Wednesday, October 6, 2010

21 Under 21 : Music's Hottest Minors (Part 1)

21 Under 21 : Music's Hottest Minors
(Original post from

They're young, they're on a white-hot winning streak, and most importantly, they're just getting started: These are's "21 Under 21," selected not only for their tender age but also for their potential to rule the pop culture zeitgeist over the next 12 months.

Whether it's a country star whose every song lyric demands hours of analysis (Is she singing about Joe, Taylor or Kanye?!), a beloved breakout character on TV's hottest high school musical, or a newcomer who landed a record deal on the strength of one Lady Gaga cover, expect them all to to keep us watching -- and listening -- in the year to come. On to the countdown of our picks!

21.Sean Kingston

Birthday: February 3, 1990 (age 20)

Why He's Hot: A rapper at heart, Sean Kingston (real name Kisean Anderson) initially charmed music fans with the reggae-pop vocals on his breakthrough hit "Beautiful Girls." The song stayed at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in 2007 and also enticed Beyonce to book Kingston as her tour's opening act. The Miami native matured his sound on his dancefloor-ready top 5 2009 single "Fire Burning," and what's next will heat up the charts as well. Kingston's mixtape with Justin Bieber, "Our World," will be released later this fall, while Kingston has released two hit singles, "Letting Go (Dutty Love)" and "Dumb Love," from his upcoming album, which should hit shelves in early 2011.

20. Cody Simpson

Birthday: January 11, 1997 (age 13)

Why He's Hot: If you're looking for the next teen pop heartthrob with a great haircut and international cache, Cody Simpson's your man. The 13-year-old Australian joined the fray this summer with "iYiYiYi," an ultra-catchy debut single featuring Flo Rida, and his debut album for Atlantic Records is now in the works. Comparisons to Justin Bieber are inevitable, but Simpson doesn't mind following in said star's footsteps: "Being compared to someone who's already been really successful is flattering," the singer recently told Radio Disney. How's that for showbiz smarts?

19. Nikki Yanofsky

Birthday: February 8, 1994 (age 16)

Why She's Hot: Canadian jazz-pop singer Nikki Yanofsky might not be a household name yet in the U.S., but the 16-year-old up-and-comer has dazzled our northern neighbors with two successful solo albums, a no. 1 song ("I Believe") on the Canadian Hot 100 and buzzed-about performances at the 2010 Winter Olympic opening and closing ceremonies. Yanofsky's star will continue to rise when she tours the States this fall and releases her "Nikki" album overseas later this year.

18. New Boyz

Birthday: Ben J: October 13, 1991 (age 18); Legacy: October 12, 1991 (age 18)

Why They're Hot: The New Boyz broke onto the scene in early 2009 with their hit song "You're a Jerk," and helped front the "Jerkin'" global dance craze. The dynamic So-Cal duo is prepping the release of their sophomore album, "Too Cool to Care," due later this year, and their latest single, "Break My Bank," is currently at No. 63 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and climbing. The Boyz also recently wrapped filming a movie directed by Mario Van Peebles called "Where Da Party At?" which is getting large comparisons to the 1990's Kid 'n Play flick "House Party".

17. Never Shout Never

Birthday: Christofer Drew Ingle: February 11, 1990 (age 20)

Why He's Hot: Thousands of unknown musicians drop their music on the Internet, praying to get discovered. Not all of them wind up cracking the Billboard Top 20 three years later. But that's what happened to Joplin, Missouri's Christofer Drew Ingle after he christened himself Never Shout Never and began dropping his bubbly guitar pop-tunes on the MySpace. Ingle is currently being chased through malls by the masses of screaming girls that helped his new album "Harmony" debut at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 in August.

16. Wonder Girls

Birthdates: Sun: August 12, 1989 (age 21); Yenny: May 26, 1989 (age 21); SoHee: June 27, 1992 (age 18); YuBin: October 4, 1988 (age 21); HyeLim: September 1, 1992 (age 18)

Why They're Hot: A few of South Korea's appropriately named Wonder Girls have already reached our legal drinking age. So what? Before the group's SoHee and HyeLim celebrate their 21st b'days, the quintet -- whose 2009 debut U.S. single "Nobody" made them the first Korean group to crack the Billboard Hot 100 -- will have dropped their first English-language album (scheduled for release in Jan. 2011) and saturated our airwaves with their infectious pop harmonies. We'll drink to that.

15. Diggy Simmons

Birthdate: March 21, 1995 (age 15)

Why He's Hot: Aside from being the pretty boy, fashion-forward son of Run DMC's Reverend Run, Diggy Simmons is garnering attention for his formidable rapping skills. After releasing a mixtape titled "The First Flight" in December 2009, and freestyling over Drake's "Over" and Nas' "Made You Look," Diggy got signed to Atlantic Records in early 2010. He recently released his follow-up mixtape, "Airborne," and -- taking cue from his older sisters -- launched his own sneaker line, "Chivalrous Culture." Diggy's 230,000 (and counting) Twitter followers are counting the days until the release of his debut album, which he is currently recording.

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See you in next post --> Number 14 to Number 8

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