Cover Art: “Girls Love Beyoncé” and “Young and Beautiful”

June 14, 2013

Associate editor Duncan Cooper and art director Harry Gassel recently realized they share a special fondness for amateur YouTube covers—songs sung solo in someone's bedroom, shot through their webcam and into the world. In their new column, Cover Art, Duncan and Harry each share a favorite recent find.

Keeping with the do-it-yourself spirit, we'd like your help.

See the way the words "cover art" change up above? Help us illustrate the column by writing, illustrating, or just typing the words "cover art" in whatever style you'd like. We'll pick five favorites to use for the column art, and send the winners copies of our last three issues and link to your site. Artwork must be black and white and at least 640 pixels wide. Please send submissions to

Numi, "Girls Love Beyoncé" (Drake Cover)

Naomi "Numi" Campbell (who as far as I can tell is not related to the Naomi Campbell) is 18 and makes music out of her bedroom. This Drake video has 56,400 views, which in a world where popular covers can get millions of hits is definitely not superstar status, but she's no upstart either. Her professional microphones and overdubbed harmonies suggest a girl who's looking for more than an outlet for personal expression, which in some ways is the only major drawback for me. One of the reasons I watch amateur YouTube covers is because I really identify with the type of person who sings along to the radio, figuring out the chords to "When I Come Around"—that emotional space of loving a song so much. Some of Numi's other videos are more produced, with multiple locations and digital effects that push into a trendier aesthetic, but for this one she keeps it simple: a webcam, a bandana and some cheap looking turquoise headphones. What I love about this cover is that Numi makes it her own. Drake's sing-song rap style is a hard thing to copy, and she doesn't try. Instead, she sits low on the beat and delivers a version of "Girls Love Beyonce" with the kind of untethered emotion that makes watching strangers' video blogs so raw. HG

Leia Jade, "Young and Beautiful" (Lana Del Rey Cover)

Leia Jade's YouTube about page says, "Sometimes I make covers of songs. But not often. And not well." Her take on "Young and Beautiful," though, is very much well. Whereas Lana Del Rey's original—both when it weaved in an out of the glitzy, hollow Great Gastsby, and in its Fantasia-referencing, tuxedo-orchestra music video—benefits immensely from her complete and almost self-sacrificing commitment to glamour, Jade's pained rendition zeros right into the sadness and spareness behind Lana's eyes. Musically speaking, her cover is pretty faithful—that she hits every note so well, at the right times and in the right way, just in a different context, reaffirms how incredible, and universal, "Young and Beautiful" really is. DC

Cover Art: “Girls Love Beyoncé” and “Young and Beautiful”