Each Friday, Billboard presents “Bubbling Under,” a weekly look at new and noteworthy acts making their way toward Billboard chart success. Up this week: Steve Grand, Fifth Harmony, Chris Stapleton and Rich Homie Quan.
He has no label, no manager and no publicist, but singer/songwriter Steve Grand has a viral hit. His self-funded music video for “All-American Boy,” whose gay-themed storyline is loosely based on the out artist’s life, earned more than 1.1 million YouTube views in its first 10 days (July 2-11). The clip quickly garnered attention from BuzzFeed (which published a gif-heavy story on July 3), the Associated Press and ABC’s “Good Morning America,” which interviewed Grand (July 9).
After placing third on Fox’s “The X Factor” last year, Fifth Harmony is translating its TV exposure to radio interest, as its kiss-off anthem “Miss Movin’ On” (Syco/Epic) is approaching Mainstream Top 40. The quintet (Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Normani Hamilton, Dinah-Jane Hansen and Lauren Jauregui) originally auditioned for the show as soloists before becoming a group under the tutelage of mentor Simon Cowell. Fifth Harmony is touring the U.S. in July and August ahead of its debut album, expected later this year.
As he preps his first album for Mercury, accomplished singer/songwriter/musician Chris Stapleton‘s first solo single, “What Are You Listening To,” is gaining momentum just under the Country Airplay chart. Stapleton has written or co-written hits for Kenny Chesney (“Never Wanted Nothing More”), Darius Rucker (“Come Back Song”) and George Strait (“Love’s Gonna Make It Alright”), among others. He formerly sang lead for bluegrass band the SteelDrivers and founded rock group the Jompson Brothers.
(Note: Language in video may not be appropriate for all viewers)
Atlanta rapper Rich Homie Quan heats up Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop as “Type of Way” leaps 36-27 in its second week. The emcee scored a local hit in 2008 but was arrested and jailed shortly after. Upon his release in 2011, he signed with Atlanta label Loyalty Over Royalties but was back in limbo when its CEO, Tezzy, was murdered that December. Quan (still just 23) is now signed to Thinkitsagame, also home to Trinidad James.
Reporting by Keith Caulfield, Wade Jessen, Rauly Ramirez and Gary Trust of the Billboard charts department.