Get bratty with "X Factor" superstar Cher Lloyd.
Meet pop music's favorite new brat. Cher Lloyd first turned heads on the U.K. version of "The X Factor," where notorious grumpster Simon Cowell called her performance of Shakespeare's Sister's "Stay" "the performance of the entire season" -- and it was the first song she didn't rap on. (Because did we mention she can rap? Because she can.)
Cher blends electro, hip-hop, and pop influences into a genre-bending mix, all delivered with a wink. Think Lily Allen meets Nicki Minaj. "You're a hater, just let it go," she sings on inspirational kiss-off "Swagger Jagger," while "Want U Back" firehoses an ex-boyfriend ("You never had much game") and his new girlfriend, before admitting she might be jealous.
The pop misfit just made Billboard's "21 Under 21" list, performed on the "Today" show, and already dropped her first perfume, "Pink Diamond" -- not bad for a 19-year-old. Cher's debut album, Sticks + Stones, drops in the U.S. on Oct. 2, yet she's already locked in die-hard fans, who call themselves "The Brats."
"I've never met such passionate people in my life," Lloyd says. "Whenever I go into an event, I know they've got my back. It's all about having the girl power." And all about dropping her "Want U Back" signature grunt, though Lloyd says getting growly isn't easy. "I did it in the studio, and I was actually angry at that point. But I don't do it when I'm on stage," she says. "I don't want someone to take a snapshot of that." Get your Rick Ross on, li'l mama. UGH! (Do I sound like a helicopter?)
+ Download Cher Lloyd's "Dub On The Track," watch her perform "Want U Back" below, and check out more videos and interviews with her after the jump.
Is 2 Chainz one of THE hottest rappers in the game right now? TRU.
The road to rap stardom used to be long -- real long. Rappers could spend years hustling on small stages before finally getting a chance to shine, and if by some chance one DID experience their big break, sometimes the highest they'd get on the industry ladder would be with a single guest verse on a new hot song. So it’s interesting that in this era of the overnight sensation machine, that the old-fashioned way to stardom has actually paid off for rapper 2 Chainz and made him the bona fide hip-hop star he is today.
Watch videos featuring 2 Chainz after the jump.
Learn more about the Diddy-signed Cleveland rapper, MGK.
MGK's had quite a year since signing to Bad Boy Records last summer. He's had several legit hits and one of the biggest remixes of the year with his "Wild Boy (Remix)," which clocks in at seven rappers strong, including Mystikal, and Jackass's Steve-O (who's just on the intro, and not technically rapping, in case you were curious/worried). And if MGK's boss, Diddy, has been looking for his own answer to the great white hope, Eminem, then he's finally found it.
The Cleveland, Ohio emcee reps his hometown hard, and his city seems to answer with unconditional support for the 22-year-old. But so does New York: He's had two successful runs at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and he's made several appearances on BET. But MGK's rapid-fire delivery and unchained energy levels tend to hush any haters, if not change their minds completely. There's something uncanny and irresistible about being from the Midwest and being able to speed rap with technical precision. MGK fits in well with hometown heroes Bone Thugs, as well as Tech N9ne (Kansas) and Twista (Chicago) -- both of whom happen to be featured on his upcoming debut album, Lace Up.
Watch MGK videos and interviews after the jump.
Get to know the Pharrell- and Ne-Yo-approved Conor Maynard.
Tell us if this reminds you of someone: teenaged YouTube star with millions of views, major R&B singers as mentors and awesome hair. Hmm... Justin, is that you? U.K. singer Conor Maynard may hear the British Bieber thing a lot, but the breakthrough artist definitely deserves a spotlight of his own.
The rising star made his mark with killer covers of Usher, Ne-Yo and Rihanna, with his uploads scoring more than 68 million YouTube views -- including 3.8 million for his original track "Vegas Girl," an electro-influenced banger that proved that he's not just a cover act. He's already hooked up with equally crushable U.K. export Rita Ora for the duet "Better Than You," and had Ne-Yo and Pharrell battling to sign him as he prepped for his transatlantic takeover. He wound up on EMI and spent a week in Miami with the Neptunes producer anyway. (Rough life, bro!)
"There's a track featuring Ne-Yo, there's a track featuring Pharrell, there's a track written by Frank Ocean," Maynard says of his star-powered debut album, Contrast, due Sept. 18. Swag on a hundred, thousand, 68 million -- and growing. "I actually have to move quite soon because fans found out where I live," Maynard says. If you're not already a Mayniac, then get ready to convert.
+ Download Conor Maynard's "Drowning," and watch his "Vegas Girl" video, interviews and performances after the jump.
Pop star Olly Murs has already taken over the U.K. Find out why he's got his sights set on the U.S.
When we listen to Olly Murs, the singer seems like a born musician, but the U.K. newcomer didn't grow up with dreams of pop stardom. "I was more of a soccer fan, really, than music," he says, explaining that he got into Stevie Wonder and James Brown, who are now major influences, later in life. "It wasn't until I was about 23 that I started singing." That's the age Murs competed on the U.K. version of "The X Factor," where he impressed judgment gargoyle Simon Cowell and finished second -- nabbing a major label deal and a self-titled debut album that moved more than 600,000 copies in the U.K.
The man's now ready to begin conquering America, a takeover that's already in the works: He's opening for One Direction on the fellow Brits' current North American tour. "When people say it's a British invasion, I mean, it would be great to be a part of that. At the moment, I feel like I'm on a boat, trying to get to the States," Murs says. "I'm hoping that the One Direction fans are going to warm to me." Things are definitely heating up: He'll drop his U.S. debut, In Case You Didn't Know, (now you do!) on Sept. 25, with the track list combining the best songs from his first two U.K. releases. He'll lead off with the dancehall-influenced "Heart Skips A Beat," the team-up with Chiddy Bang that he's already performed on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." Y'know, just getting his U.S. late-night debut out of the way before his debut record even drops.
"It's a feel-good song," he says of the relatable track. "It's about a relationship that's gone a little bit sour, and you want it to be great again." Or in Murs' case, the start of a rad brand-new one. Watch the singer hit the stage below and hang on to your heartbeat.
+ Watch Olly Murs' live performances and exclusive interviews after the jump.
UK singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is staging a serious British Invasion. The musician's debut album, entitled + (as in the plus sign), landed at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 this month -- after 10 months on his homeland chart, which he topped last year. On his rise to fame, he's performed at the 2012 mtvU Woodies, toured with Snow Patrol and sold out his own U.S. headlining tour in 12 minutes. No big deal, right? And no big ego either. "It's quite nice that the U.S. fans are involved and want to come to the shows," the humble star said. ("Quite nice"? We'd be commissioning an airplane to write those kind of wins across the sky. But that's just us.)
Ed Sheeran has scored more than 2.5 million Twitter followers, definitely enough to sell out a lot more gigs. He's even made a fan of Taylor Swift, whom he's been working with for her own upcoming album. Makes sense -- we know they're both big cat people. And not only is Sheeran pretty adorable himself (it's the boy-next-door guilelessness and that emotive British songwriting-as-storytelling thing David Gray does so well), but after listening to the eclectic +, it's easy to tell why everybody's got the album on repeat.
"My music is a mixture of a lot of acoustic music -- of folk, hip-hop, soul," Sheeran says, which makes sense since he's a huge hip-hop fan and even teamed up with Yelawolf. "I think YouTube has destroyed the genre barrier. People can be into Justin Bieber and Eminem at the same time. It's a good thing." Also a good thing? All of the Ed Sheeran videos, interviews and performances we've hooked up for you below. Get into it:
+ Watch Ed Sheeran's "The A Team" live performance below, and get more performances and interviews after the jump.
"The A Team (Live)"
Los Angeles rockers White Arrows are open-minded dudes: Like Fool's Gold or Vampire Weekend, the band has a sound that's equal parts indie edge and global groove. The band's gotten hometown love from L.A. Weekly and KCRW. The influential L.A. radio station praised the band for their live performance -- a skill White Arrows had a chance to master with a monthlong residency at an Echo Park club in 2011, an L.A. indie rite of passage. With their chops honed, the group headed to Europe this spring to rock festivals like Liverpool Sound City and The Great Escape. They've even gotten the attention of Justin Timberlake (!!!) who said of their "Get Gone" video, "Cool video. Song reminds me of Phil Collins: 'Take Me Home.'" High praise, indeed.
In addition to possibly bringing sexy back, White Arrows are making the most of the world's current fruit situation: "[Guitarist JP Caballero] listened to an NPR special about bananas, and how in 20 years or something there will be far less bananas," frontman Mickey Church explains. "He would start eating 20 to 40 bananas a day." Potassium: crucial! Beyond the vitamins though, the band also made sure their musical chemistry was cool with the universe before recording their debut album, Dry Land is Not a Myth, which dropped last Tuesday. "We went to an astrologer and made sure our signs were OK," JP says. The stars are definitely aligning for White Arrows.
+ Watch White Arrows play the song live below. And check out more performances and interviews after the jump.
Get Gone (Live)
Life's pretty good for Rita Ora. The effortlessly, endlessly soulful singer signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation as a teenager, and after two years of making records, she's more than ready for her own time in the spotlight. The musician, who was born in Kosovo and now lives in the U.K., is already a hit with the Brits with her chilling, Drake-penned No. 1 single, "R.I.P." And while you've got a day pass to your local beach this summer, the 21-year-old's going to be opening for Coldplay (best summer internship ever). Thanks, Uncle Hov.
"When I first got introduced to Jay, I was 18," she says, explaining how her demos turned Jay-Z and the Roc Nation crew into believers. "He's one of the most influential people in my life."
While her singles demonstrate her pop side (and willingness to party), the singer knows her hip-hop history: "How We Do (Party)" pays tribute to Notorious B.I.G.'s "Party and Bulls***" with its upbeat hooks. "I've been a huge hip-hop fan for a while," she says. "We wanted a summer party anthem… I thought, how can I take this hip-hop track and turn it into a 'me' song?" Ora definitely completed the transformation with style, and promises "a few surprises" on her upcoming debut album. Below, see how Rita Ora does in her "How We Do (Party)" video and watch live performances and exclusive interviews.
+ Watch Rita Ora interviews, performances and more after the jump.
Scottish soul and R&B singer Emeli Sande got her start like so many noteworthy artists -- as a songwriter...and a soon-to-be doctor. Before music became her full-time gig, Emeli was studying medicine at the University of Glasgow while keeping songwriting just a hobby. It was during her fourth year in school when she wrote the hook for a song called "Diamond Rings" and gave it to English rapper Chipmunk. With Sande's vocals on the track, the song became a top 10 hit, and after penning songs for Cher Lloyd, Susan Boyle and Cheryl Cole (to name a few), Emeli soon landed a record deal with EMI. Needless to say, medicine would have to wait.
Emeli's made her mark overseas already, having won the coveted Critic's Choice statue at the 2012 Brit Awards, but now it's time for you to get to know the "Heaven" singer. We sat down with Emeli, our PUSH artist of the week, and she opened up to us about her first U.S. album release, what she learned from writing for other artists before launching her solo career, and the importance of a hard day's work: "You always hope maybe [your music] can do well, but you never know. And so finally, to feel like the hard work has paid off, it's such a relief, and it was really encouraging to keep doing what I was doing." We're guessing 13-plus million views on her "Next To Me" video is a bit of a relief as well.
Emeli Sande's Our Version Of Events is out stateside June 5.
+ Watch Emeli Sande's live performance of "Next To Me" below, and check out more interviews and videos after the jump.
You might not know French DJ Martin Solveig's name offhand, but you definitely know his work. His 2010 smash single "Hello," featuring Canadian electropop act Dragonette, peaked at No. 1 in five countries around the world. It's also absolutely impossible to get out of your head once you've heard it -- you may still be humming it from the song's cameos on "90210," "The Vampire Diaries" or "Gossip Girl," to name a few. The track was such a success that Solveig was recruited to put his Midas touch on Madonna's most recent album, MDNA. Not a bad name to have on your résumé.
We caught up with Martin, our PUSH artist of the week, and he let us in on what it was like working with the Material Girl, as well as his penchant for playing large stadiums and the team effort that went into his track, the über-infectious and many-times-remixed "The Night Out": "When we decided to release it properly as a single, I called many of my friends to make remixes, so it was really a group work." Must be nice to have your friends lend you a hand with remixes on the fly -- the only thing my friends help me out with is moving (and that's only if free food and drinks are involved).
Martin Solveig's Smash is out now. And whatever you do, do NOT miss him when he performs live as the house DJ at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards, Sunday, June 3 at 9/8c!
+ Watch Martin Solveig's "Hello" video below, and check out more videos and interviews with Martin Solveig after the jump.