This week, Chart Beat premieres "Bubbling Under," a weekly look at new and noteworthy acts making their way toward Billboard chart success.
Up first: Aubrey O'Day, Cazwell, Rhett Akins and Brandon Hines.
Former Danity Kane member Aubrey O'Day (above, right, with "Celebrity Apprentice" castmate Teresa Giudice) makes a bid for solo success with her new self-released single "Wrecking Ball," co-written and co-produced by "American Idol" alum Pia Toscano (pictured, left). The song, which sold 3,000 downloads last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, sports a more pop/rock sound than the R&B stylings of her former group, which scored two No. 1s on the Billboard 200 in 2006 and 2008. This month, O'Day wraps her run on the current season of NBC's "Apprentice," whose cast includes another former "Idol" finalist: Clay Aiken.
Although Cazwell has been percolating in the club scene for years, he is likely best-known to the pop masses for his colorful (and racy) "Ice Cream Truck" video. The booty-shaking clip has collected more than six million views on YouTube since its release in 2010. Fast-forward to the present and Cazwell is bubbling under Dance/Club Play Songs with "Unzip Me," with Peaches. The track previews his second full-length album, due later this year on Peace Bisquit.
Second-generation singer/songwriter Thomas Rhett makes steady progress on Country Songs, where his debut single "Something to Do With My Hands" (Valory) bullets at No. 32 in its 13th week. The artist's father, Rhett Akins, charted 14 titles on the tally in 1994-2006, with "Don't Get Me Started" reigning in 1996; these days, he's co-writing chart-topping hits for other artists - six, in fact, since 2010, including Blake Shelton's "All About Tonight" and "Honey Bee." The younger Rhett's debut album is due this fall.
Brandon Hines moves closer to his first R&B/Hip-Hop Songs hit, as "Yes You Are" rises to No. 5 on the survey's Bubbling Under chart. The Epic signee first gained attention as the opening act on Estelle's "American Boy" tour following her 2008 breakout hit of the same name. As "Yes" surges, courtesy of airplay on WFXE Columbus, Ga., WJLB Detroit and WJMI Jackson, Miss., Hines shines with another track: his "Fire" is included on the "Think Like a Man" soundtrack, which bullets at No. 3 on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Reporting by Keith Caulfield, Wade Jessen, Karinah Santiago and Gary Trust of the Billboard charts department