Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

Dan Monick

A look back at 10 breakout acts whose chart action Billboard heralded early on.

In March, Billboard premiered the weekly "Bubbling Under" column, named after the longtime chart that tracks activity below the Billboard Hot 100.

The idea was to spotlight up-and-coming acts on the verge of breakout chart action. By year's end, it looks like the feature has served as a valuable barometer of future success.

Let's look back at 10 of the acts featured in Bubbling Under and their eventual chart heat.

The Lumineers
What we said on April 14:
The Lumineers are closing in on their first Billboard chart appearance, as "Ho Hey" is bubbling under Triple A. The melodic, stomp-and-clap folk-rock track is receiving early support at the format from KBCO Denver, where the trio is based. The act - Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek (who rounded out the group by responding to a Craigslist ad that Schultz and Fraites posted) - could also make its maiden chart visit next week with its self-titled debut full-length album, released on April 3. "Ho Hey" is currently available as a free iTunes download as part of the retailer's Indie Spotlight feature.

Success since:
The song has become a multi-format hit, as "Ho Hey" tops Adult Pop Songs this week, while ranking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Follow-up single "Stubborn Love," meanwhile, crowns Triple A this week. The Lumineers' self-titled album has sold 576,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Perhaps best signifying its growth, and newfound prominence among premier folk/rock acts like Mumford & Sons, the trio graced the cover of Billboard magazine earlier this month.

Kendrick Lamar
What we said on April 21:
Kendrick Lamar has yet to chart a song on a Billboard survey, but the Compton, Calif., rap wizard, who has built support after his mixtape "Overly Dedicated" dropped in 2010, has released "The Recipe," featuring Dr. Dre. The track previews Lamar's forthcoming first album on Interscope, "good kid, m.A.A.d city." The set serves as the first under a joint venture between Top Dawg Entertainment, Kendrick's independent home, and Interscope.

Success since:
Lamar's critically-acclaimed debut set blasted onto R&B/Hip-Hop Albums at No. 1, and the Billboard 200 at No. 2, in November. It's already sold 506,000 copies. The album has generated the hit single "Swimming Pools (Drank)," which has led the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop airplay chart for five weeks and counting.

Dustin Lynch
What we said on April 21:
Like a host of country music notables that came before him, including Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift, Dustin Lynch's career took its first major turn at the storied Bluebird Cafe. The Tennessee native rented his first Nashville apartment across the rear parking lot from the legendary songwriter hangout, and he received offers of assistance with his budding career after his first performance there. Lynch's debut single "Cowboys and Angels" bullets at No. 28 in its 14th week on Country Songs. His debut album is expected this summer.

Success since:
Lynch's debut set stormed onto Country Albums at No. 1 the week of Sept. 8, while "Angels" ascended to No. 2 on Country Songs in October. New single "She Cranks My Tractor" bullets at No. 29 on Country Airplay in its seventh chart frame this week.

Cher Lloyd
What we said on May 19:
The fertile waters of the U.K. reality TV show "X Factor" show have already given the Billboard charts Leona Lewis and, more recently, One Direction. Now the program has sent over 18-year-old Cher Lloyd, who finished fourth in the 2011 season of the talent competition (the same year One Direction came in third). Lloyd's single "Want U Back" is percolating under the Pop Songs chart, with early support from Sirius XM's Hits 1 channel.

Success since:
"Want U Back" went on to become a summer smash, reaching No. 9 on Pop Songs and No. 12 on the Hot 100. It's sold 1.8 million downloads to date. Her debut album, "Sticks & Stones," entered the Billboard 200 at No. 9 in October. On Nov. 30, Lloyd wowed the crowd at Billboard's Women in Music luncheon by performing the song acoustically.

Emeli Sande
What we said on May 26:
Having topped the U.K. Albums chart for two weeks in March with her debut set, "Our Version of Events," Emeli Sande is making inroads on U.S. radio with her maiden stateside single, "Next to Me." The soulful track, which reached No. 2 on the U.K. Singles chart, bullets at No. 34 in its second week on Adult R&B and is approaching the Triple A chart. "I wanted the album to have a real message of hope," she recently told Billboard.com. "I wanted to speak about unconditional love."

Success since:
Sande's debut album became the top-selling set in the U.K. this year, selling 1.3 million copies, according to the Official Charts Company. While "Version" and "Next" have yet to duplicate their U.K. success in the U.S. (the set reached No. 28 on the Billboard 200 in June), Capitol Records is reinvigorating its promotion of the single to adult pop radio.

NEXT: Imagine Dragons, Florida Georgia Line and more

Pages

Print