sione maraschino

Even a job at the magical world of Disney couldn’t compare with the magic of newfound music video fame.

For one Vine star, even a job at the magical world of Disney couldn’t compare with the magic of newfound music video fame.

About a year and a half ago, Sione Kelepi (a.k.a. Sione Maraschino) was a train conductor at Walt Disney World in Florida when he, like many of his friends, signed up for Vine. The video-sharing service was just four months old when he first logged on.

Little did he know that a year later, he would be one of a growing number of Vine celebrities, with nearly half a million followers and each of his six-second vines getting thousands of likes, shares, and comments.

But even if you don’t know Maraschino’s name or Vine profile, you’ve probably seen him. Earlier this year, the 22-year-old from Orlando was featured in the music video for Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” her debut hit that has gotten more than 90 million views on YouTube and has been hovering near the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 for the last 10 weeks.

It’s a fact that still shocks Kelepi.

“I never thought in a million years that I would be in music videos,” he told the Daily Dot last week.

When Kelepi first starting vining, most of his videos were funny moments from everyday life or skits that he and some friends put together—nothing unusual from most of Vine’s standard fare. Kelepi’s first foray into six-second cinema featured him and his dad.

Soon the skits got more complex, although Kelepi says his videos are rarely planned out far in advance. “I wasn’t really trying at first; I was just vining what I thought was funny,” he said. “[Even now] it’s always super spur of the moment.”

But Kelepi figured out how to pack a quick laugh in a small amount of time, and his videos quickly drew an audience. Within a few months, he had more than 1,000 followers. Then, in September 2013, Kelepi posted a video that went viral.

The video of him doing what he called the “Maraschino Step” in a parking lot took off almost immediately, and today it has been watched more than 4.2 million times. The video spread like wildfire, inspiring imitators and fans. Kelepi realized the videos of him dancing—something he’s quite good at—were catching on, and so he began to focus on those.

That fancy footwork has paid off. His big break came earlier this year when someone working on Trainor’s upcoming music video tracked him down on Instagram and sent him a message asking him to dance in “All About That Bass.” Having just left his job at the amusement park, Maraschino decided to take a gamble and go for it.

“It didn’t even become real for me until I was on the plane,” he said.

The video came out on June 11 and slowly but surely began to climb the charts.

Since then Kelepi’s life has been a whirlwind. He’s now making enough money from promoting things on Vine, Instagram, and Twitter that he can focus on making more videos and is even making appearances. When the Daily Dot talked with him last week, Kelepi had finished shooting a second music video with another artist, and he’s already planning to be featured in a third.

“It’s still a little surreal,” he said. “Especially when people walk up to you on the street and go, ‘Oh hey, you’re the guy from Vine.’”

One thing is for sure: If things keep going the way they have been for Kelepi, we haven’t seen the last of him.

“After that music video, everything has just fallen into place,” he said.  

Screengrab via MeghanTrainorVEVO/YouTube | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

Justin Franz

Justin Franz

Justin Franz is a Montana-based reporter and photographer who wrote about web culture for the Daily Dot. His work has more recently appeared in Flathead Living Magazine, Trains Magazine, and Travel + Leisure.