SAIPAN – An aspiring singer and incoming eighth grader at Dandan Middle School, Bernice Shane Sabino on Wednesday received a Silver Play Button from YouTube for having more than 100,000 subscribers.
Saipan Music and Dance Studio President Ester Sablan said it was the first time someone from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands received the recognition.
The award came with a letter from YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who congratulated the 13-year-old on her subscriber milestone.
“We know that numbers on YouTube can get really big, but we hope that you don’t lose sight of the reality behind that six-digit milestone. Each and every person who has subscribed to your channel has been touched by what you created. They were inspired, challenged or entertained,” Wojcicki stated.
“You achieved this milestone with hard work, perseverance and probably a healthy sense of humor, too. What you have accomplished can’t be take away from you. We would like to recognize you and all your hard work with this Silver Creator Award, a small token of our esteem and respect.
“We know that you don’t do this for rewards. You do it because you have a drive to create and share, and because you have found an audience who cares. Believe us when we say that we can’t wait to see what you do next. A million subscribers may seem a long way off right now, but you are closer than you think. And we are rooting for you,” Wojcicki said.
Sabino’s parents, Sheryl and Bernard, said they set up a YouTube channel for their daughter when she was 2.
In 2015, her YouTube channel started gaining worldwide viewership.
Her first video that went viral was her “duet” with English singer and songwriter Jessie J through the Smule app – a social music collaboration where a fan can sing with their favorite singers.
Sabino sang “Flashlight” with Jessie J. She was 9 years old then. The video now has more than 19 million views.
When she was 10, Sabino performed “You’re Welcome” from the movie “Moana," which also was uploaded to YouTube. It now has over 15 million views.
As of Thursday, her YouTube channel had 129,000 subscribers, 242 videos and a total of 40,823,121 views.
“I only post video when there is a song I want to sing or my dad uploaded a video of my performance at a community event,” Sabino said in a phone interview.
Her favorite singers are Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Demi Lovato, who, she added, inspire her.
She said her parents support her dream to become a famous singer.
“My mom helps me memorize (the lyrics) and my dad is my vocal coach," Sabino said.
Sabino is a member of the Saipan Music and Dance Studio. “They helped me develop my confidence. I would still be very shy if not for SMADS. They are like my family. They are very helpful. They always encourage and inspire me.”
In 2013, she became the youngest winner of Bridge Capital’s “CNMI Got Talent” competition.
Sabino also was a member of the CNMI team that competed in the National Junior Speech and Debate Association in Dallas, Texas, from June 16 to 21.
She represented the CNMI in the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska, from June 24 to 25 in solo musical and received an excellent rating.
Through her YouTube channel, Sabino is now earning money. “We used my earnings to buy video equipment,” she said.