Each Friday, Billboard presents "Bubbling Under," a weekly look at new and noteworthy acts making their way toward Billboard chart success. Up this week: Myla Smith, Iggy Azalea, Anaysha Figueroa, Elizaveta.
For four years after graduating from the University of Memphis (with a 4.0 GPA), pop singer/songwriter Myla Smith worked as a financial statement auditor. All along, however, her goal to be a musician beckoned. In 2006, while working 60 hours a week, she released her first album. After a second set and two EPs, Smith serves up "Hiding Places" (on Shake Rag Records, named after her Tennessee hometown) on Sept. 10, ushered in with lead single "Can't Say No." "I think it's probably the most complete expression of who I am as an artist," Smith says. "I tried hard to make every song one that people could connect with, which forced me to be really honest."
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Australian-born rapper/model Iggy Azalea zeroes in on her first airplay chart appearance as "Work" percolates below Rhythmic. Azalea signed with Interscope in 2012 but the deal dissolved over her management deal with T.I.'s Grand Hustle imprint. Now signed to Island Def Jam, Azalea is preparing to release second single "Change Your Life" (featuring T.I.) and join Beyonce on the latter's Mrs. Carter tour, both next month. The video for "Work" has drawn 19 million YouTube views since its March 13 premiere.
Anaysha Figueroa's affectionate cover of Tramaine Hawkins' "Holy One," recorded live at the 2013 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel showcase luncheon during the Stellar Awards in Nashville this past winter, opens at No. 21 on the Nielsen BDS-driven Gospel Songs chart. Hawkins was honored at the event alongside Kurt Carr and Walter Hawkins, with their performances to be released Oct. 22 on Light/eOne's BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Live compilation, featuring Figueroa, Shirley Caesar, Donald Lawrence, Kierra Sheard and others. Signed to Light/eOne, Figueroa is working on her first solo album.
Russian-American singer/pianist Elizaveta scores a sales boost for her song "Meant" (Republic) after the ethereal track served as the soundtrack for a performance on the Aug. 20 episode of Fox’s "So You Think You Can Dance." The song soars to 8,000 downloads sold, a 2,662% increase, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Its official video has drawn 223,000 YouTube views since its posting a year ago.
Reporting by William Gruger, Wade Jessen, Rauly Ramirez and Gary Trust of the Billboard charts department.