Dance/rock band Krewella broke into the Billboard Hot 100 last week with "Alive," which continues to build this week, going from No. 99 to No. 79. The year-old single--a piano-pop/techno blend that has already spent 23 weeks on Billboard's Dance/Mix Show Airplay tally--powered onto the chart thanks to good old pavement-pounding, according to Columbia Records executive VP/GM Joel Klaiman.
"In the first two weeks of the year, our staff played new music for radio, and this record just stood out," he says. "The response was overwhelming. We felt we had done enough groundwork with the band's base to make a run at radio."
After just a year as a group, the rapid success of Krewella--singer/songwriter sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf and producer Rain Man, aka Kris Trindl--suggests that, while the pop world is warming up to EDM producers-as-artists, there's still something comforting about the familiar format of a singer-led band. "One of the things that's different about Krewella is that it's a three-person group coming up from behind the decks," Klaiman says. "It's got more personality than the other [EDM] acts."
The band self-released its first EP, "Play Hard"--which contained "Alive"--last June, and was quickly snapped up by EDM booking agency AM Only, signed by Columbia and added to festival lineups including New York's Electric Zoo. The trio is currently recording its debut LP. "If you told us a year ago everything would be happening the way it's happening, we wouldn't believe it," Yasmine says.
Support from CBS and Clear Channel stations and SiriusXM nationwide is buoying "Alive" across platforms, and a "Mad Max"-like videoclip has more than 3 million YouTube views. Meanwhile, Krewella was just named the first EDM act to join Vevo's emerging-artist program, LIFT, which creates and distributes additional video content, including interviews and behind-the-scenes clips featuring the group. The month-long program begins March 15, also the first day of the Ultra Music Festival (Krewella performs March 24).
"Lyrically, the song was totally relatable to our audience," says Geronimo, director of music programming for electronic and dance formats at SiriusXM, which added "Alive" in July 2012. "The fact that Krewella is a touring band that listeners can see perform live just added to my interest. I believe the audience feels the same way."