2013 was particularly great for many artists, but there were five who seemed to stand out among the rest. Here’s a look at this year’s most noteworthy projects, and the artists responsible.
–Drake reached new heights with the release of his latest album, Nothing was the Same, which landed atop the Billboard 200 chart, selling a whopping 658,000 copies in its opening week. The disc marked his third consecutive album to land at the top spot and would later become a platinum-selling album with matching platinum-selling hits, including “Started from the Bottom” and “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” featuring Majid Jordan.
“Hold On, We’re Going Home” went straight to number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and ended Robin Thicke’s 16-week reign with “Blurred Lines,” while simultaneously becoming the Toronto native’s 11th chart-topper on the list. He’s now second only in that regard to current record-holder Usher, who leads with 12 number-one hits. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” also gave Drizzy his 33rd top-10 hit on Billboard‘s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Drake also scored five nominations, including Best Rap Album, for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
Aside from embarking on a lengthy outing, dubbed Would You Like a Tour?, Drake inked a deal with the Nike’s Jordan Brand division, became the “global ambassador” for NBA franchise Toronto Raptors, and still had time to make a cameo in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
–Miguel started the year riding high after earning five Grammy award nominations for his sophomore album, Kaleidoscope Dream. He was praised for his hit singles, including “How Many Drinks?” which received a remix from Kendrick Lamar.
Aside from his first appearance on Saturday Night Live, Miguelalso scored a huge collaboration with Mariah Carey on her hit single, “#Beautiful.” He also served as a supporting act on several tours, including Alicia Keys‘ Set the World on Fire Tour and Drake’s Would You Like a Tour, and headlined Jay Z‘s Made in America festival.
Miguel’s biggest hiccup came with his lawsuit stemming from his crash-landing at the Billboard Music Awards, where he attempted to jump over the fans in the mosh pit to reach the catwalk, accidentally landing atop of one girl and kicking another in the head. He was also charged with two counts of driving under the influence in August.
–Janelle Monae had an electrifying year with the release of her latest album, The Electric Lady, which included her first collaboration with the legendary Prince, on the song “Givin’ Em What They Love.” The 19-track album also featured contributions from Solange, Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spalding and Miguel. Diddy helped executive produce with Big Boi.
The biggest highlight of 2013 came when Janelle received Billboard’s Rising Star Award during the 2013 Billboard Women in Music event in December. Accepting the award, the singer spoke about her grandmother, who worked as a sharecropper, and her mom, who worked as a custodian. “It’s because of their perseverance and sacrifice that I am standing here today,” Janelle told the audience. “We don’t have to all take the same coordinates to get to the same destination.”
Aside from her North American headlining tour, Janelle’s high-profile performances included the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the BET Awards 2013, the Essence Festival, the Life Is Beautiful Festival, and the iTunes Festival.
–John Legend was madly in love all year long. The crooner unleashed his fourth studio album, Love in the Future, which landed at #4 on the Billboard 200, marking his sixth consecutive top-10 album. His disc, which included production from Kanye West and a guest verse from Rick Ross, sold more than 68,000 copies. Perhaps John owes the album’s success to his promotional skit for Funny or Die, in which he repeatedly undresses for the camera and does everything — from exercising to cooking — in the nude.
Aside from performing alongside Tamar Braxton for his Made to Love tour, John also had a lot to celebrate in his personal life. He married his longtime girlfriend, Chrissy Tiegen, in Lake Como, Italy in September. The couple showed off their happiness in the black-and-white visual for “All of Me,” which also saw Tiegen topless. At the end of the clip, the pair shared footage from their actual wedding.
Love in the Future seemed to serve as turning point in Legend’s career. “We made something I think really presents where I am in my life right now. Lyrically, the title kind of embraces where I’m heading in life,” Legend told Billboard. “It’s the beginning of something new, I’m optimistic about it, and you can hear that in the tone of the tracks.
Legend will close out an impressive 2013 with a New Year’s Eve performance in Las Vegas.
–K. Michelle kept it real on her hit VH1 reality show, Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta, and on social media, but it was her music that seemed to resonate most with fans. The singer’s debut album, Rebellious Soul, entered the Billboard 200 album chart at number two, with 72,000 units sold in its opening week. The project also claimed the top spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Top R&B Albums charts, earning K. Michelle the highest debut on the Billboard 200 for a female R&B singer’s first album since Marsha Ambrosius‘ Late Nights & Early Mornings also entered at number two in March 2011.
Michelle also embarked on her first headlining tour with supporting act Sevyn Streeter, and received the Mayor’s Ambassador Award at City Hall in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.
2014 will see K. Michelle appearing in her solo VH1 reality show through Mona Scott-Young‘s Monami Entertainment, which produces Love & Hip-Hop.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio