From the coffee shop to the stage: Austin Mahone’s ‘Swift’ rise to fame

Austin Mahone will be opening for Taylor Swift on her upcoming Red Tour. Here he plays WKSE's Kissmass Bash in Buffalo. (Photo by Tim O'Shei)

Austin Mahone will be opening for Taylor Swift on her upcoming Red Tour. Here he plays WKSE’s Kissmass Bash in Buffalo.
(Photo by Tim O’Shei)

A little over a year ago, Austin Mahone was in a Nashville coffee shop when he noticed a young woman who walked through the door. He looked closely, noticed the curly blonde hair and familiar face. Quickly he realized who this was. Or at least he thought he knew:

It was pop star Taylor Swift.

Austin decided to grasp the opportunity. He approached her and asked, “Are you Taylor Swift?”

It was. Austin got a picture with her.

Now, the 17-year-old singer is about to go on tour with her.

Austin is one of the opening acts on Taylor’s upcoming Red Tour, which is a huge leap from the days when he was recording music at home and posting it on YouTube. That ultimately helped him land a record deal with Universal Republic (he’s recording his first album now), but sharing his talent online wasn’t always easy for Austin.

When he was in middle school, Austin was bullied by kids.

“A lot of people made fun of me for being on YouTube and singing,” he told us. “A lot of people in my school didn’t like me.”

What helped Austin get through as kids made fun of him and called him names? He had a support system.

“I had a group of four friends, we always had each others’ backs,” he said. “We were there for each other.”

Austin still posts videos for his fans on his own channel and on YouTube’s AwesomenessTV, which takes you through his personal life and shows you how he prepares for a performance. You get an inside look at everything Austin Mahone, from his own home to his “second home” — the stage. You can see all of the hard work and dedication he puts in as he works with his vocal coach and choreographer.

Being famous may seem like it’s easy, almost as if you have the freedom to do and say whatever you want. But Austin told us it’s quite the opposite. When you’re famous, it’s like you’re always on stage.

“I really have to watch what I say and what I do,” he said, “because there are always people watching me.”

Many people think that fame is just something that is given to you if you’re one of the lucky people whose YouTube videos go viral. But Austin said that’s one of the biggest misconceptions.

“You have to work hard for it,” he told us.

It’s a lot of work for him but in the end, Austin said, it is all worth it.

— Noelle DeFabio & Catherine McDaniel, LSY! teen reporters, Mount St. Mary Academy; with LSY! founder Tim O’Shei

Awesome Austin Stuff:

Random fact: A fan once gave him an office chair as a gift.

Austin on how to handle rumors: “People like to hear the truth. For the most part, be truthful.”

Austin’s advice to kids who are being bullied: “I would talk to people. I wouldn’t keep it inside. Get help. And a lot of things people say aren’t true. Those people have a lot of problems. Just because they’re saying something about you doesn’t mean it’s true.”

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