Music’s Biggest Breakout Stars Of 2012


We’re three days away from ending 2012– the year the Mayan’s math didn’t quite add up–with a bang. Before we bid this year adieu we’ve documented the Best Ofs for the past 12 months; so during the next predicted Apocalypse rears its false head, we’ll reminisce on the Crunkest Songs of 2012 or 2012’s 8 Most Underated Singles or the Best Songs of 2012.

Our countdown continues with the 12 of Music’s Breakout Stars of 2012. It’s been a glorious year musically with diverse projects by promising new artists. While Frank Ocean‘s stardom is no surprise, who would’ve expected PSY to sing with Bieber‘s manager Scooter Braun? Meek Mill sketched his name in cement as one of hip-hop’s brightest stars this year transitioning from mixtape storyteller to mainstream success. How good 2013 will treat these breakout stars is unforeseeable, but with raised glasses let’s all toast to the year of stars coming out (no pun intended).

1. Carly Rae Jepsen
Call me, maybe. CRJ may have been a bit undecided on if she really wanted her crush to call her, but there’s no maybe to the success she achieved this year. With the help of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez‘s silly mashup of “Call Me Maybe” all eyes were on CRJ. If there was a song played or covered more than “Call Me Maybe” we must’ve missed it. Actually, there wasn’t.

2. Ellie Goulding
The year of the British singer takeover! “Anything Could Happen” mounted Goulding from an upcoming artist to the girl everyone couldn’t stop talking about. Her eclectic sound pulls from a mixed bag of genres heard throughout her sophomore album Halycon. Her “Bittersweet” contribution to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 didn’t hurt her growing popularity either. Ellie is pure gold.

3. Frank Ocean
Success isn’t always achieved from over saturation and heavy promotion. Frank Ocean proved that. Channel Orange debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with barely any radio rotation or label marketing. More than the music, Frank O. ruled 2012 because of his bravery in admitting to loving a man. Channel Orange will go down as a placeholder in measuring music for this year, but his transparency–will go down in music history.

4. fun.
Before “We Are Young” took over late night TV performances and award shows, you may have found yourself asking, ‘Who is fun.?’ Six Grammy noms later that question has been answered. Advertising and television skyrocketed the lead single from the band’s Some Nights to No. 3 chart status and over three million downloads. Either it’s the band’s whimsical spirit or everyone loves a song about being and living life like you’re young.

5. Gotye
Over 360 million YouTube views for “Somebody That I Used To Know” pretty much makes one the ruler of 2012. Page clicks aside, Gotye’s hit single was one of the most infectious yet touching songs of the year. Because who doesn’t have somebody that they used to know? Operative words being used to.

6. Kendrick Lamar
“Ya bish!” If you’ve listened to good kid, m.A.A.d. city, chances are you’ve taken away from it: Kendrick never returns his mama’s van on time, he was crazy about a chick named Sherane, you don’t want to kill his vibe and the ad-lib “ya bish!” The Compton kid who escaped the gang culture of his neighborhood pulled in a whopping 242,000 copies in its first week. GKMC was instantly donned a classic and this year’s best rap album. Both of those assessments are arguable of course, but his breakout moment is indisputably signed, sealed, delivered.

7. Lana Del Rey
Born to Die sold over 2.8 million records worldwide making it one of the best selling albums of 2012. Shoutout to the viral video “Video Games” with over 32 million views. LDR’s music can be depressing depending on if you’re POV is glass half full or glass half empty. She’s weird. And out of the box. 2012 was the year to be both of those things. Her popularity only grew with “Blue Jeans” and “National Anthem.” The 26-year-old has what the elder’s would call an old soul. It doesn’t hurt that she looks like she could have easily been a beautiful icon of the 50s. LDR isn’t a thing of the moment. Looks like she’ll be around for years to come.

8. Meek Mill
Meek went from mixtape king to MMG’s star. All eyes were on the Philly rapper after his acclaimed Dreamchaser series mixtapes and because his boss is one of rap’s leading foreman. Dreams and Nightmares was overshadowed a bit by Hurricane Sandy and K.Dot’s debut. None of that held Meek back with 167,000 in first week sales and a No. 2 spot on the chart. It was his year, now we’re anxious to see if the predictions shall be proved right. Will Meek become a bigger (seriously, no pun) star than Rick Ross?

9. One Direction
Boy bands are so 1999–that was until One Direction. After placing third in The X Factor, five guys were able to spin their 15 minutes into superstardom thanks to social media. Take Me Home’s “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Live While We’re Young” spiraled the guys’ popularity into screaming young girls status. Never underestimate the power of social media, or better yet, teenage girls and their inevitable heartthrobs for a boy band.

10. PSY
It’s true. We’re over the “Gangnam Style” faze. When he signed his deal to the label run by Bieber’s manager you had to wonder who is really going to listen to a full album of PSY’s music? If over a billion people have viewed his YouTube video then certainly there’s a market for his entertaining style. PSY did good for himself in 2012. Now we’re all watching to see if he’ll be so lucky in the next 365.

11. Rita Ora
Poor Rita Ora couldn’t escape those Rihanna comparisons. RO splashed enough waves to round out 2012 with a number one album in the UK. Ora gifted us with her most popular hit “How We Do (Party).” America is slowly catching on to the girl Jay-Z signed to Roc Nation after seeing something special in her. If you don’t know the music, you know her name, her face or even her dresses-with-Js-style.

12. 2 Chainz
Formerly known as Tity Boi, yes we had to mention it, 2 Chainz was the Nicki Minaj of 2012. Let us explain. Nicki Minaj had a similar crossover to mainstream by being the go-to features girl. 2 Chainz followed in her path by hopping on every rapper’s song. It worked. Based on a T.R.U. Story is Grammy nominated for album of the year. 2 Chaaaaainzzzzz!

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