20 Biggest Breakouts of 2015 - Rolling Stone
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20 Biggest Breakouts of 2015

Halsey, Kygo and more of the year’s new stars

The Weeknd

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In 2015, Alessia Cara and Shawn Mendes went from social media celebs to traditional stars, Fetty Wap scored three Billboard Top 10 singles and Chris Stapleton had a surprise smash based on one night of TV. Here's the year in moving up. 

Justin Tranter

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Justin Tranter

The Semi-Precious Weapons singer and Lady Gaga pal has gone from sleazy NYC glam rock to sleek, bubbly teen-pop hitmaker, notching songwriting credits on Selena Gomez's "Good for You," Justin Bieber's "Sorry," Hailee Steinfeld's "Love Myself" and Gwen Stefani's "Used to Love You," to name a few of his many contributions to 2015's pop charts. Up next: He's working with frequent writing partner Julia Michaels on Britney Spears' next LP.

Twenty One Pilots

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 11: Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun from Twenty One Pilots perform at Le Trabendo on November 11, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns)

Melina Mara/The Washington Post

Twenty One Pilots

After years of slowly building an enthusiastic teen fanbase on the onetime emo label Fueled by Ramen, this Columbus, Ohio band topped the Billboard album charts with their fourth album, Blurryface. The songs are blunt and catchy, with plenty of atmospheric synths, but the real selling point is Tyler Joseph's vocals — conversational, rap-inflected monologues that nod at anxiety without wallowing in it. "Stressed Out" is a startling anthem for anyone who wants to retreat from adulthood: "Out of student loans and tree-house homes, we all would take the latter." Kid's got a point.

Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Lyor Cohen (L) and Kevin Liles attend Out of Print Tribeca Film Festival Premiere And After Party on April 25, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for 2013 Tribeca Film Festival)

Ben Gabbe/Getty

300 Entertainment

In the Eighties and Nineties, Lyor Cohen played a crucial role in transforming hip-hop from an underground phenomenon to a major commercial force — he's the guy who landed Run-D.M.C's Adidas endorsement. With his latest venture, 300 Entertainment, formed with two other former Warner Bros' execs, Todd Moscowitz and Kevin Liles, alongside Roger Gold, proved he's still one of the industry's most important businesspeople. 300 first established its reputation as the home of excitingly ragged-voiced yet commercial rap by signing brilliant up-and-comers Migos and Young Thug, then proved it could sell albums when it landed out-of-nowhere sensation Fetty Wap.

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