A Q&A with Thadudette

Thaddie parodies, AKA Thadudette is a parody musician creating Disney, cartoon, anime, and gaming parodies to “make people emit hahas out of their chew holes”.

Her take on the genre is quite different than other parody artists. She’s known best for her literal parodies where the lyrics are literally narrating exactly what is happening on the screen.

Here is an interview between Switching Styles and Thadudette

How did you start in music?
I grew up in a musical family, so I’ve been surrounded by it my whole life! I took piano lessons as a child – which I’ve completely forgotten now, of course – voice lessons in elementary school, and started playing drums in fifth grade. Since middle school, church worship teams have also been a big part of my life, so I’ve been singing and playing bass pretty much ever since then.

What is the story behind the name Thadudette and Thaddie Parodies?
Honestly, “Thadudette” is the name of my first Maple Story character because my brother’s character was “ThaDude.” I’m not very creative with names, so it’s kind of just stuck as my go-to username since then. 😛 “Thaddie” is just a cute, easy nickname that my friends came up with.

How would you describe your sound?
Considering I don’t make my own music, it’s a little hard to say. I suppose if I think of this question in terms of my voice, I would think of it as a clear, belty voice that packs a lot of punch when I hit notes right… but easily sounds pretty strain-y if I don’t!

Who are the musicians that inspire your sound?
AmaLee/LeeandLie for sure—I think singing along with her music so much helped my voice get a little closer to hers; though not nearly as gorgeous, of course! A lot of amazing singers I’ve played with at church have also been a big influence on my voice.

What appeal do you think covers have compared to the original songs to a general audience?

I love doing covers over original music because I love connecting with people over a common interest. With original music, you kind of put yourself out there and say “hey, this is MY product, do you like it?” whereas with a cover you say “hey, you like Moana? I like Moana! But here’s my little spin on the song, what do you think?”

Why do you perform hilarious parodies?
As mentioned in the question about covers, parodies give me an established common interest with an audience, and they give me the chance to make people laugh, which I absolutely love!

Which one stands out as a favourite? 
This is tough, but if I had to pick just one, I think I’d have to go with the literal parody for the opening of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!

How come? 
A lot of reasons: for one, it was my first video game parody that did really well. While I love doing Disney parodies, I actually didn’t grow up with Disney—gaming is where my real childhood is. So, I felt a lot more like I was clicking with “my people” with this parody. The song itself was challenging, but vocally and lyrically I’m pretty proud of it! The success of this literal also led me to create a Discord server that helped me meet and talk to a lot of great friends—including the man who’s now my fiancé!

How do you choose the songs to parody? When I was doing this more as a career, it was a mixture of trying to guess which songs would be most popular, which ones were most requested, and which ones hadn’t been done yet. I like to respect the literals that are already out there if I can, so if a popular song is already parodied and I get requested to do it a lot, I make it a patron-only literal. Now that I’m not pursuing YouTube as a career, I just do the ones I want to do when I feel like it.

What’s the process of creating these parodies? 
It starts with the writing, which mostly involves me going through the video line-by-line and drafting what comes to mind first, then combing back over it to make it fit better with syllable count and rhyme scheme. And it ensures that the song is stuck in my head for the rest of the day! After that, I usually record vocals from there, mix it with an instrumental, then slap it on the video and throw some subtitles on and it’s done. The writing and singing are where most of the effort goes; the editing is pretty low maintenance compared to a lot of YouTubers!

You’ve collaborated with a few different artists for your parodies, what are your thoughts on collaboration? 
Collaboration is one of my favourite parts of YouTubing, for sure! It’s just incredible that the Internet allows us to remotely create art together and form friendships through that.

What is one of your funniest stories about collaborating? 
I don’t really have much on this one, unfortunately. The only somewhat related incident that comes to mind is that I was watching Kyle, my fiancé, scroll through his YouTube feed and the You’re Welcome literal showed up.

In his goofy, sweet way and completely forgetting that Aaron Camacho was the singer for that one, he said, “Hey, I bet the person who sang that video is really beautiful, sweet, clever, and kind!”

I said, “I can’t really say, I’ve only met Aaron in person once!” I’m happy to report that Aaron is indeed very talented, sweet, clever, and kind though—it’s up to him if he would prefer to be described as beautiful or not, though.

Do you have a favourite collaboration that you’ve done? 

Gosh, that’s really hard… I’m a huge fan of everyone I’ve collaborated with! But if I had to pick one, I think I’d have to go with A Place Like Slaughter Race from Wreck-It Ralph 2.

When I was in high school, I had Lizzie Freeman’s “This Day Aria” literal memorized front and back, and it’s insane thinking that one day we would actually collaborate together! Jeffry Saenz also sang the male voices in that collab and working with him is always a huge joy. They’re both so freaking talented and the song is from the sequel to my favourite movie of all time!

Are there more collaborations in the future? 
Yes—once I’ve started writing and producing again, I’m still going to need male voices to help me out! I still owe everyone a Lost in the Woods literal!

What are your opinions of the industry in the music industry?
Frankly, it’s hard. I stopped pursuing YouTube as a career because working on all the things that weren’t fun were making me burn out on the parts I really loved: parody writing and singing.

I’m really glad that YouTubing as a career is possible now, but to anyone out there who’s hoping to pursue it, do count the cost: are you willing and able to work four times as hard to make pennies for a long time? Do you have the initiative and independence to basically run your own business?

It works great for some people, but I like stability and routine, and I just wasn’t getting that on YouTube, and it was really running down my mental health. I’ll never regret trying to be a career YouTuber, but I also haven’t regretted switching back ever since.

How do online platforms like YouTube or YouTube impact the music industry? 
YouTube is basically our boss, and frankly, it’s not a very reasonable or nice boss. It’s like having a boss who doesn’t care about you, but always fawns over their favourite employees; the corporate creators and the ones who make them the most money, of course.

How do those platforms impact Thaddie Parodies? 
I was never able to monetize my channel because of copyright, and I never received an official play button. my Discord server was sweet enough to shower me with play button emotes, though! Before I write a parody, I usually have to screen the original to make sure YouTube won’t block it entirely, because it’s happened where I put in the time and effort to write a parody and end up not being able to upload it to YouTube because of copyright blocking. My Facebook pages were also nuked because of copyright with no advance notice. Thank you very much.

What are your thoughts on copyright? 
I’ll try to be professional in my answer to this! Copyright does need to exist, because at the core, yeah, stealing others’ creations is not cool. So yes, a system needs to be in place. What’s really frustrating is that YouTube’s copyright system is set up to corner small content creators and still let people actually stealing content slip by. For creators like me who thrive off of connecting with others on pre-existing creations, it’s really frustrating and often depressing to have to work around a broken copyright system at pretty much every turn. It’s not the main reason I stopped pursuing YouTube as a career, but it is a factor.

You’re also on Patreon, how does that impact your career? 
Patreon is a good platform; it was my primary source of YouTube income while I was career YouTubing and while it wasn’t making a lot, it was amazing to be able to connect and chat directly with the people who were incredible enough to want to support me with their wallets.

What are some of your fondest memories throughout your music career? 
There are a lot, but one of the things that makes me happiest is looking back at my channel and genuinely feeling proud of what I’ve created. My parodies certainly aren’t perfect in a lot of ways, but I’m still really happy with them, and glad that they brought a little bit of joy to so many people.

What are some obstacles throughout your music career?
I’ve already talked about copyright; the business aspect was another hard one for me that ultimately, I couldn’t manage on top of creating content. I also find running social media very tiring, and I knew I could’ve upped my social media game a lot, but it didn’t come naturally to me at all.

What advice would you give to young musicians just starting out?
Two things that sound contradictory:

One. This is for people wanting to do YouTube or music as a full-time career. Count the cost and consider what you want in a career. If your only reason is to become famous, “you’re going to have a bad time, kid.” most people discover that they hate fame when they become famous. It’s definitely supremely overrated. You need a ton of initiative and drive to succeed in the long run, and you need to be willing to spend a lot of time doing things that aren’t the part you love – creating art. That works great for some people, but I found that that wasn’t for me. Are your core mission and drive going to be enough to keep you going when it’s hard?

Two. This is for anyone, whether hopeful career YouTubers or hobbyists. Just start somewhere! Don’t wait to have all the best gear or to be perfectly prepared: just start uploading! Everyone starts out creating sucky content, so just get it over with and you’ll improve faster than if you tried to wait until you had all your ducks in a row. I look back at my old videos and see a lot of things that I could do a lot better now—but if I hadn’t started with those videos, I wouldn’t be where I am now, so I don’t look at them with any regrets.

What are your future plans?
I don’t have a lot of plans for YouTube right now—once I feel a little more settled in life, I’d like to be able to go back to parody writing, for sure. My husband-to-be and I are also hoping to do some Twitch streaming after we’re married—not totally related, but it would be fun!

Do you have any up and coming parodies?
I have a really fun Mad Libs parody of The Other Side from The Greatest Showman that’s still been sitting on the shelf. It’s a collab with Shirleydocious, so that’s fun! And I still want to do a Lost in the Woods parody sometime. Besides that, there isn’t a lot in the works since I’ve been focusing on other life things—but I will be back eventually!

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