Independents' Day
Independents' Day

stars are born
THEY'RE FROM country, hip-hop, indie FOLK and electronic dance music- thIS YEAR'S new kids on the block

Best New Artist

The Band Perry

The Band Perry has quietly become one of country's biggest breakouts and pop crossovers in recent years, with its self-titled debut album peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and selling approximately 1 million copies after more than a year on the Billboard 200, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The single "If I Die Young" has also been a juggernaut on the Billboard Hot 100, with more than a year on the chart and sales of 3.5 million downloads despite the song peaking at No. 14.

Best New Artist

Bon Iver

While not exactly new to the indie music circuit after his acclaimed 2008 debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver's breakout year (in which he became a group) was buoyed by singer Justin Vernon's appearance on Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The crossover appeal trickled down to the act's second album, Bon Iver, which found Vernon dabbling in other genres that stretched beyond his mostly acoustic brand of folk-pop. The self-titled sophomore set debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and has sold 325,000 copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Best New Artist

J. Cole

Debuting just before the Grammy nomination cutoff, J. Cole's Cole World: The Sideline Story entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1 in October with sales of 217,000 copies. The album was preceded by a series of mixtapes from the North Carolina rapper as well as a popular weekly online feature, "Any Given Sunday," in which Cole debuts new songs. Cole was also nominated for best new artist at the 2011 BET Awards.

Best New Artist

Nicki Minaj

Billboard's 2011 Rising Star had a packed year that included two top 10 Hot 100 singles and a No. 1 album with Pink Friday. The latter accomplished the rare feat of reaching the No. 1 spot two months after its release. Minaj's single "Super Bass" also reached No. 3 on the Hot 100-the highest-charting song by a solo female rapper since Missy Elliott's "Work It" in 2003.

Best New Artist

Skrillex

Perhaps the least well-known on the pop circuit among this year's best new artist nominees, electronic/dubstep DJ Skrillex has quickly made a name for himself on the dance scene, where he can regularly play to a few thousand people. His debut EP, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, ranked in the upper reaches of Billboard's Dance/Electronic Albums chart for the better part of 2011. It also helped the DJ book high-profile gigs on MTV and at South by Southwest, as well as a new collaboration with members of the Doors for an upcoming Hyundai campaign.

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Photo Credits (from top): joseph anthony baker; d.i. anderson; leann mueller; howard huang; ethan saks

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