Breakthrough Artists of 2012

A number of artists gained mainstream success in 2012 from relatively anonymity. The following artists have gained this success and transcended into popular culture.

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran is an emerging artist of Irish descent from Framingham, England. He’s a 20-year-old boy armed with an acoustic guitar, red hair, and adolescent facial hair, his music is geared towards young females. His simple melodies and raspy voice have captured the hearts of young girls from Britain to America. Sadly, his songs are very catchy. WARNING: You will catch yourself singing some of his choruses aloud. His album “+” went number one in the United Kingdom and Ireland. His single “A team” is beginning to receive air time on College and alternative radio stations across the United States. If you like to get in touch with your feminine side, you need to check out Ed Sheeran.


Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean originally lived in New Orleans, La. After hurricane Katrina, Ocean and his family moved to Los Angeles where he began to pursue his music career in early 2008. He gained recognition by becoming the random member of OFWGKTA in 2010 and has been gaining steam in helping revive R&B to mainstream radio. He gained significant recognition for his mix tape, “Nostalgia Ultra.” With this success, he was featured as an artist on Jay-Z and Kanye’s “Watch the throne.” He finally released his highly anticipated first album, “Channel Orange which is truly the best album of 2012. Every song is a beautiful story told by Ocean’s sincere soft voice. From the epic of “Pyramids” to “Thinking About You”, the album has no duds. A personal favorite is “Super Rich Kids” which is sampled from Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets”. Words do not give justice to the greatness of this album. Channel Orange gave life to R&B’s future. Frank Ocean is the present and future of the genre. We’re lucky Frank Ocean came, or else we would be relying on Chris Brown.


AWOLNATION’s Aaron Bruno

Awolnation was formed by high school buddies from Los Angeles, Calif. They decided to name their band Awolnation because that is the skipped term they created to describe skipping school. Awolnation gained mainstream success with their single, “Sail”. It was so popular that middle-aged adults suddenly saying, “SAAIIIILLL!!!” Their electronic rock is fun to listen to with its lingering chords vibrating in the back soundscape. They followed up “Sail” with “Not your fault”, which was relatively successful in the alternative music charts. They are working on a new album set to be released in early 2013. Luckily, Awolnation is coming to the Voodoo Experience this year. They are guaranteed to put on a great performance. Sidebar: Voodoo is introducing camping this year to try to imitate Bonaroo music festival in Tennessee. Camping in City Park??? Great Idea?


Carly Rae Jepson

“Wait, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe.” We all have had that lyric stuck in our heads. Whether we love the song or hate it, Carly Rae Jepsen‘s hit was the summer anthem. Honestly, the song can be even heard around St. Paul’s campus in the afternoon. Carly Rae gained fame by finishing third on Canadian Idol (that just sounds wrong). She spent a couple of years marketing herself to record labels and finally signed with Interscope records. She then hit the gold mine with “Call Me Maybe”. Her album “Curiosity” became number one and her fame grew exponentially. With her upbeat bubbly music, she will be a force to be reckoned with in the world of pop music.


One Direction

The Wanted

One Direction/ The Wanted: Pretty much these two boy bands are the same band. One has younger members, and the other has older model- looking members. Let’s not waste time discussing these groups. We all have heard about their formations, and all of our ears have been violated by their music.



Fun. was formed in New York by members of folded indie bands. They initially had modest success in the limited indie scene, but gained success from their pop album “Some Nights”. Fun.’s music really is not that fun, but it is catchy. Their singer’s voice is a mix between Cher and that dude from Weezer. Add in electro-pop background music, and we have a weird electronic indie creation. “Some Nights” and “We are Young” are songs that appeal to our generation with lyrics about relationships and the perils of life. Where will Fun. take their career? Are they going to try to maintain mainstream success with hits, or will they try to create something more complex and artistic? Keep an eye on Fun. in the future.


Bob Dylan

The reason for the inclusion of Bob Dylan is because Bob Dylan needs to hear the truth. Just retire, Bob Dylan. You are the greatest folk musician of all time, but you are approaching 80, and your voice is more cacophonous than a lawn mower. Your music is awesome, but it is just getting sad to see you like this.

2012 Hip Hop Artists

Kendrick Lamar

Honestly, there were many emerging artists in Hip Hop for 2012. Here is a list of MCs to watch out for: Kendrick Lamar (really alternative hip hop), Childish Gambino (AKA Donald Glover), Schoolboy Q (Los Angeles football player), A$AP Rocky (bringing a renaissance of rap back to NYC), Iggy Azaleia (a white girl from Australia), Krispy Kreme (comedic hip hop), Kirko Bangz (college student with one single), and Future ( a really interesting rapper from Atlanta with a wide range of musical talent).


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