Exclusive: Sneak Peek at Alicia Keys 'VH1 Storytellers' Performance
Exclusive: Sneak Peek at Alicia Keys 'VH1 Storytellers' Performance

Chart Beat had your passes to up-close performances and interviews all year long.

A new venue opened in New York this year that's since welcomed star acts from various genres.

No, not Brooklyn's Barclays Center (although that's had some good shows, too).

The tight spaces of Billboard's own library became a go-to stop on artists' tours, with several visiting our offices to chat and perform acoustic versions of hits. Many also marvel at the room's collection of Billboard issues, especially the first magazine (which sold for 10 cents), dated Nov. 1, 1894.

Chart Beat additionally went on location throughout 2012, including to Clear Channel Media + Entertainment's iHeart Radio Theater, presented by P.C. Richard and Son, to conduct one-on-one interviews with several acts, as well as film at Billboard's midtown studios.

Let's look back at the year in Chart Beat Meet & Greets. Special thanks to Billboard associate chart production manager Alex Vitoulis for booking acts and contributing to interviews, all in the interest of making access to artists as simple as logging onto Billboard.com.


"When I got to the end of (writing) the first chorus [ of 'Somebody That I Used to Know,' which went on to become the Billboard Hot 100's No. 1 song of 2012], I hit a real brick wall. I didn't seem to have any way to take the song further. After struggling with what to do with it, it kind of struck me that I needed a different perspective. It should be the other side of the relationship. I wrote that part and then went about looking for the female vocalist [ ultimately, Kimbra] I thought could really give it something edgy."

Hunter Hayes

"By the time I was almost 2, I was picking up everything and making an instrument out of it. My grandmother gave me a toy accordion for my second birthday and I immediately began picking up Cajun songs by ear from the radio."

The Wanted

"Back in the '90s, there was a certain type of boy band. There were dancing boy bands back then … 'N Sync, Take That. Obviously, we're much better dancers than any of them ..."

Ed Sheeran

"'The A Team' came from an experience I had when I did a gig at a homeless shelter. I was 18 at the time and kind of quite naive. So, I was a bit taken aback by some of the stories that I heard. A drug like crack cocaine is called a 'class A' drug. That's in the same category as heroin. Instead of making it clear and just saying what the problem was, I'd say, 'She's in the 'class A' team.' It was kind of my way of covering up (a person's addiction), I guess, making it a bit more subtle."

Christina Perri

"Atlantic Records (was) doing the writing for 'Breaking Dawn.' They asked me to come in and screen the movie and then write something. They were going to give me a shot because they knew what a big fan I was. So, I saw the movie in this little screening room with all these super-Hollywood-y dudes on their Blackberries not watching … and I'm in the front row crying the whole time. I went straight home and wrote 'A Thousand Years'."


"I'm thankful for the fans, because they're loyal. I always attribute that to, hopefully, I'm writing songs that are connecting with their lives. If you write songs that connect with people's lives, they'll stick with you."

Alicia Keys

"It's a really cool thing to bring R&B to wherever I go. It's really (owing), I think, to the fact that a great song is a great song; it really doesn't matter the bedding behind it. What matters is something that people can relate to, in a beautiful melody. But, I'm really proud of that, to be able to hold true to my foundation and still grow in every way that I can."