The inaugural edition of The YouTube Music Awards is happening on November 3rd. Broadcast live online, the show will be a celebration of the artists and videos that were the most watched, shared, and loved on YouTube over the past year, and will feature performances from some of music's biggest artists including Eminem, Lady Gaga, and Arcade Fire. In a series of posts sponsored by YouTube, we'll be breaking down the nominees in the biggest categories over the next couple of weeks to help you decide who is most deserving of your votes before the show.
Earlier this week we broke down the nominees for the YouTube Phenomenon award, and now it's time to look at the 5 acts who are up for the YouTube Breakthrough title. It was a big year for little-known performers who got their big break through their YouTube videos, which is why the awards show is handing out the YouTube Breakthrough trophy. We're checking out the nominees below, and you can vote for your pick by sharing the nomination video that accompanies your video of choice on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. (Click here for more info on how to vote.)
American hip-hop prodigy Kendrick Lamar was taken under the wing of rap mogul Dr. Dre. It wasn't until his near-universally praised debut studio album good kid, m.A.A.d city was released that he became a household name though. He was crowned The Hottest MC In The Game by MTV earlier this year, and his recent sweep at the BET Hip Hop Awards proves that this rapper is a force to be reckoned with.
Why They Broke Out This Year: Kendrick's flow goes from sweet, to sour, to downright crazy in mere seconds, showcased in his big singles "Swimming Pools (Drank)" and "B***h Don't Kill My Vibe".
Why They Deserve To Win: MTV said it best - he's the hottest MC in the game right now, and isn't shy about telling us that.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
The pair behind monster hits like "Thrift Shop", "Can't Hold Us", and "Same Love" owe much of their success to YouTube and their show-stopping music videos. Take a minute to check out the sheer number of parody and tribute videos on YouTube for evidence of their influence.
Why They Broke Out This Year: The mass appeal of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' music really grabbed a hold of people, whether they were talking about light-hearted issues like shopping thrift or serious issues like gay rights. The songs gave Macklemore widespread popularity well outside of the hip-hop genre.
Why They Deserve To Win: Check the YouTube hits: collectively, through their big singles, the rapper and producer have HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of views. Not bad for an act that started to gain popularity just over a year ago!
British singer/songwriter Passenger's ballad "Let Her Go" was released in the summer of 2012, and by the beginning of 2013, the tender song about appreciating what you have broke a bunch of records all over Europe, topping charts everywhere.
Why They Broke Out This Year: "Let Her Go" is truly a beautiful song that struck a chord with people all around the world. The lyrics "You only need the light when it's burning low / Only miss the sun when it starts to snow / Only know you love her when you let her go" are simple but powerful.
Why They Deserve To Win: Passenger is staying humble after his huge success with his hit song, which makes him all the more deserving!
UK producer Naughty Boy enlisted the help of vocalist Sam Smith for his song "La La La", released in May of this year, and became the fastest-selling single of 2013 in the United Kingdom. The powerful video portrays the escape of a young boy from his presumably abusive family, and it really resonated with viewers.
Why They Broke Out This Year: Not only is the song "La La La" catchy, it's got a great meaning: don't listen to the negativity and keep following your dreams.
Why They Deserve To Win: Naughty Boy dropped his debut album Hotel Cabana in August, making his journey to stardom one of the quickest in popular music!
Electronic foursome Rudimental have been releasing hit after hit ever since their song "Feel The Love" rose to the top of the UK singles chart, and with songs like "Not Giving In" featuring Alex Clare and "Waiting All Night" featuring Elle Eyre, they're on the way to becoming a household name (if they're not already in Britain!).
Why They Broke Out This Year: It was the single "Waiting All Night" that really gave the band international attention, with the music video on YouTube depicting a BMX star who overcame a traumatic injury.
Why They Deserve To Win: The music video for "Waiting All Night" was great inspiration for people to keep on believing in themselves. We're all for videos with positive messages!