Each Friday, Chart Beat presents "Bubbling Under," a weekly look at new and noteworthy acts making their way toward Billboard chart success.
Up this week: Conor Maynard, Camryn, Gwen Sebastian and PURE
The latest young British hopeful taking aim at the American charts is 19-year old YouTube-born star Conor Maynard. The Capitol Records singer/songwriter has already claimed a No. 2 hit on the Official U.K. Singles chart with "Can't Say No" and now he's unveiled his first U.S. single, "Vegas Girl." The cut has early support from SiriusXM's 20 on 20 channel and KMVQ San Francisco, while its music video premiered via VEVO and YouTube on June 25. "Vegas Girl" previews Maynard's debut album, Contrast, due Sept. 18.
You think Maynard is young? Twelve-year-old Camryn is also approaching the Pop Songs radio airplay chart with "Set the Night on Fire" (5280 Media). The Denver native impressed her earliest audiences at a first grade talent show when she covered Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl." More recently, she's sung for greater crowds: last year, she played U.S. dates with Cody Simpson and Greyson Chance (while also performing at approximately 100 schools). In May and June, she earned her brightest spotlight yet: opening the first six U.S. shows of One Direction's 1D 2012 U.S. Tour. "They are very random, spontaneous and funny," she says of the group's members. "Harry loves to start dance parties any time he hears music. Every time he'd walk past my dressing room, I'd catch him dancing."
Coached by Blake Shelton on the second season of NBC's "The Voice," Gwen Sebastian has her sights on chart ink with "Met Him in a Motel Room." Sebastian dropped out of nursing school to move to Nashville and released two independent singles in 2009-10. She continues on the indie path (Flying Island) with her new track, which, while its title suggests a tryst in a rented room, delivers a jaw-dropping, unexpected storyline about an unlikely religious conversion. After leaving "The Voice" in the battle rounds, Sebastian performed on Shelton's "Well Lit & Amplified Tour" this spring.
R&B singer PURE is making inroads at radio with his love song "The Stars." Adult R&B WJMI Jackson, Miss., leads all R&B/Hip-Hop Songs reporters with 28 plays in the chart's tracking week and 240 spins to-date, according to Nielsen BDS. The song appears on his digital-exclusive sophomore album, "Raw & Uncut," released in May on the independent Venture Brotherz label.
Reporting by Keith Caulfield, Wade Jessen, Karinah Santiago and Gary Trust of the Billboard charts department