None of these artists came out of the blue and had amazing careers with the first song they released, and most were well known in their home countries before achieving worldwide success, but they all became famous this year when someone heard a sound they liked, allowing each of these artists to showcase their other music and use this sudden fame to advance their careers.
Alex Clare released a really great album in 2011 yet no one seemed to realize (at least in the US) how great his music was until an Internet Explorer ad used "Too Close" in one of their commercials and now this song has been overplayed on radio stations since April; it's a great song though so it's being overplayed is not a bad thing.
PSY was popular in South Korea and had released five albums that all did great in his home country, but he did not receive national attention until he released his sixth album and his music video for "Gangnam Style"; with this video came international fame and his video became the first ever to break the 1 billion view mark on YouTube. You know you are insanely famous when your video has about 499 million more views than Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance".
Marina and The Diamonds had a fan base in Ireland and England already, but she did not become popular in the US until she released her album, Electra Heart, in April. Had I not been in California while "Primadonna" was being played every ten minutes on KREV, I still may not know about the band because this song has yet to make it down here. Her voice is amazing though and, had she been presented with anything less than worldwide fame after releasing "Primadonna" and "How To Be A Heartbreaker", I would have been surprised and disappointed, because she's too great to miss out on.
Walk off the Earth is amazing and they've been around for years, releasing great original songs among their covers of popular songs, yet they did not become famous until this year when they uploaded their cover of "Somebody That I Used To Know" (which featured all five band members playing the same guitar. Regardless of how they came to fame, their original songs are amazing and they deserve all the praise they are given.
fun. is one of those bands who has always had a devoted fan base but did not come to fame until they released a single that featured another up and coming artist and which was covered by those kids who dance around and sing on Fox (Glee). Their song may not have become popular in the best way (Lea Michele can never capture the emotion in Ruess' voice and these 'artists' just are not good, but I might be biased), but it makes no difference; the only thing that matters is that the band is crazy famous, Some Nights music has been featured in commercials, movies, and has infiltrated our radio stations, and the band has become so popular that the music from their earlier album is slowly becoming popular as well. It's great when a band or artist who has been working for a long time finally gets famous; Nate Ruess is amazing and he deserves all the recognition he can get from fun.'s success.
Carly Rae Jepsen came in third on Canadian Idol and, though it took four or five years, her success on this show eventually led to her worldwide success. "Call Me Maybe" may be really, amazingly annoying now, but the first twenty times you heard it, you know you were addicted. It was on everyone's summer playlist and is so sickeningly catchy that it seems like it will forever be played on some radio station; I mean, good for her, but the only songs I've heard (on heavy radio rotation) are "Good Time" and the aforementioned single.
Phillip Phillips may not be as famous as he was hoping for following an American Idol win, but he has been able to shake off that stigma that comes with winning that competition (the idea that you're only famous because you can mimic someone elses sound). His new album, The World From The Side Of The Moon, is amazing and every song is better than last; he may have come onto the scene quickly and in a tired and (slightly less respected) way, but that does not mean that he is any less great.
There are still plenty of people/bands who need to be 'discovered,' worldwide, before 2013 is over though; Alex Goot, Luke Conard, Hunter Hunted, Momma Holler, Alex Day, New Medicine, and Foxy Shazam all need to become deliriously famous (because they're great), so force their music onto anyone who will listen.