Top 10 Breakout artists that should be a household name


Childish Gambino’s latest album, “Because the Internet,” released in 2013.

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We’ve all heard the songs “Demons,” “Sweater Weather” and “Royals” on the radio every once in a while. But have you heard of the artists behind these Top 40 hits, or rather, have you checked out more of their material?

Here some top 10 breakout artists that should be a household name.

10. Lorde
“And we’ll never be royals…” Yes, we’ve heard this song on the radio a lot in the past few months or so. But 17-year-old Lorde, whose real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, is one of the youngest breakout artists of our generation. Although the native New Zealander is already well-known through her hit single, “Royals,” her debut album, “Pure Heroine,” actually depicts a story about teenagers living their own lives, having fun and not worrying about the opinions of others.

9. Bastille
This UK band is famous for its breakout single, “Pompeii.” The song may not have anything to do with the historic tragedy of the town-city Pompeii in Rome, but the heavy rhythm of the bass in “Pompeii” and the addictive vocals of lead man Dan Smith are a genius combination. The band has other tracks that are worth listening to, such as “Things We Lost in the Fire” and “Bad Blood.”

8. Rudimental
Few people you know may (or may not) have heard of this English electronic band. The quartet became well known in 2013 after releasing “Right Here,” featuring London native singer Foxes, who is also featured on the now-overplayed song “Clarity” by Zedd.  Rudimental also employs the vocals of other Brit musicians, such as Alex Clare and Emile Sande, to accompany their fast-paced beats. Other hits from Rudimental include “Waiting All Night,” “Not Giving In” and “Free.”

7. Imagine Dragons
Although Imagine Dragons has been in the music scene since 2008, the American band became more prominent in 2012. Their first hit was “Radioactive,” off their debut studio album, “Night Visions.” Their other single, “Demons,” has recently become a hit in late 2013, while their optimistic hymn “It’s Time” was covered by Darren Criss of “Glee” fame.  Another upbeat tune is “On Top of the World,” which could easily be a song for an animated feature.

6. The Neighbourhood
The Neighbourhood – yes, they’ve incorporated a bit of British spelling in their name – was formed in August 2011. But “Sweater Weather,” their winter-themed tune, made them famous. But the American rock quintet has more to sing than cozy sweaters and staying at home on a cold day.  The Neighbourhood also released other great singles. “West Coast” tells of an individual from California who is tired of the superficial, but tries to focus more on having fun and living his life to the fullest. The Neighbourhood’s other hit, “Let It Go,” is a similar song, but looks closely on the singer’s disgust at the conformed society we live in.

5. Daughter
Elena Tonra, lead singer of the British band Daughter, has the solemnity of Lana del Rey and the deep, soft vocals of Adele. I first discovered this band and listened to their song “Youth.” I was immediately infatuated with their serious, yet simple sound. Other enchanting tunes from Daughter include “Medicine” and “Winter.”

4. A Great Big World
“Say something, I’m giving up on you,” croons Ian Axel of the American two-man band A Great Big World on their track “Say Something,” a collaboration with Christina Aguilera. Before landing themselves on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 Chart, A Great Big World first gained the attention of YouTubers around the world with its viral hit, “This is the New Year.” Their upbeat music video reached more than 600,000 views, and the song has even been featured on “Glee.”

3. Childish Gambino
Back in high school, my friend was a huge (and I mean HUGE) fan of Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino. Not only does he play a supporting role on the NBC comedy “Community,” but Glover has also released two studio albums and several self-released mixtapes. With that said, I decided to finally take a stab and listen to Childish Gambino’s music for the first time. Out of the number of songs that I listened to, “3005” stood out the most. Although the song’s music video is rather raunchy, Glover claims that “3005” is actually about being protected and trying to avoid the feeling of being alone.

2. Passenger
Michael David Rosenberg’s bittersweet song “Let Her Go” has garnered more than 176 million views for its accompanying music video on YouTube. Rosenberg, who is better known as Passenger, is known for his hymns of love and heartache. He recorded “Hearts on Fire” with fellow Brit singer Ed Sheeran, who helped Passenger skyrocket to popularity.

1. Janelle Monáe
She’s classy, she’s sassy, but far from trashy. African-American R&B singer Janelle Monáe (without her last name Robinson) has been making toe-tapping tunes since 2010. Monáe is the featured female vocalist on the 2012 song “We Are Young” by the band Fun and has appeared in the Sonos speaker commercial, but she has been in the music business way before that. “Tightrope” is her most recognized single since she became an artist, but recently, Monáe has released “Q.U.E.E.N.,” (Queer, Untouchable, Emigrants, Excommunicated, Negroid), which is a funky, upbeat song that mirrors off Whitney Houston’s vocals and Janet Jackson’s vivacity.