Summer 2014: Dominated by Music's Next Generation of Stars
If this past summer is any indication, there has been a drastic shift in the mainstream music landscape. While the Billboard charts of summer 2013 were dominated by established and ”older” artists, such as Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, Daft Punk, Jay Z, and Justin Timberlake, summer 2014 indicated that listeners are ready and eager for fresh, new talent.
Here are our picks of the power players that dominated the Billboard Charts this summer:
Iggy Azalea This sharp-tongued Australian bombshell proudly raps in an Australian accent, and the people can't get enough. Her debut album The New Classic was released April 21 and so far has produced two top ten hits. But her most commercial success has come from the Charli XCX-assisted single “Fancy.” This song held the number one spot on the Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks, making it the undisputed song of the summer. And at only 24 years old, her star power can only get higher.
Sam Smith The 22-year-old British soul singer-songwriter rose to fame this past year thanks to contributing vocals to singles such as, Disclosure's “Latch” and Naughty Boy's “La La La.” But when it came time to stand alone with his own single, he delivered and exceeded expectations. His biggest hit to date is the international chart topper, “Stay With Me,” which topped multiple Billboard charts and peaked at number 2 on the Hot 100. It's still mind blowing how an emotional, yet soulful ballad could catch such fire during the summer, a season usually filled with pop dance tracks.
Charli XCX The mysterious, Buffalo-bearing, punk rock rebel draws influence from artists ranging from Christina Aguilera to the Ramones. Charli experienced success on the Billboard charts last year for penning and singing on the international anthem, “I Love It” by Icona Pop. This year, the 22-year-old Brit experienced individual success with the catchy jam “Boom Clap” and singing the hook of Azalea's “Fancy” — two songs that were top ten hits. Riding the heels of a successful summer, she plans to release her second full-length album in October.
Ariana Grande The 21-year-old petite pop singer has one of the widest vocal ranges we've heard in years. She released her second album last month, which lead to her racking in two No. 1 albums in under a year. Not to mention she had three songs in the Hot 100's top ten in the same week (“Problem,” “Break Free,” and “Bang Bang”). Grande had a pretty successful summer, to put it lightly.
Who would've guessed that a former Nickelodeon star would have three top ten songs on the charts at the same time? Who would've thought an Australian female rapper would have the hottest song of the summer? And who would've thought that a lonely British singer's desperate plea for his distant lover would resonate with so many people in the summer? Certainly not me. It looks like a bright future for these young stars.