Having topped the UK Albums Chart for two weeks in March with her debut set, Our Version of Events, Emeli Sande is making inroads on U.S. radio with her maiden stateside single, “Next to Me” (Capitol). The soulful track, which reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart, bullets at No. 34 in its second week on Adult R&B and is approaching the Triple A chart. “I wanted the album to have a real message of hope,” she recently told Billboard.com. “I wanted to speak about unconditional love.”
While two-time Tony Award nominee Gavin Creel is best known for his roles in Broadway musicals like “Hair,” he’s also released three solo pop albums independently. His latest, Get Out, dropped in March and was co-written and produced by Ben Cullum (Jamie Cullum’s older brother). Creel will soon earn wider exposure outside of the Great White Way, as he’s set to star in the national touring production of nine-time Tony Award-winning “The Book of Mormon” beginning in August.
Harlem native A$AP Rocky gets closer to the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with “Goldie” (Worldwide/Polo Grounds/RCA), the first single from his debut album, LongLiveA$AP, due July 4. The song has collected 52,000 plays across social sites such as Spotify, Rdio and Mog and has garnered 1.7 million YouTube views since its posting earlier this month. The rapper has performed alongside Drake and Kendrick Lamar on the former’s Club Paradise Tour this year and appeared at SXSW.
Up 41-39 in its second week on Christian Songs, Rhett Walker Band’s “When Mercy Found Me” (Essential/PLG) previews the rookie group’s debut album, Come to the River, due July 10. The son of a southern preacher, the act’s namesake lead singer infuses his personal redemption narrative in “Mercy” with an obvious Southern rock influence in a classic power-ballad setting. The band will gain valuable exposure on the summer festival trail, including Rock the Universe, Ichthus, World Pulse, Rock the Desert, LIFEST and Kingdom Bound, before joining Kutless for its fall tour.