The New And The Next: Ozy co-founder Carlos Watson tells NPR's Arun Rath about a teenage singer with a grown-up voice, two tutors turned bloggers, and Vietnam's Harley Davidson craze.

A Teenage Music Phenom, Infographics, Motorcycles In Vietnam

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From NPR West, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath. It's time now for The New and the Next.


RATH: Carlos Watson is the co-founder of the online magazine Ozy. Each week, he joins us to talk about what's new and what's next. Welcome back, Carlos.

CARLOS WATSON: Arun, always good to be with you, this time live from Mountain View.

RATH: So let's start out with some music this week. You have a profile of a young singer - I hadn't heard of her before this - Alexandra McDermott.

WATSON: Unbelievable, this 18-year-old from Portland, Oregon. Arun, you got to do the audience a favor and play a little bit of her. She was discovered a couple of years ago on YouTube, just got signed literally this week to a big deal with Columbia Records, one of the major labels. And while she looks young and quiet, she's got one of those big powerful voices that makes everyone kind of stop and stare.

RATH: Let's listen to that. This is her cover of "Big Jet Plane."


RATH: So she's taking off now, but she had a rough time in school?

WATSON: She did. So she, sadly enough, she was bullied as a kid. And bullied badly enough, Arun, that she ultimately had to switch high schools. And then, at a friend's suggestion in 2011, got on stage, performed at a school talent fair, and everybody went silent after she sang Adele's "Someone Like You" and then less than 30 seconds later, burst out into applause, tears. So I'm looking forward to her first album dropping.

RATH: You also have a piece about a blog - another one - I'd never heard of this before - it's starting to get a big following called Wait But Why.

WATSON: You know, Arun, you and I and a ton of other people we know love infographics, the idea that the best way to explain something sometimes is clever graphics. This blog was started by two tutors - these guys were academic tutors - Tim Urban and Andrew Finn, and decided to get together and try and explain some of life's more important and sometimes more offbeat points. So one of their most interesting pieces are why they think millennials are sometimes perpetually unhappy, or I should say more specifically, they call them Gen-Y yuppies. They call them gypsies.

RATH: So it's kind of inspiring. They've made it big, but they've stayed true to their nerdiness.

WATSON: They have. And, you know, even though they only started in July - so less than six months - already have more than a quarter of a million subscribers. And really interesting, their ability to use graphs and charts to bring things alive.

RATH: Finally, you have a surprising factoid in your Fast Forward section this week. There are rumors that a Harley Davidson dealership could be coming to Vietnam.

WATSON: We all think of China as the booming economy in Asia. In the past, we thought certainly of Japan and even India. But increasingly, Vietnam is that place that's showing a lot of spark. They've been growing at 5 or 6 percent, now literally going back 20-plus years, third-largest oil producer. And one of the ways you see some of that financial success story and to show up, believe it or not, are more and more Harley Davidson motorcycles - and I know you own one, Arun...

RATH: Of course.

WATSON: ...on the road of Ho Chi Minh City.

RATH: And they're not, you know, they're popular. They're not like this symbol of, you know, imperialist capitalism.

WATSON: Well, interestingly enough, no. It's funny - Arun, I've visited Vietnam a couple of times, and I'm not surprised to see this as kind of the next step. And while they can be quite expensive - in fact, they're heavily taxed in order to buy one there - you still are not only seeing more and more of them, but in fact, a Harley Davidson dealership is expected to open towards the end of this year or early next year.

RATH: Carlos Watson is the co-founder of the online magazine Ozy. You can explore all the stories we talk about at Carlos, thanks again.

WATSON: Arun, always good to be with you. Have a terrific weekend.

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