UT student a viral sensation with his YouTube mashups

Fadi Saleh

Fadi Saleh

Fadi Saleh's gone viral.

The University of Tennessee sophomore has created an Internet sensation with his musical mashups of President Barack Obama "singing" pop songs, including Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe," LMFAO's "Sexy (And I Know It)" and, most recently, Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend."

Saleh has his own YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/baracksdubs, which has more than 123,000 subscribers. His combined videos have logged more than 40 million views.

A pre-med major at UT, Saleh said his first video, a mashup of Obama singing Rihanna's "(Cheers) Drink to That," took him about two weeks to complete and wasn't an immediate success.

"It got pretty popular in Brazil. There are a lot of Rihanna fans in Brazil. ... (But) it didn't get many views. Maybe a few thousand on the first day and tens of thousands on the second, maybe about 100,000 overall. Comparatively, that's not very good at all ... but it got positive feedback. As a result, not many viewers, but almost 100 percent of the viewers liked it. That was encouragement for me to keep going."

Saleh said his next mashup, Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," helped him hit big numbers, thanks in part to Gaga's fans.

"These 'Little Monsters' (Gaga's fans), they're quite a loyal troupe she's got there. (Laughs) They see a video like that ... they're gonna spread it around. That's how it got so huge." (The video has been viewed more than 5 million times on YouTube.)

Saleh says even the pop artists themselves seem to take a shine to his work.

"Rihanna's brother shared (the video) on his Facebook. ... LMFAO posted it on their Facebook. ... Carley Rae Jepsen re-tweeted the video, and then (Justin) Bieber tweeted the video."

Saleh, who is at home in Memphis for the summer, doesn't see a career in the videos, but isn't going to let the moment pass him by.

"The bottom line for it all, I want a stable income and I want a stable job. A stable job is not in the entertainment business. (Chuckles) ... So, I plan to pursue my education, but I don't plan to drop this, because this is an opportunity — a very rare opportunity at that — and I could use this to do bigger things."

Saleh is keeping his next video under wraps for now, but says fans can see it on July 16.

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Comments » 2

sierramister writes:

My wife asked me, "Who on earth has the time to do this?" and I had to respond, "A UT student!"

GloryUtd84 writes:

in response to sierramister:

My wife asked me, "Who on earth has the time to do this?" and I had to respond, "A UT student!"

Oh my God I bet she thinks you're hilarious! High five...

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