CHART RACE: Meghan Trainor, Jazmine Sullivan, Ella Henderson, Mark Ronson, Kat Dahlia



New Year, New Attempts at New Column Contenders. Chart Race will take a peek at what artists are scheduled to release a record this upcoming week -- waxing poetic on anticipation, expectations, and guessing on where they will fall on the general Billboard 200 schematic. So in short, interested to see what new music will be hitting this coming week? Read on...

KAT DAHLIA - My Garden
Pre-Released Jams: 
"Gangsta", "Crazy" (and "Crazy (Remix)" (feat. Gocho))
Expected Bow: Top 20

Kat Dahlia, not to be confused with Kat DeLuna, is one of those buzzy artists that has been making the blog rounds on the periphery of pop since 2012. Billboard named her one to watch two years ago. And yet, none of her singles have shown particularly strong bows chart-wise. Her sound is a bit all over the place which is fun for music nerds but confusing for the mainstream public. "Crazy" is the first single I've heard from her that seems to have any real potential to make in-roads but it definitely hasn't had time to build rapport...yet.


ELLA HENDERSON - Chapter One
Pre-Released Jams: "Ghost", "Mirror Man", "Hard Work"
Expected Bow: Top 10

This Brit is a former (British) X-Factor finalist back in 2012 and released Chapter One, her debut set, in her native UK this past October. Despite how much I adore the Ryan Tedder-penned single "Ghost", I was surprised she was poised to head Stateside so quickly...but I couldn't be more excited for it. Comparisons to Adele write themselves but to me, she has more younger, popstar potential -- more akin to an (exciting) Leona Lewis.


MARK RONSON - Uptown Special
Pre-Released Jams: "Uptown Funk" (feat. Bruno Mars)
Expected Bow: Top 10

"Uptown Funk" is my jam right now (and has been since it dropped out of the sky a few months back) and no one is more happy to see Taylor Swift outseated at #1 on the Hot 100 than I. I do feel like this set will debut high but will most likely see a steep drop-off rather quickly. I don't feel like there is a huge mainstream demand for a Mark Ronson record -- like David Guetta or Calvin Harris before him, the general public puts more focus on the artist after the featured tag (in this case, Bruno Mars) than the producer behind it. 


JAZMINE SULLIVAN - Reality Show
Pre-Released Jams: "Mascara", "Dumb" (feat. Meek Mill)
Expected Bow: Top 10

A lot of people like to gripe that the Mainstream R&B market continues to shrink by the day. Jazmine is a soul survivor (get it?) of true R&B and Reality Show marks her first disc in almost five years. The songs that preceded it aren't really comparable to "Bust Your Windows" but her return to the game, both vocal-wise and personality-wise, is certainly welcomed. "Mascara", a pre-release nugget, is a side-eye toward the Material Gimme-Girl who expects everything to be handed to her. If 2013 & 2014 were the Era of the #Selfie & the Kardashian, let's hope 2015 will begin the Era of the Real Female.


MEGHAN TRAINOR - Title
Pre-Released Jams: "All About That Bass", "Lips Are Movin'", "Title", "Dear Future Husband"
Expected Bow: Top 3

"Tell me that you're not just about this bass." Truer words could not have been spoken. "All About That Bass" was that breakout hit that no one saw coming (not even Trainor herself). "Bass" still sits pretty in the Hot 100 Top 10 as does "Lips Are Movin'" (aka "Bass (Part 2)"). Her debut EP (also dubbed Title) was surprisingly fab and while I do fear she is running the risk of resigning herself to One-Hit-Wonder status, Meghan is such a welcomed force in today's crew of Female Popstars. Her snark and sass (and her voice) are really unique and fun and I'm really looking forward to the new material on this upcoming Title expansion pack, regardless of her future career trajectory.

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Next Week's Horses? Fall Out Boy, Lupe Fiasco, Marilyn Manson, Mikky Ekko, The Decemberists, and Viet Cong.

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