Karmin got their start like any other hardworking music act of the new millennium -- on YouTube. Unless you actually live under some kind of soundproof, internet-proof rock, then you've seen Amy Heidemann (the female half of Karmin) flow like a beast on the duo's cover of Chris Brown's "Look At Me Now." You know, the one that went around the internet like, 64 million times (!!!). Next thing you know, they're releasing a debut album full of original songs -- Hello, out May 8 -- and they're currently our PUSH artist of the week, almost a year to the day we named them a Buzzworthy "Buzz On" act. Lesson of the century: Keep vlogging and tweeting, kids!
Quick history lesson: Amy met her Karmin cohort and real-life boo Nick Noonan at Berklee College of Music, where they collaborated on school projects. They turned their conservatory training to mainstream pursuits. Amy used her theatrical prowess to shape-shift into an uncannily accurate version of pop stars like Demi Lovato and Pink and hip-hop heavyweights like Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes and even Kanye West, with Nick mixing and manning the synth. Their mesmerizing covers -- and Amy's machine-gun flow -- caught the attention of Ryan Seacrest, Ellen DeGeneres, more than a few major record labels. Ultimately, L.A. Reid signed them to Epic Records, landed them a musical guest spot on "Saturday Night Live" and basically ensured that you clear out some memory on your iPod for Karmin's permanent place in your music collection. Not bad for a girl from Nebraska who now has to postpone her wedding to play a music festival for millions of people.
And while we could watch Amy battle Busta Rhymes' tongue-twisters with an almost terrifying level of perfection, Karmin's more than just a cover band. They're bringing their own infectious brand of power-pop (and, yes, Amy's fast-lane flow) to their Hello debut, which features the shimmering smash, "Brokenhearted" (a song based on their real-life relationship) and the ferociously fearless "I Told You So," which sees its video premiere Tuesday, May 8, on MTV and MTV.com.
Karmin's already bigger than big. And the scary thing is, they're about to get even bigger. And we'll be here to say, well, "I Told You So."
+ Check out their live performance of "Hello" and their latest video "I Told You So" below, and watch more interviews and performances with the band after the jump.
We've been on Diggy's steeze for a minute now, but it's time for the rest of y'all to start paying attention. He hails from the Simmons clan (he's Rev Run's kid -- that would be the Run from Run-D.M.C.) and Kanye's already given him a certified thumbs-up (on Twitter, no less). He's been applauded for his ambitious cover of Drake's "Over" as well as "Flow Stoopid," his freestyle track set to Nas' "Made You Look." After success with his first mixtape in 2009 and signing to Atlantic in 2010, Diggy's just released his debut album, Unexpected Arrival, late last month. Now it's dude's turn to take over on his own, and we have no problem sitting back and watching him dominate.
We sat down with Diggy to discuss everything from following in his dad's musical footsteps to where he came up with the name Unexpected Arrival. Diggy also opened up about his feelings on the current state of hip-hop, and he had some pretty poignant words of wisdom, especially coming from a 17-year-old: "There's so much diversity right now. I definitely feel like [the hip-hop scene] is bringing it back to what it used to be... So many people have substance in their lyrics... so I just think we're bringing it back to making great, substantial music." Uhh, I didn't even know what the word "substantial" meant when I was 17. Well done, Rev. You raised a good one.
+ Check out Diggy's live performance of "Two Up" below, and peep tons more videos and interviews after the jump.
When one of the people in your band goes by the name "Cornbread" and your music has been compared to The Troggs, The Seeds and The Zombies, of course Danger Mouse is going to want to produce your debut album. After eclectic musical beginnings (to say the least -- one of these dudes learned drums from some guy at his local Lowes), Electric Guest are prepping for the release of their debut album, Mondo, out April 24. Musicians Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton (aka "Cornbread") make up the group, and we thought it was about time you get to know these guys so you can say you knew them when.
Up first, we've got the premiere of Electric Guest's video, "This Head I Hold," which might be the best video of all time. We see Asa (who you might recognize as The Lonely Island's Jorma Taccone's little bro) prepping for a "Napoleon Dynamite"-like talent competition. As his audition nears, dude is seriously buggin' on nerves. Once the judges call his name, homeboy bolts. He just starts running and running and running until he ends up in the desert. Then there's like, a two-minute montage of what it would be like if he never goes through with his audition and ends up as some nomad living with a random desert woman and child. Then boom, back to the audition where Asa faces his fears and nails it. Moral of the story: Don't become a weird old desert man -- follow your dreams.
Check out more videos with Electric Guest after the jump, where the band opens up about how they met, their vocal sensibilities and their musical future. Electric Guest's debut album, Mondo, drops April 24.
+ Watch Electric Guest's "This Head I Hold" video below, and check out more interviews and videos with band after the jump.
Just when you were about to declare Kitty Glitter the best thing to come out of Las Vegas, we had to go and introduce you to Imagine Dragons. (Sorry/You're welcome.) The four-piece's synthy dance-pop hit single "It's Time" is important for a couple reasons: 1.) The song is really effing good, and 2.) It's about time the band took off. After entering the recording studio in 2009 and leaving with two buzzed-about EPs, Imagine Dragons and Hell And Silence, Imagine Dragons paid their dues hitting the road, gaining a fair amount of notoriety on the West Coast. But it took producer Alex Da Kid (Rihanna, Eminem, Paramore) noticing them to really get the fire started (dragon pun) -- they were soon signed to Interscope Records and Alex produced their first full-length EP, Continued Silence, released digitally in February 2012. And we recently snatched them up for our mtvU Woodies Awards Festival.
We sat down with Imagine Dragons to talk all things music, why they chose to put the word "dragons" in their name (why wouldn't you?) and how keeping their home base Vegas isn't as weird as you think it might be: "Well [lead singer] Dan [Reynolds] is from Vegas, so that kind of made it easy. He also has like, 13 people in his family, so we figured why not start there because we already have 13 built-in fans." Interesting tactic, bros. Guilt the whole fam into supporting your creative endeavors! Works every time.
+ Watch Imagine Dragon's live performance of "It's Time" below, watch their brand-new "It's Time" video, and check out more videos and interviews from the band after the jump.
There doesn't exist a "Must Hear" list in the world that doesn't currently have Alabama Shakes on it. We named them one of our 11 Artists To Watch in 2012, the New York Times had some pretty nice things to say about them and Rolling Stone's been on their steeze for a minute. The Athens, Alabama, rock band sounds like a lot of different genres rolled all up into one, but don't box 'em in, man. "Retro soul is not what we're going for, though it's understandable why people say it," says frontwoman Brittany Howard, who's been compared to Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding. "We take inspiration from that, but we all understand Black Sabbath, too."
Alabama Shakes got their start like every good, ol' fashioned American rock-and-roll band -- in high school. Brittany Howard approached bassist Zac Cockrell after she took notice of his "cool band shirts," with drummer Steve Johnson and guitarist Heath Fogg joining the mix shortly thereafter. The band grew rather organically in and around their hometown, gaining speed and notoriety after their live shows floored audiences -- or should we say "metaphorically punched audiences in the face." Howard's soulful, raspy vocals sound like they've been marinating in aged whiskey and Marlboro Reds for many more years than she is old. And we only mean that in the best way possible.
Get to know our MTV PUSH Artist Of The Week with our exclusive interviews and live performance videos. The band opens up about how they formed, what goes down at an Alabama Shakes live show and one of their favorite cover songs to play: Led Zeppelin's "How Many More Times." Howard explains, "It moves a lot and it's very powerful. And it's one of the hookiest bass riffs Led Zeppelin has." Not exactly for the faint of heart. Also: effing awesome.
Alabama Shakes' much-anticipated debut album, Boys & Girls, is out April 10. And be sure to check them out on "Live In NYC," airing Tuesday, April 10, at 9 p.m. ET on MTV Hive.
+ Watch Alabama Shakes' live performance of "You Ain't Alone" below and check out more videos and interviews after the jump.
She's an MC, she's a vocalist, she's a mom and she's probably the coolest chick we know (and we know a lot of cool chicks). California native Dev (born Devin Tailes) is kind of hard to define, and we're pretty sure that's the way she likes it. You already know her voice -- Far East Movement's 2010 mega smash "Like A G6" samples Dev's "Booty Bounce." She's the reason y'all felt so fly sippin' your sizzurp that summer. Respect.
But Dev isn't done after one successful sample -- after her first official single "Bass Down Low" had a strong showing on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after its November 2010 release, Dev released her debut album, The Night The Sun Came Up, in the U.K. in 2011. But 2012 marks the U.S. release (March 27 to be specific) of her debut, including the car-bumpin' "In My Trunk" and the sparse, downtempo "Take Her From You."
We spent some time with Dev during her mtvU Woodies Awards, where she performed, co-hosted and gave Snooki some great mom-to-be advice. Now we've got more video interviews with the "Kiss My Lips" singer, and she's opening up about her career, her "sensitive side" and her musical friends, who include Enrique Iglesias (her costar in her brand-new video, "Naked") and Timbaland, who Dev had a great time with in the studio: "The vibe was just really cool, and it wasn't anything too weird or awkward." Now you know: Timbaland -- not a weirdo.
Download Dev's "Kiss My Lips" by right-clicking this link, and watch videos, interviews and performances from Dev after the jump. Also be sure to check out MTV's GYT campaign -- Dev partnered up with GYT to spread awareness of knowing your STD status. See? Talented and smart.
We think it's about time you lift that rock that you're living under and take a couple minutes to get to know British-Irish boy band/international sensation One Direction. Comprising Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson (collect 'em all!), these five singers were a product of the seventh season of the "The X Factor U.K." But instead of trying to gain Simon Cowell's approval, these dudes have moved on to bigger and better things -- like breaking records with their debut album, Up All Night, the fastest-selling debut album on the U.K. album charts in 2011. The album's hit single "What Makes You Beautiful" garnered the boys the coveted Best British Single statue at the 2012 Brit Awards, and none of these guys can even rent a car in the States yet. Yeah, WE KNOW.
We sat down with the five guys to discuss their impending superstardom and what the ride to the top has been like so far. We even have a couple live and acoustic performances for you to drool over. (Sorry you can't tape videos to your Trapper Keeper.) As for what everyone wants to know -- what One Direction thinks of Simon Cowell -- the boys kept it very diplomatic: "[Simon Cowell] basically told us that he wanted us to be the group that we wanted to be... right down to our styling to the sound of our music... It needs to be authentic." Great advice, Simon. The dudes also said that they still go to him for "queries," which is the adorable English way of saying "questions."
+ Check out tons of video interviews and performances from One Direction after the jump, and peep their "What Makes You Beautiful" video below.
When you think of Los Angeles electronic music, you think of DJ Steve Aoki. And that's no mere coincidence. After graduating UC Santa Barbara (with two B.A.s -- Women's Studies & Sociology) and running underground concerts from his dorm room, Aoki had started his own record label, Dim Mak, by his early 20s. He spent the next few years releasing records from acts like MSTRKRFT and Klaxons, and he also made his way around the L.A. party circuit as a DJ and club promoter. (So Steve Aoki basically does what we think everyone in Los Angeles does, but he does it the best.)
His name is now synonymous with the upper echelon of the surging EDM movement, and to prove that that's exactly where he'll be staying put, Steve Aoki recently released his debut studio album, Wonderland (check out his single "Ladi Dadi" featuring Wynter Gordon), and now he's MTV's PUSH Artist Of The Week. Moral of the story: Keep handing out those flyers, bros.
Get to know Steve Aoki in some of our exclusive MTV videos, starting with the premiere of his brand-new video "Heartbreaker," featuring Brazilian singer Lovefoxxx. Guest DJ Danny Masterson is on the ones and twos as Lovefoxxx takes us back to the '70s -- it's roller-skating time, y'all. Lovefoxxx seduces a few grimy-looking dudes at a trippy roller rink with a glowing neon heart radiating from her chest. But in the end it's Steve Aoki's soupy black heart that rests in his chest that she wants. (That's always my problem, too.) Lovefoxxx sings over a light electro beat, "Would you let me be your heartbreaker?" Cue the big streamer party -- everyone lives happily ever after. (Again, Los Angeles.)
Below, check out more videos and performances from Steve Aoki to see him shed some light on his Lil Jon-assisted (and EDM Effect Woodie-nominated) track "Turbulence," what EDM means in America and exactly how you should dance to it should you so choose to attempt such a brave feat: "It's like traffic -- you just wanna go the same speed as the traffic," he explained. "The thing is the whole crowd is jumping with you. So you just kinda go with the flow."
Don't miss Steve Aoki when he performs at the mtvU Woodie Awards March 18 on MTV and mtvU, watch his "Heart Breaker" video featuring Lovefoxxx below and watch more videos after the jump.
+ Watch Steve Aoki's "Heartbreaker" video featuring Lovefoxx:
Get to know MTV's PUSH Artist Of The Week, The Wanted
We've said it before, then we said it again, and now we're gonna say it one more time: Boy bands are back. And we can all thank the U.K.'s The Wanted. Much like the American boy bands of the '90s (*NSYNC, Backstreet Boys), The Wanted didn't come together on their own. They were instead formed in 2009 during a mass audition, and they got to work right away on their first self-titled album. After their debut single "All Time Low" went to No. 1 on British charts in 2010 just months after forming, we (and the rest of the world) figured it was time to start paying attention.
We sat down with MTV's PUSH Artist Of The Week to discuss all the pressing issues that an up-and-coming crossover boy band must face: which American venues they'd love to play, what they think of their American fans and, of course, their real feelings about Justin Bieber, with whom the band shares manager Scooter Braun. "He actually sent us a tweet before saying he's really enjoyed being on tour with us which was really nice 'cause compared to our half-million followers, he's got about 17 and a half million." Friends in high places (or with millions of Twitter followers) are always good friends to have.
The Wanted's most recent single, "Glad You Came," was recently covered on "Glee," which pretty much means these dudes are set for life. Check out their second album, Battleground, out now.
+ Watch The Wanted's live performance of 'Glad You Came' below, and see tons more interviews and videos after the jump.
After The Format's breakup in 2008, former frontman Nate Ruess took his lemons and turned them into... fun. Literally. Nate got together with Steel Train's Jack Antonoff and Anathallo's Andrew Dost to form their new band, fun. And the dudes have been having a blast ever since.
Named one of MTV's Artists To Watch 2012, fun.'s vintage-sounding pop-rock places them just enough outside of the mainstream music box to make you ask the DJ what song you're hearing while somehow remaining universally resonant. (That's tough. Nice work, guys.) Some jams on the band's upcoming Some Nights album (out tomorrow) are grand and anthemic, bringing to mind the likes of Queen (I said it!), while other tracks have you wondering if you're still listening to the same CD.
Get to know this week's MTV PUSH artist with our sweet collection of interviews and videos. Hear fun. let us in how they got together as a band, what fans can expect to hear on the new album compared with their debut EP, and just what the stunt people had to go through to pull off the band's completely destructive (and completely badass) video "We Are Young," featuring Janelle Monáe.
fun.'s Some Nights album is out tomorrow, Feb. 21, on the label Fueled By Ramen.
+ Watch fun.'s "We Are Young" video below, and check out more interviews and performance videos after the jump.