Each Friday, Chart Beat presents “Bubbling Under,” a weekly look at new and noteworthy acts making their way toward Billboard chart success.
Up this week: Cher Lloyd, Callaghan, Leah LaBelle and Andy Gibson.
The fertile waters of the U.K. reality TV show “X Factor” show have already given the Billboard charts Leona Lewis and, more recently, One Direction. Now the program has sent over 18-year-old Cher Lloyd, who finished fourth in the 2011 season of the talent competition (the same year One Direction came in third). Lloyd’s single “Want U Back” (SYCO/Epic) is percolating under the Pop Songs chart, with early support from Sirius XM’s Hits 1 channel.
“Shawn Mullins’ storytelling got me interested in songwriting,” British-born singer/songwriter Callaghan reveals. “His (1998) album ‘Soul’s Core’ was one of the very first albums that I bought. I still listen to it a lot now.”
Chart Beat Meet & Greet: Callaghan (Exclusive Video)
Fourteen years later, Mullins, who sent his breakout hit “Lullabye” to No. 1 on Pop Songs for two weeks, serves as producer on Callaghan’s debut full-length album, “Life in Full Colour,” released May 1 on the independent Green Town label. The origin of the collaboration? Mullins became a fan after the enterprising Callaghan sent him a MySpace message in 2009.
Leah LaBelle, who placed 12th on the 2004 season of “American Idol,” is approaching her first R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart entry with “Sexify,” at No. 5 this week on the chart’s Bubbling Under survey. In 2011, LaBelle signed a deal with Epic, Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def Recordings and Pharrell Williams’ new imprint, I Am Other. The “Sexify” video premiered on mtv.com on May 9 and includes cameos by Dupri, Williams and LaBelle’s pop singer/actress friend JoJo.
Singer/songwriter Andy Gibson continues his gradual ascent on Country Songs with his debut single “Wanna Make You Love Me,” which bullets at No. 27. Gibson was discovered by John Rich, who spotted him singing in a Mexican restaurant in Nashville and signed him to a publishing deal. Gibson co-wrote the 2011 Jason Aldean/Kelly Clarkson Country Songs No. 1 “Don’t You Wanna Stay.” His indie deal with the R&J label was recently picked up by Curb, with his debut album expected this year.
Reporting by Keith Caulfield, Wade Jessen, Karinah Santiago and Gary Trust of the Billboard charts department