It’s easy to forget that before our favourite musicians reached their godlike status, they too were just like us. They had a dream and they went to great lengths to achieve it, never giving up sight of their end goal. From Eminem’s humbling trailer park biography to Maggie Roger’s right place, right time moment, we unpack how these now famous musicians rose to the top of the charts.
Maggie’s story is one that most artists would be jealous of. She was just a regular student at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music but when famous producer and artist Pharrell became a guest mentor for one of her masterclasses, her life would inexplicably change forever. The video of Rogers playing Pharrell her early demo of her breakthrough hit ‘Alaska’ has churned up over 3 million views on YouTube and it’s not hard to see why the moment has gone so viral. Pharrell’s look of pure shock and amazement matches our own. Right from the first listen he knew there was something incredible about the budding star and unsurprisingly the world agreed. Rogers received a record deal and an increasing fanbase within weeks of the video’s release. ‘Alaska’ now has over 70 million streams on Spotify and her debut album ‘Heard It in A Past Life’ reached number 2 on the Billboard 200.
Don’t forget to catch Maggie Rogers at Auckland’s Powerstation June 1 as part of her Heard It in A Past Life world tour! For more information visit Ticketmaster.
5 Seconds of Summer
The history of how 5 Seconds of Summer came to be is nothing new to diehard fans. The four Aussie boys we love so much started playing together as a band in high school, posting covers up on YouTube that would eventually become discovered by none other than 1/5 of the world’s biggest boyband, Louis Tomlinson from One Direction. The band invited 5 Seconds of Summer to join them on tour and simultaneously skyrocketed them into a world of success. Since then, 5 Seconds of Summer have earned the number one spot for all 3 of their albums in Australia, become the first Australian act to achieve 3 chart-toppers on Billboard 200, become the first band to have 3 albums debut at the top of the charts in the US and have won over 30 awards throughout their growing career.
Eminem’s story is no secret. His past hardships are a prevalent theme in his music, so much so that the movie 8 Mile was made based on his own life. But before he was Eminem he was Marshall Mathers, a troubled teen desperately trying to make it into the hip hop industry. He frequently attended underground rap battles in his hometown Detroit and tried his hand at a few mix tapes and alliances with other musicians before finally catching the ear of musical legend Dr. Dre. The rumour goes that Dre, who had previously never found anything valuable from a demo, listened to Eminem’s ‘The Slim Shady EP’ and immediately insisted that his team “find him now.” And the rest, as they say, is history. Eminem has gone on to be considered ‘The King of Hip Hop’ and one of the most influential and greatest artists of all time.
J. Cole began rapping at aged 12, using Eminem and Tupac as his main influences. He studied how they told stories and cleverly used word play and began formulating his own set of skillful raps that we’re so familiar with today. In 2009, Cole gained the attention of mogul Jay Z with his second mix tape ‘The Warm Up,’ despite being ignored by Jay Z two years prior when Cole waited for 3 hours outside the ‘Roc the Mic’ studio to hand the star a track. But Jay Z eventually gave Cole a listen and he liked the particular track ‘Lights Please’ so much that he signed the newbie rapper to his entertainment company Roc Nation. Cole has since had all five of his albums reach number one on Billboard 200, created his own record label Dreamville and received 7 Grammy nominations throughout his strong career.
Possibly one of the most famous breakthroughs in musical history actually happened by accident. When searching for another artist, Atlanta talent manager Scooter Braun accidentally clicked on one of Bieber’s 2007 YouTube videos and was so impressed he arranged for Bieber and his mum to be flown over from Canada. One week later, Bieber was introduced to R&B star Usher and was signed to Usher’s mentor, L.A. Reid’s, Island Def Jam label at the squeaky age of 14. From there Bieber went on to produce a long line of hits and become one of the most successful pop stars in the world, all before reaching age 25.
The indie pop star has quickly shot to fame over the last year or so but she’s been making musical strides long before then. In 2012 when she was 17, a then Ashley Frangipane began posting videos to social media accounts under her username se7enteenblack. Her parody of Taylor Swift’s ‘I Knew You Were Trouble,’ which was inspired by Halsey’s disagreement with Swift and Harry Styles’ relationship and has since been taken down, became popular and gained the star a trail of fans. She continued to write her own songs and one in particular, her debut hit ‘Ghost,’ was uploaded to SoundCloud and received millions of listens and shares overnight. Halsey was contacted by several record labels and eventually signed to EDM label Astralwerks. Her two albums have debuted at number 1 and 2 on the Billboard 200 charts and she’s just recently become the first artist in history to replace themselves on the charts twice with her latest stand-alone hit ‘Without Me’ and her collab with Benny Blanco and Khalid on ‘Eastside.’