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Google’s recent reveal of the year’s top trending names, titles and events helped recap some of 2014’s most buzzworthy moments in entertainment, and Iggy Azalea was the center of that buzz in the music scene. Below are the other trending musicians who made it onto the search giant’s year-end list.
1. Iggy Azalea
Azalea had only released a 6-track EP (signed as an artist under mentor T.I.’s record label Grand Hustle) and three singles off of her upcoming album (“Work,” “Bounce” and “Change Your Life”) when she solidified her place in the American music scene early in 2014 with the release of her number-one-charting hit “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX. The song’s success on the Billboard Hot 100 (it remained in the top spot for seven consecutive weeks) set a new record for both artists as the first time either had reached number one on a U.S. chart. In the same week, Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” featuring the Australian rapper, held the number-two spot, setting yet another chart record for Azalea. She became the only artist since the Beatles in 1964 to achieve the feat of having her first two Hot 100 hits rank at number one and two simultaneously on the chart, according to Billboard. Closing the year, Azalea was ranked number one on Billboard’s Top New Artists year-end chart and is a Grammy contender for Record of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Rap Album.
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The New Zealand singer had her breakout year in 2013 with the release of her debut album Pure Heroine. According to Billboard, the commercial success of “Royals,” the album’s lead single, solidified Lorde’s position as the youngest solo artist, then 16 going on 17 years old, to top the Hot 100 since 1988. Among other notable feats, Lorde won Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at the 2014 Grammy Awards and New Artist of the Year and Top Rock Song at the Billboard Music Awards. In October of this year, Time magazine also named the artist one of “The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014,” crediting her award wins and platinum record sales as an indicator of her early imprint in pop culture. Most recently, Lorde curated The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 soundtrack. “Yellow Flicker Beat,” one of four songs that the artist contributed to the album, has received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.
3. Sam Smith
Smith’s international success in 2014 came just one year after the British singer topped the U.K. Singles Chart twice in his home country. Having earned the number-one spot as featuring artist on producer Naughty Boy’s “La La La,” Smith again revisited the top position when he released “Money on My Mind,” the second single off of his debut studio album In The Lonely Hour. When the artist’s breakout third single “Stay With Me” was released and the U.S. launch of his album followed a month later, he made waves on an international scale. “Stay With Me” shot up to number one in the U.K. and also secured the number-two spot on the U.S. Billboard chart, becoming Smith’s most successful single to date. Currently, Smith has achieved the milestone of being the first artist to sell 1 million albums in both the U.K. and U.S. in 2014. Winner of the Favorite Male Artist title at the American Music Awards, the British newcomer is now vying for a Grammy in six different categories this year: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album.
Though Trainor’s debut studio album has yet to be released, the singer-songwriter already has two chart-topping singles, four song-writing credits and two Grammy nominations under her belt. But stardom for the 21-year-old came unexpectedly. Her debut single “All About That Bass” from her EP Title, co-written by the singer and Kevin Kadish, was originally pitched to different artists (Beyonce and Adele are two who declined) before multiple rejections compelled Trainor to take on the pop track herself. Then an unknown name signed to Epic Records, the single marked Trainor’s official break into the music industry and remained at the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight consecutive weeks. Follow-up track “Lips Are Movin,” which peaked at No. 4 on the charts, was soon after pre-released from her upcoming full-length album Title, set to drop on January 13, 2015. Trainor was nominated for New Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards, and “All About That Bass” is Grammy nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
5. Solange Knowles
While 2013 was a year of musical accomplishments for Knowles — a collaboration with Kendrick Lamar for a remix of “Looks Good With Trouble” (originally from her 2012 EP True) and the launch of her own record label Saint Records all happened within the same month — the singer trended in 2014 for reasons other than music. Just one month after Knowles shared the stage with sister Beyoncé during her Coachella set, footage of her attacking rapper and brother-in-law Jay-Z in a hotel elevator post-Met Gala spread virally on the Internet after TMZ uploaded the leaked video online. Though the reason behind her behavior was never made known, Knowles made even bigger headlines on November 16 when the 28-year-old married video director Alan Ferguson in an elegant all-white ceremony in New Orleans, Louisiana (her second marriage following a divorce with first husband Daniel Smith, with whom she co-parents 10-year-old son Daniel Julez). Mother Tina Knowles, Beyonce and Jay-Z were all in attendance at the reception, which also ranked ninth on Google’s top trending weddings. In December, Knowles ended the year with a fashion-forward project, taking on the role of art director and creative consultant for a series of footwear collections for PUMA. Her own bold style is incorporated in three collaborative sneaker lines: “Girls of Blaze,” “Wild Wonder” and “Behind the Bazaar.”
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