Tomorrow's Hits: Jamie Lawson, Colonel Loud & Rainey Qualley
Each Friday, Billboard presents Tomorrow's Hits, a weekly look at new and noteworthy acts making their way toward Billboard chart success.
Singer/songwriter Jamie Lawson leaps 35-27 in his second week on the Adult Top 40 airplay chart with "Wasn't Expecting That." His arrival has been splashy, as he's the first artist signed to Ed Sheeran's Gingerbread Man imprint (with Elektra/Atlantic promoting the ballad to radio). "Wasn't," in fact, is the song that won Sheeran over. The British-born Lawson, who's opened for Sheeran on tour, releases his self-titled debut album Oct. 9. –Gary Trust (@gthot20)
North Carolina-based rapper Colonel Loud is aiming for his first Billboard chart entry with "California," featuring Young Dolph and Ricco Barrino (Derty North/Nustarinc). The track rose by 23 percent in plays at the mainstream R&B/hip-hop format in the week ending Sept. 6, according to Nielsen Music, with WVEE Atlanta an early champion (40 spins). "California" is from the emcee's debut commercial album, Plug Talk, released in August. –Amaya Mendizabal (@Amayayayaya)
Rainey Qualley was born in New York City and raised in Asheville, N.C. Unsurprisingly, her sound embodies both traditional country, reminiscent of her Appalachian roots, and stylistic pop. Her new single, "Me and Johnny Cash" (Cingle/Star Farm Nashville), is bubbling under Country Airplay and is from her debut EP, Turn Down the Lights, released in June. Fun fact: Qualley is the daughter of actress Andie McDowell. –Jim Asker