Balilando from Ranura | Sunday Observer

Balilando from Ranura

Ranura Perera is one of the most popular YouTube sensations in the country, mostly known for his Spanish covers and mashups. Although he is a geological engineer by profession he is now a full time social media specialist.

“I am a singer, fluent in Spanish and above all I have a life mission of making an impactful change in the music industry. And that has led me to work with many artistes and grow their social media presence on all platforms, especially on YouTube. I started my artistic journey as a creator but currently I am dedicating myself to helping other creators to grow on social media,” says Ranura.

Q: Can you take about your YouTube presence? How many subscribers have you got so far?

I started my YouTube channel somewhere in December 2015. Currently I have 300,000 views and over 4000 subscribers. My covers have mainly gone viral on Facebook. There, I have around 1 million views.

Q: What made you become a YouTuber? Any specific reason?

It is a long story and quite an extraordinaryone. As I mentioned before I studied to become an engineer. My story starts when I received a scholarship from the University Grants Commission to study in a Spanish speaking country. I went to Cuba and spent 6 years learning Spanish, Latin music and above all, everything to do with geology.

Q: Did you always want to be a singer or was this all a coincidence?

I never had any dreams of becoming an artiste uploading songs on Social Media but I had great passion and enthusiasm when it came to music. I was always singing and doing vocal training routines, the Ma ma ma’s and the mu mu mu’s. And my friends were making fun of me for that. I was also creating my own melodies and writing my songs as a hobby, never knowing that they would be of use in the future.

Q: What made you quit your job as an engineer?

On my return to Sri Lanka I worked as a geotechnical engineer for more than an year and during this time I even participated in many reality TV shows but ended up going nowhere. I was not really happy with the job opportunities whcih were available for me to grow as an engineer, and with changes in the political situation in the country, I decided to quit my job and look for other job opportunities.

Q: Tell us how and when your first cover was released?

In August 2015, Enrique Iglesias announced that he was going to do a show in Sri Lanka and everybody was talking about him. I was a big fan of his. With my knowledge of Spanish, I saw it as the biggest opportunity to get myself out there and upload my first cover. Just before the concert, I uploaded a Spanish version of the famous hit Bailando and I got around hundred thousand likes in a couple of days and even got noticed by the organisers of the event.

Q: How would you explain the opportunities you got after the release of your first cover as a singer?

From the exposure I got from my first cover I really felt that I could build a brand for myself, and continue my passion for music, on Social Media. Things really started to make a big difference when I ended up working for a big International music company which manages International artistes from Sri Lanka.

With training and exposure, I started seeing all the loopholes, injustice and lack of knowledge of the proper use of Social Media among Sri Lankan artistes.

Q: How many hits /comments/ engagement do you get per video? Do you usually monitor them?

At the beginning every single comment really mattered. Those first few comments, the first 1000 views, the first 1,00 subscribers are the most difficult when you are starting on Social Media. It took me a whole lot of time to educate my first ten thousand viewers on YouTube. In my last video I got those 10,000 views on the exact date the song was released. It was a step by step journey.

Q: When making a video do you take in to account the response you got for the earlier video or do you usually plan out songs?

At the beginning I didn't care much about the views or comments, I just did the songs that I liked. Things changed when I started interacting with the listeners who were listening to my covers. I started doing the covers that they requested. This actually improved the engagement on my videos.

Q: How do you interact with your fans and how is the response so far? What were the criticisms?

I'll always be very grateful for all the support given to me by my fans. I am not a frequent up loader; I usually upload once every three months. The only criticism I got was "why can't you upload more songs and upload more frequently?"

Q: How happy are you about the decision you made to be a YouTuber/Singer?

I am actually more than happy with what I have achieved so far, the little success I have had over the years has encouraged me to do more and more in the future and I really do have plans to grow as an artiste in the Sri Lankan music industry. And in five years time I want to be known as one of the leading singers in this country.

Q: Future plans for your YouTube channel?

I am really looking to collaborate with many artistes who are just as passionate as I am about music, and who are willing to build a career in the music industry, I’ve already had the privilege of working with some of the great performers in the Sri Lankan music industry like Julius Michel and producers like Ranil Gunawardena.

Q: Whom do you wish to thank? Any message for your fans?

I would really like to thank my parents for supporting my decision to make a drastic change in my career and also would like to thank all the people who message me and give me feedback on how good my covers are and keep asking me for more, and asking when the next release is coming up. I am eternally grateful to all of them.