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: Olly Murs, Katie Armiger, Tex James and the Parlotones
One Direction, which rose to fame on the U.K.'s TV talent competition "X Factor," is bringing along a "Factor" friend on tour: Olly Murs. The pop singer was the runner-up on the 2009 edition of the show and is serving as the opening act for his SYCO/Columbia labelmates One Direction this month during the group's U.S. tour. Murs' debut U.S. single, "Heart Skips a Beat," featuring Chiddy Bang, premiered on May 22 and has early support from Radio Disney and WHTZ New York.
Singer/songwriter Katie Armiger makes steady career progress as she registers her highest debut in four tries on Country Songs with "Better in a Black Dress" (Cold River), which opens at No. 54. The Texas native previously rose as high as No. 42 with "Best Song Ever" last year. She co-wrote her current single with Nashville tunesmith Blair Daly, who co-wrote the 2007 chart-topper "Stand" for Rascal Flatts. Armiger performed "Dress" on June 5 at the Billboard Country Music Summit in Nashville.
Macon, Ga.-born rapper Tex James joins forces with previous Bubbling Under pick Stuey Rock on "Smart Girl (Dumb Booty)" (ColliPark), which bumps 13-5 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart's Bubbling Under ranking. The ode to ample brains and booty is playing on 21 chart reporters and makes a 35% jump in audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS. WHTA Atlanta and KNDA Corpus Christi, Texas, are among its early believers.
Although the South Africa quartet has been a force in its home country since its 2002 founding, the Parlotones are approaching their first appearance on a Billboard airplay chart, as "Honey" (Sovereign) is closing in on the Triple A tally. The group, whose music blends rock, roots and folk, performed at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Celebration concert alongside the Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys and Shakira and opened for Coldplay's two dates last year in Cape Town and Johannesburg. "Honey" appears on the Parlotones' album "Journey Through the Shadows," released last month.
Reporting by Keith Caulfield, Wade Jessen, Karinah Santiago and Gary Trust of the Billboard charts department