Joe Brooks / Chelsea Lee / Alexis Babini
Starting out as a 16-year-old guitarist recording music in his bedroom, Joe Brooks went on to become an online sensation. He received nearly 20 million plays on Myspace and spent one year as the U.K.'s No. 1 unsigned artist on the network. After selling out two U.K. tours on his own, Brooks made a video for his first single, "Superman" which has received almost 5 million plays on YouTube. Called the "next John Mayer" by Seventeen/CosmoGirl magazine and enjoying synchs on shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Brooks's star is clearly on the rise.
For a while, the only place Chelsea Lee was comfortable singing was in the shower. But at 15, the aspiring singer tried her hand at a local open mic—and her attempt was received with praise. "I'm downstairs running the club, selling beer, and she's soundchecking, and instantly I was blown away," says her manager, Daniel Brindley, who owns the suburban-D.C. music club Jammin Java. Brindley began inviting Lee to open for his acts, and in a few months she was headlining shows. Armed with an alarmingly pure voice, down-to-earth charm, and a songwriting maturity that's rare for her age, Lee appears to have the entire package.