Bolstered by the YouTube-ification of the recording industry, the next generation of American Idols
is taking their pop smarts online... and on Grey's Anatomy
If you watched McDreamy on an episode of "Grey's Anatomy," you know it's there. Some faceless singer's du jour single wedged in a moment of emotional tension. As Meredith dabs the tears from her cheek, the swelling crescendo ballad swells around her, prompting viewers to ask, who is that singer?
As radio continues to kneel over slowly, upstarts such as "Grey's Anatomy" and celebrity bloggers are picking up the slack, showcasing new artists who otherwise wouldn't have been heard.
Starpulse dusts off five up-and-comers with a penchant for getting their music heard in new and innovative media streams.
1.) Ingrid Michaelson
The Skinny: The 26-year-old Staten Islander's sparkling debut "Girls & Boys" broke the Billboard 200 chart without backing from a record label. Coupled with swooping choruses and buoyant "Grey's Anatomy" estrogen-pop, "Girls & Boys" serves up breathy refrains for listeners to stir their pumpkin spice lattes to. Just call her Lisa Loeb
Where You've Heard Her: The ubiquitous Old Navy sweater song for the company's Fair Isle TV spots and um, "Grey's Anatomy."
The Money Shot: "It's been quite a shift from a few months ago when I was working with a children's theater company," Michaelson told MTV.com.
Death to the Record Industry: Even though Michaelson is sifting through major label offers, for now, it seems as if she's managing just fine on her own terms.
2.) Operator Please
The Skinny: Aussie wunderkinds Operator Please crank out snappy protopunk power chords with a slick indie-pop undercurrent. Their sugary anthem "Just a Song About Ping Pong" delivers a plucky sing-a-long chorus, but with a serrated bite. The "Ping Pong" video itself is the equivalent of Blue's Clues
on crank and can be found on YouTube, of course.
Where You've Heard Them: Gossip maven Perez Hilton recently featured sophomore vid "Crash Tragic" on his popular website.
The Money Shot: Just a mere two years ago, the Operator Please kiddos were schlepping at high school Battle of the Bands. As of late, "Just a Song About Ping Pong" is a globetrotting smash, climbing into the outback top-20.
3.) Black Kids
The Skinny: Blogosphere darlings Black Kids are a tightly driven indie-rock group that delineates Motown harmonics with a trendy synth-pop overbite. Their "Wizard of Ahhhs" demo is like a wet kiss to a Radar
Magazine-reading Berry Gordy.
Where You've Heard Them: Where else? That tastemaker indiezine for all things cool, Pitchfork Media. In early October, Black Kids were stamped with a favorable 8.4 rating from Pitchfork contributing writer, Marc Hogan, who enthused, "(it's) a record with not just a distinctive aesthetic, but also one single-worthy track after another."
The Money Shot: Indie scenesters got their panties in a bunch over Black Kids' stellar Athens Popfest performance. The kicker? It was only their first show outside of the state of Florida.
Death to the Record Industry: The "Wizard of Ahhhs" demo that everyone's been talking about? It's available for free downloads on the band's MySpace page (myspace.com/blackkidsrock).
4.) Colbie Caillat
The Skinny: MySpacers traded 22-year-old singer Colbie Caillat's sunny folk-pop ode "Bubbly" like digital crack cocaine last year. The MP3 has clocked a whopping 10 million plays since 2006.
Where You've Heard Her: Caillat recently completed a national tour opening for Lifehouse
and The Goo Goo Dolls
The Money Shot: Caillat was Windex-ing body sweat off tanning salon booths when a friend showed the bubbling singer the wonders of MySpace. The rest is, they say, history.
Death to the Record Industry: Um, not exactly. Universal Republic soon snatched up the social networking princess, foisting "Bubbly" into the nether-regions of American pop radio. To grind salt into the wounds further, Caillat's paps co-produced several Fleetwood Mac
5.) Lady Antebellum
The Skinny: Nashville record labels have been buzzing over Lady Antebellum's polished Tequila Sunrise country-rock vibe. Lead singer Charles Kelley's surly hawing seems as if it's been ripped from Travis Tritt's
vocal chords. Oh, and fellow band members Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood boast inoffensive and bland good looks, perfect for Country Weekly
covers. Their text message and voicemail club, which delivers on-the-road messages to fans, is pretty damn technologically advanced for a mainstream country act.
The Money Shot: A few years back, Kelley and Haywood studied finance at the University of Georgia and traded guitar licks between classes.
Article by Joey Hood
Starpulse.com contributing writer