Biebs.)
How much do I need to know about him? You should get on the Shawn Mendes train early. Vine fame is one thing, but being able to turn the legion of followers into actual album sales is impressive. He also debuted at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 with his first single "Life of the Party." He may not be to your taste, but he feels like the real deal.
Jack & Jack
Who/what are they? Jack Gilinsky and Jack Johnson (not that Jack Johnson) are teen Vine stars that record hip-hop songs with lyrics like this:
They are a lot to take.
How old will they make me feel? The Jacks feel so young, much more so than they actually are – and they were just high school seniors this past year!
How much do I need to know about them? Well, they did have a iTunes Top 100 hit in their song "Distance." But they seem much less likely to break out than Mendes. You have bigger priorities than Jack & Jack.
Who/what is he? Andrew Bachelor, better known as King Bach, is a 26-year-old actor with over seven million followers on Vine. He specializes in six-second skits.
How old will he make me feel? His age makes him more like your friend than your nephew.
How much do I need to know about him? While Bachelor isn't a singer, he's still making a name for himself on shows like House of Lies and MTV's Wild 'n' Out. You don't need to know him yet, but you'll have more cred when he eventually becomes a SNL featured player if you can say you knew him when.
Us the Duo
Who/what are they? Michael and Carissa Rae Alvarado, a married couple that enjoyed some success on YouTube, but turned to Vine to really make noise.
How old will they make me feel? You'll be fine. They're peppy (think Karmin), but they're definitely adults.
How much do I need to know about them? Depends on how interested in Internet-grown folk music you are. The duo has an album out, and they're touring across the country now, but they've got a solid sound. They're twee for sure, but that's kind of the point.
Jessi Smiles and Curtis Lepore
Who/what are they? Two Vine stars who fell in love – then very deeply out of love – over the Internet.
How old will they make me feel? Smiles is in her early 20s; Lepore's in his early 30s. Don't break out the Botox.
How much do I need to know about them? You might know of them already, actually. Most Vine stars' stories are uplifting, but Smiles' and Curtis' is a tragedy. After broadcasting their first-ever meeting in New York City (with the appropriate hashtag #curtisandjessimeet, naturally) last August, they broke up shortly after. In January, the news broke: Smiles had accused Lepore of raping her while she was asleep. He denied the charge; she stayed firm. Lepore took a plea deal, but his star has stayed pretty bright. Smiles, however, has struggled to break out with her single "What If I."
Cameron Dallas and Nash Grier
Who/what are they? To paraphrase Mean Girls, they're Vine royalty. If social media was Us Weekly, the best friends with a combined 14 million Vine followers would always be on the cover.
How old will they make me feel? Really old! Dallas is 18, while Grier is reportedly 16 (some sources put him at 17 instead; regardless, he's a fetus).
How much do I need to know about them? Dallas and Grier just moved to Los Angeles and are making a movie together, but if it's as teen-focused as it sounds, you might be able to avoid. In fact, these guys seem pretty content to stick with and grow their current fanbase for now.
You can probably go without knowing Dallas; Grier is a different story. He's not only the most followed person on Vine, he's one of the most controversial, finding himself in hot water earlier this month over a homophobic Vine (above) and several similar tweets. While he's apologized for the comments, he continues to rise – and with a higher profile comes a lot more haters. Knowing whether you're a Grier apologist or hater will likely come in handy sometime soon.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.