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The Year In Bubbling Under

The Associated Press, Wednesday, December 26, 2012, 9:30pm (PST)

Billboard -- In March, Billboard premiered the weekly "Bubbling Under" column, named after the longtime chart that tracks activity below the Billboard Hot 100. The idea was to spotlight up-and-coming acts on the verge of breakout chart action. By year's end, it looks like the feature has served as a valuable barometer of future success. Let's look back at 10 of the acts featured in Bubbling Under and their eventual chart heat.

The Lumineers What we said on April 14: The Lumineers are closing in on their first Billboard chart appearance, as "Ho Hey" is bubbling under Triple A. The melodic, stomp-and-clap folk-rock track is receiving early support at the format from KBCO Denver, where the trio is based. The act - Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek (who rounded out the group by responding to a Craigslist ad that Schultz and Fraites posted) - could also make its maiden chart visit next week with its self-titled debut full-length album, released on April 3. "Ho Hey" is currently available as a free iTunes download as part of the retailer's Indie Spotlight feature. Success since: The song has become a multi-format hit, as "Ho Hey" tops Adult Pop Songs this week, while ranking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Follow-up single "Stubborn Love," meanwhile, crowns Triple A this week. The Lumineers' self-titled album has sold 576,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Perhaps best signifying its growth, and newfound prominence among premier folk/rock acts like Mumford & Sons, the trio graced the cover of Billboard magazine earlier this month.

Kendrick Lamar What we said on April 21: Kendrick Lamar has yet to chart a song on a Billboard survey, but the Compton, Calif., rap wizard, who has built support after his mixtape "Overly Dedicated" dropped in 2010, has released "The Recipe," featuring Dr. Dre. The track previews Lamar's forthcoming first album on Interscope, "good kid, m.A.A.d city." The set serves as the first under a joint venture between Top Dawg Entertainment, Kendrick's independent home, and Interscope. Success since: Lamar's critically-acclaimed debut set blasted onto R&B/Hip-Hop Albums at No. 1, and the Billboard 200 at No. 2, in November. It's already sold 506,000 copies. The album has generated the hit single "Swimming Pools (Drank)," which has led the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop airplay chart for five weeks and counting.

Dustin Lynch What we said on April 21: Like a host of country music notables that came before him, including Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift, Dustin Lynch's career took its first major turn at the storied Bluebird Cafe. The Tennessee native rented his first Nashville apartment across the rear parking lot from the legendary songwriter hangout, and he received offers of assistance with his budding career after his first performance there. Lynch's debut single "Cowboys and Angels" bullets at No. 28 in its 14th week on Country Songs. His debut album is expected this summer. Success since: Lynch's debut set stormed onto Country Albums at No. 1 the week of Sept. 8, while "Angels" ascended to No. 2 on Country Songs in October. New single "She Cranks My Tractor" bullets at No. 29 on Country Airplay in its seventh chart frame this week.

Cher Lloyd What we said on May 19: The fertile waters of the U.K. reality TV show "X Factor" show have already given the Billboard charts Leona Lewis and, more recently, One Direction. Now the program has sent over 18-year-old Cher Lloyd, who finished fourth in the 2011 season of the talent competition (the same year One Direction came in third). Lloyd's single "Want U Back" is percolating under the Pop Songs chart, with early support from Sirius XM's Hits 1 channel. Success since: "Want U Back" went on to become a summer smash, reaching No. 9 on Pop Songs and No. 12 on the Hot 100. It's sold 1.8 million downloads to date. Her debut album, "Sticks & Stones," entered the Billboard 200 at No. 9 in October. On Nov. 30, Lloyd wowed the crowd at Billboard's Women in Music luncheon by performing the song acoustically.

Emeli Sande What we said on May 26: Having topped the U.K. Albums chart for two weeks in March with her debut set, "Our Version of Events," Emeli Sande is making inroads on U.S. radio with her maiden stateside single, "Next to Me." The soulful track, which reached No. 2 on the U.K. Singles chart, bullets at No. 34 in its second week on Adult R&B and is approaching the Triple A chart. "I wanted the album to have a real message of hope," she recently told Billboard.com. "I wanted to speak about unconditional love." Success since: Sande's debut album became the top-selling set in the U.K. this year, selling 1.3 million copies, according to the Official Charts Company. While "Version" and "Next" have yet to duplicate their U.K. success in the U.S. (the set reached No. 28 on the Billboard 200 in June), Capitol Records is reinvigorating its promotion of the single to adult pop radio. NEXT: Imagine Dragons, Florida Georgia Line and more In March, Billboard premiered the weekly "Bubbling Under" column, named after the longtime chart that tracks activity below the Billboard Hot 100. The idea was to spotlight up-and-coming acts on the verge of breakout chart action. By year's end, it looks like the feature has served as a valuable barometer of future success. Let's look back at more of the acts featured in Bubbling Under and their eventual chart heat.

Imagine Dragons What we said on June 2: In three months, Las Vegas rock quintet Imagine Dragons has gone from making its first appearance on a Billboard chart to reaching the top 10 on Alternative Songs and Triple A with debut Interscope single "It's Time." On the Billboard 200, the band's "Continued Silence" EP debuts at No. 165. "There is something deeply personal and yet incredibly exciting about sharing new songs with a live audience for the first time," lead vocalist Dan Reynolds says. "We can't wait to have that communal experience." Success since: "It's Time" rose to No. 2 on Triple A and No. 4 on Alternative Songs. It's also crossed over to a No. 22 peak on Pop Songs and a No. 11 peak (so far) on Adult Pop Songs. Its sales total 1.2 million to date. Even the "Glee" cast covered the song; with a No. 95 appearance the week of Sept. 29, it's one of just two tracks by the TV troupe to hit the Hot 100 this fall.

Florida Georgia Line What we said on June 16: Progressive country/rock duo Florida Georgia Line bubbles under Country Digital Songs (8,000 downloads sold, up 25%) with "Cruise," the lead single from the twosome's second EP, "It'z Just What We Do," which logs a third week on Country Albums (No. 59). The pair takes its name from the members' home states, as Tyler Hubbard hails from Monroe, Ga., and Brian Kelley is from Ormond Beach, Fla. The tandem is currently opening dates on the "Country Throwdown" tour, which features Rodney Atkins, Justin Moore and Gary Allan. Success since: "Cruise" sailed to No. 1 on Country Songs, where it's remained in charge for three weeks running; it dethroned Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" after a nine-week reign. "Cruise" has sold 1.4 million downloads. The pair's debut full-length "Here's to the Good Times" charged onto County Albums at No. 3 earlier this month.

Kacey Musgraves What we said on Sept. 29: Kacey Musgraves gains momentum with a 42-38 jump on Country Songs with her debut single, "Merry Go 'Round." As a songwriter, the Texas native has placed cuts on albums by such acts as Martina McBride and Miranda Lambert, the latter of whom recorded Musgraves' "Mama's Broken Heart" on her 2011 album "Four the Record." Kelly Clarkson also performed the track on ABC's "Duets" earlier this year. Also in 2012, Musgraves has opened for Lady Antebellum and Alison Krauss. Success since: "Merry Go 'Round" is approaching the top 25 on Country Songs and Country Airplay and, with its sound reminiscent of acoustic-leaning hits by Taylor Swift, pop crossover airplay could follow. Billboard columnist Sean Ross named "Merry" one of the "Songs That Made a Difference in 2012" (the only country song highlighted), noting its atypical "cynical take on small-town life."

Family Of The Year What we said on Dec. 1: Family of the Year (brothers Joe and Sebastian Keefe, Christina Schroeter and James Buckley) continues the indie folk explosion fostered by the likes of Mumford & Sons, with whom the band has toured, and the Lumineers, as the hook-laden "Hero" debuts at No. 29 on Triple A, marking the quartet's first Billboard chart ink. The Los Angeles-based band is touring with Walk the Moon in support of its new album "Loma Vista" and is part of alternative KNRK Portland. Ore.'s "December to Remember" bill (the Killers, M83.) on Dec. 12. Success since: "Hero" has quickly become a song to watch for 2013: In its sixth week on Triple A, it vaults to just outside the top 10 (19-11). It concurrently debuts at No. 40 on Alternative Songs.

Trinidad James (*language in video may not be suitable for all viewers) What we said on Dec. 1: For someone who began rapping only nine months ago, Atlanta's Trinidad James is making up for lost time. The former boutique shop salesman released his first mixtape, "Don't Be S.A.F.E.," on July 31 and has garnered more than a million YouTube views for his clip for "All Gold Everything." Now the buzz is flowing onto radio airwaves, as "Gold" is approaching a debut on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop chart. Success since: Two weeks later, "Gold" entered R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at No. 44 and has since cracked the top 30. It could become his first top 10 on Rap Airplay as soon as next week, as it surges 15-11 on the list this week. "S.A.F.E.," meanwhile, bowed on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums last week at No. 74.

Related article on Billboard.com:

The Best of 2012: The Year In Music

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Find more online: Billboard.com

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