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7 Indie Success Stories That Give Us Hope

These creators went around the gatekeepers and found a following all their own

Not everyone can pull a Justin Bieber.

The pop star’s mum shared some of his songs on YouTube, and the rest is pop music history. He quickly shed those humble roots, though, to become part of the show business machine.

No harm in that, but others refuse to give up their independence.

These talented souls – singers, comedians and podcasters alike – used existing platforms to muscle past industry gatekeepers. That matters today since said gatekeepers often block artists who don’t align with the progressive groupthink.

Their success sends a message to anyone eager to share their talents sans compromise. It can be done, and the following artists prove it.

Tim Dillon

The irascible comic may be the closest we have to Howard Stern 1.0. Dillon’s unexpurgated podcast overflows with dirty bits, razor-sharp observations and rants meant to shove us out of our comfort zones. It’s an exhilarating blend, no doubt, and one not meant for mainstream consumption.

That approach may be putting a target on his back.

Here’s Mediaite trying to “cancel” Dillon for telling jokes he’s allegedly not allowed to say. Good luck. The comedian doesn’t have a boss or corporate overseer to keep him in line. Nor does he care that a media site is tsk-tsking his commentary. It probably gave him a hearty laugh.

Buddy Brown

This country crooner tried it the old-fashioned way. He went to Nashville, guitar in hand, and asked the appropriate suits to give him a record contract. Said suits sounded amendable to his pitch, but they didn’t want him sharing his right-leaning lyrics, Brown recalls.

So he left Music City and struck out on his own, just him, his guitar and a YouTube channel.

RELATED: Buddy Brown Goes Viral, Again, Mocking Woke Coke

His instincts proved sound as he found himself climbing the country music charts without a label’s support. His YouTube channel flourished, he leaned harder into his ideological musings and forged an honest career that broke some, not all, of the rules.

Case in point: He’d rather be home for his kids’ sports games than spend endless weeks touring the country.

His career. His terms. And he couldn’t be happier.

Ryan Long

The comic with the Canadian lilt is defiantly apolitical. He’ll swat the Left and the Right as needed, but jabbing the woke among us is his current passion.

Can you blame him?

Long’s hilarious videos often get caught in Big Tech’s censorial net, but enough sneak through to leave a mark. The writers at “Saturday Night Live” should be ordered to watch his best bits and take notes. Lots and lots of notes.

Men For Total Equality

His “Boyscast” show offers an unfiltered peek into the male brain, and he’s teasing a movie project that can’t come soon enough. Plus, he’s a touring comedian eager to spread the gospel of going wherever the funny leads him.

Only you won’t find any glowing articles about him in The Hollywood Reporter or Deadline.com. The mainstream media ignores Long and his viral video fame. He doesn’t need their approval. His fans give him all he really needs.

Chrissie Mayr

This defiant comic doesn’t hide the fact that she attended the Jan. 6 rally for outgoing President Donald Trump. She didn’t storm the capitol, but she realizes some will lump her in with that violent crowd no matter how hard she protests.

She’s fearless that way, knowing that to speak her mind means the traditional comedy doors will slam shut for her.

Maybe permanently.

No matter. She used the pandemic to lean into her broadcasting chops, growing “The Chrissie Mayr Podcast” and expanding her touring reach as part of the Comedians of the Compound. She’s also the host of “The Wet Spot” on Compound Media, exploring the Libertarian boundaries of comedy in the process.

JP Sears

The comedian’s self-help shtick got him plenty of attention on YouTube. Then, Sears saw what was happening to the culture at large and course corrected for the new abnormal. His fame spiked accordingly, and he’s not surprised.

“People love to be a part of the freedom movement … they love to have someone voice what everyone is thinking but not saying. They want to hear others calling out corruption,” he told The Daily Wire

Now, Sears has nearly 2 million YouTube subscribers and videos which routinely haul in north of a million views each.

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Once again, that’s all without much, if any, mainstream press coverage. And he’s just warming up.

The reluctant conservative stands on the front lines of the culture wars, mocking government overreach, Big Tech bullies and other freedom-snuffing trends. While Stephen Colbert yuks it up over Dr. Seuss’s cancellation, Sears slams President Joe Biden’s authoritarian leanings.

Sears isn’t addicted to corporate cash like some on the Left, which means he’ll never grace a late night couch.

That’s their loss.

Adam Carolla

The Ace Man’s biggest success grew out of a high-profile failure. Carolla got the assignment to quasi-replace Howard Stern when he left terrestrial radio for satellite. No one could properly fill Stern’s shoes, though, and eventually Carolla’s bosses opted for a cheaper format over a personality driven show.

An adrift Carolla didn’t want to stop talking, so he quickly assembled his resources for a podcast that would let him say whatever he wanted to say on his own terms. No one would cut a huge check for him, though. He was on his own, literally, in a raw, untested medium.

We all know what followed next. “The Adam Carolla Show” became a podcasting sensation. Today, it’s part of his media empire, one ranging from car-inspired documentaries to his “Loveline” reunion project, “The Adam and Dr. Drew Show.”

Pop culture consumers take Carolla’s current success for granted. And, yes, he had plenty of “Loveline” and Comedy Central” cash to fall back on at the start of his indie career. He still blazed a trail that other creators happily followed, and his willingness to speak up for free speech offers hope, and inspiration, for the next generation of truth tellers.

Tom McDonald

You could argue the rapper’s most subversive act was using his given name instead of a hip-hop friendly one.

Let’s go with his non-stop assault on woke bromides in song after song, captured in larger-than-life music videos hearkening back to the days when MTV mattered. His powerful tunes follow no set genre, careening from rock to rap and back again.

Lyrically, MacDonald is pushing boundaries one moment while pleading for tolerance the next. It’s a delicate balance he’s perfected at a relatively young age for an artist.

Plus, MacDonald is a one-man operation – no label, no massive PR structure.

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