The 13 Biggest Breakthroughs In Music This Year

2013 brought new talent from around the world straight into our headphones. These 13 fresh faces may be new, but they’re not afraid to make a splash. Five of the freshman talent on this list are nominated for the first YouTube Breakthrough Award that will be handed tonight! Watch now on YouTube!

1. Lorde

The 17-year-old went from independently releasing her first EP The Love Club to becoming the first solo artist from New Zealand to hold the top spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, all in under a year.

2. Kendrick Lamar

Interscope / Via bennyjinez.tumblr.com

Already gaining notoriety in 2012, sales of Kendrick’s debut album,
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
, surpassed the 1,000,000 mark in 2013. The Compton-born rapper was also MTV’s 2013 Hottest MC in the Game and will be going on tour with Kanye West in the fall.

*YouTube Music Award Nominee

3. Rudimental

Warner Music / Via youtube.com

After all three of their singles hit #1 on the U.K. Dance Chart, Rudimental dropped their first full album in 2013, Home. The album debuted at #1 on the U.K. Albums Chart.

*YouTube Music Award Nominee

4. HAIM

When Jay-Z signs you to his label, you know you’ve made a splash. On top of performing at SXSW and Glastonbury, the folk-rock sisters’ debut album, Days Are Gone, charted at the #1 spot in the U.K. and the #6 spot in the U.S.

5. Chance the Rapper

Both XXL and Complex magazine put Chicago rapper on their 2013 must-watch lists, and Chance did not disappoint. His mixtape Acid Rap has been certified platinum and remains one of the best-reviewed albums of the year.

6. Zedd

Signing to Interscope just last year, the Russian–German DJ/Producer has already made his mark in the U.S. Not only did his single “Clarity” hit #1 on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Songs chart, but he also produced Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat” and Lady Gaga’s upcoming album, ARTPOP.

7. Ariana Grande

Republic / Via j-14.com

In 2013, the former Nickelodeon starlet showed the world how to gracefully transition from child actress to legitimate pop star. Often compared to Mariah Carey, Grande’s debut album, Yours Truly, debuted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 200 and climbed to the top of the iTunes chart in over 30 countries.

8. Mike WiLL Made It

Interscope / Via nekus.tumblr.com

The hip-hop/trap producer behind Miley Cyrus’ #1 Smash “We Can’t Stop” won the 2013 Producer of the Year award at the BET Hip-Hop Awards. Mike WiLL is set to drop his debut album later this year, which will include the single “23.”

9. Passenger

Black Crow / Via rnayer.tumblr.com

Originally a frontman of a British band by the same name, Passenger found astronomical success as a solo artist in 2013. His single “Let Her Go” has reached the top spot on the charts in 16 countries.

*YouTube Music Award Nominee

10. Chvrches

Goodbye/Virgin / Via chvrches.tumblr.com

The Bones of What You Believe, the trio’s debut album, has received rave reviews from critics across the board and hit #1 on the U.S. Independent Albums chart. Chvrches also won the Inaugural Grulke Prize at SXSW this year.

11. Naughty Boy

The British songwriter, record producer, and musician behind the fastest selling U.K. single of 2013, “La La La,” has caught the attention of some of the biggest stars in the world. Just this year, Naughty Boy has worked on tracks for Katy Perry, Lily Allen, and Britney Spears.

*YouTube Music Award Nominee

12. Imagine Dragons

Billboard named Imagine Dragons their Breakthrough Band of 2013. The band’s debut album, Night Visions, has gone platinum in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom as of June 2013.

13. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Macklemore LLC / Via chropovec.tumblr.com

In 2013 the duo won an MTV VMA, a Billboard award, a BET award, and a Much Music award for their collaborative efforts. As of September, their independently produced album, The Heist, has been certified platinum.

*YouTube Music Award Nominee

Check out the nominees for YouTube Breakthrough and decide which newcomer you think is here to stay for good.

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