Each Friday, Billboard presents "Bubbling Under," a weekly look at new and noteworthy acts making their way toward Billboard chart success. Up this week: Kristina Maria, Tom Odell, Blackberry Smoke and T.Rone
Could Kristina Maria be this year's Carly Rae Jepsen? After the latter transformed her Billboard Canadian Hot 100 No. 1 "Call Me Maybe" into a nine-week reign on the U.S. counterpart chart last year, Ottawa-born Maria is similarly seeking to cross the border with the pure pop "Karma" (LupoOne). CFLZ Buffalo, N.Y. (which often champions Canadian acts), played the song 61 times in the Jan. 21-27 Nielsen BDS tracking week. The cut jumps 23-17 on Canada CHR/Top 40, marking her fourth top 20 entry on the chart dating to her first in 2011.
Having won the 2013 BRITs Critics' Choice Award in December, singer/songwriter Tom Odell is having a breakthrough moment. Signed to ITNO/Columbia Records in his native U.K., the 22-year old just wrapped his first American tour and will return to the U.S. to play the SXSW Music and Media Conference in March. His debut album "Long Way Down" will be released in the U.K. on April 15, with plans underway for a stateside release.
Atlanta-based southern rock quintet Blackberry Smoke, signed to Zac Brown Band's Southern Ground imprint, is nearing its first ink on Country Airplay with "Pretty Little Lie." The track is the lead single from "The Whippoorwill," which peaked at No. 8 on the Sept. 1, 2012, Country Albums chart. The song's videoclip garnered 22 plays last week on CMT Pure Country.
With an infectious electric guitar riff, rapper/singer T.Rone's Auto-Tune-heavy "Hello Love" (Brooklyn Knights/Kream Team) is poised to infiltrate the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The Jacksonville, Fla., native's hometown station WJBT is supporting the track, having played it 30 times last week, the most of all reporters. T.Rone has been recording since 1996, has released the locally-acclaimed albums "Whatcha Game Like?" and "The Bad Guy Pt. 1" and has collaborated with such hip-hop staples as 2 Chainz and Gucci Mane.
(*Language in video may not be appropriate for all viewers.)
Reporting by Keith Caulfield, Wade Jessen, Rauly Ramirez and Gary Trust of the Billboard charts department.
- Chart Beat