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RADIO ACTIVE — A Weekly Chart CHRonicle (March 26, 2017)

Welcome to Radio Active, a weekly report from POP! Goes The Charts that gets to the chart of the matter: all the highlights from the CHR/Top 40 chart, as published by Mediabase 24/7 and Mediabase Research. When it comes to the health of our pop airwaves, I, as your Commander-In-Chart, will provide coverage for all, including the preexisting conditions from last week’s top 50. So, if you’re in need of some medical melodies, or a ditty from the doctor, never fear; your favorite chart geek is here to prescribe some pop stats:

ED IN THE CLOUDS: Nearly approaching its record-setting spin total from two weeks back, Ed Sheeran‘s “Shape Of You” stays at #1 for the sixth week on the CHR/Top 40 chart. This achievement means that Sheeran’s now spent half of his run, 12 weeks, in the top spot. Incredible! “Shape” also tops the Hot AC chart for a fifth week, while it ranks in the top ten on the Rhythmic chart. I haven’t quite figured out what the singer/songwriter’s favorite shape actually is, but perhaps if you lend me a Shape-O rattle and a little time to figure out, I can get you an answer by next week’s post.

Sheeran re-enters at #45 on this week’s chart with “Castle On The Hill”, which was recently reissued to the format. It’s a new peak for it; you’ll recall that upon the song’s release, it briefly spent one week in the top 50 on the second chart in January. “Galway Girl” is on several stations as well, continuing to pick up airplay in major markets. Unsurprisingly, the song’s already been to #1 in Ireland.

THE LANGUAGE OF “LOVE”: The Swedish duo Axwell Λ Ingrosso sounds like they should be one part of a law firm, scoring victories in Top 40 trials. They could’ve even had their own commercial during every daytime talk show. Alas, that’s not the case, but there is a case on the docket regarding a lovable new track of theirs. “I Love You”, featuring Kid Ink, brings some order to the court of chart hits, jumping from 42-36 this week. Someone better call the pop prosecutor; there’s a writer making far too many legal puns for one chart recap. Take him away, officer…

Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso previously charted as two-thirds of the electronic group Swedish House Mafia, who hit the top 40 two times between 2011-2013 with “Save The World” (#36, 9/4/11 MB) and the smash “Don’t You Worry Child” (#2, 2/3/13 MB). If they ever got back together at some point, I’m sure the CHR panel would prove that this Swedish House is, in fact, a home. A chart is still a chart, even when there’s no song that departs.

“STILL” THE ONE: As Harry Styles preps for the release of his solo single in April, Zayn is wasting no time with his next move. His latest single is “Still Got Time”, which features PartyNextDoor, entering at #40 after just a few days of airplay. The single may appear on Zayn’s second solo album, though no details about the set have been revealed yet. With four top 40 songs outside of One Direction, he remains the most successful member to come from the group. Call me crazy, but that’s rather in-Zayn. Get it? Call me cra– oh, nevermind. I’ve had worse, people.

Zayn also remains in the runner-up spot for the fifth week in a row with “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”, a duet with Taylor Swift off the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack. Had the song made it to #1, it would have been the first male-female duet from a film to top the format since Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle‘s “A Whole New World”, from Aladdin, a three-week #1 hit in February 1993. Well, what can I say? Reaching the top is no magic carpet ride, even if it looks easy. Still, the song’s been a major hit across the globe, so it’s nothing to be sad about, kids.

JUST PUSH PLAY-N-SKILLZ: With a skillful remake of a Selena song, Texas duo Play-N-Skillz collaborates with Frankie J, Becky G and Kap G on a Spanglish mix of “Si Una Vez (If I Once)”, entering at #50 on this week’s CHR chart. This is Frankie J’s first charting single at the format since 2006, when “That Girl” (#21, 9/3/06 MB) became his last main-credited appearance. This release makes its top 50 entry just days before the 22nd anniversary of Selena’s death. The performer is best remembered in the CHR world for a pair of posthumous hits: “I Could Fall In Love” (#12, 9/8/95 R&R) and “Dreaming Of You” (#20, 12/22/95 R&R), both from an album named after the latter single.

This is not the first Latin-infused collaboration to reach the top 50 at the format. In fact, in September 2014, Enrique Iglesias‘s hit “Bailando” reached #9 on the CHR chart, which featured Sean Paul, Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona. Will this song make it just as high? We’ll see soon. ¡Buena suerte amigos!

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PROFILE: Danny Mercer Goes From “Nowhere” To The Big Leagues

The dynamic duo of the moment.

The dynamic duo of the moment.

Were you watching the television show Katie recently? You may have noticed a performance on the show by rapper Pitbull and a new singer named Danny Mercer, who performed a track together. It’s a major change in style for the rapper and it’s a major shift in lifestyle for Mercer, a recent college graduate who is now making a huge splash into the world of music. If the song’s a hit, the payoff will be huge, but it helps that Mercer has some major backing already at such a young age. He’s got the chops and the charisma and he’s ready to pop.

Mercer was born Danny Murcia in Bogotá, Colombia and moved to Weston, FL at 6 months with his family. He developed a liking for music at an early age, learning the guitar at age 7 and writing songs by age 14. He joined the class of 2014 at Columbia University in New York City, and that big city adventure led him to an internship at Atlantic Records in the spring of 2011. That role provided him with a few contacts and he sent his demo tapes out, one of which came to Pitbull‘s attention via his manager. After some initial hesitation, Mercer lent his voice to the chorus of the rapper’s song, “Outta Nowhere”, which has now become the fifth single from the rapper’s album Global Warming. It was just announced as a single last week and went to radio this week at the CHR format, picking up 21 adds in total, including commitments in major cities like New York City, Las Vegas, Sacramento and San Francisco. It’s sure to pick up more next week as programmers return from the Memorial Day weekend.

In addition to his single of his, Mercer co-penned two other tracks on Pitbull‘s album Global Warming. He also co-wrote Nicole Scherzinger‘s “Boomerang”, which went to #6 in the United Kingdom in March. Singer Frankie J‘s current top ten hit on Spanish radio, “No Te Quiero Ver Con Él”? He was also involved with that song. According to his Twitter profile, Mercer has also worked Akon, The Wanted and will.i.am, providing him a lot of exposure to a great crop of artists as a newcomer in the industry. There’s more – he’s also signed as a solo artists with Columbia Records, with an EP due late this summer. Like college, like label, I guess. He’s a busy guy, but he’s ready to take over and his perseverance and drive are definitely appreciated.

As a “hook singer” (though he’s only known for one song at this point) with a looming solo career ahead of him, there will surely be an attempt to pigeonhole him into the Bruno Mars or Mikky Ekko category, maybe even a Mike Posner type as he’s coming straight out of college into the industry. However, I’d argue that he’s even more well-rounded than even these hit singers. He can obviously play the piano and sing, but he also has jazz aspirations, having initially wanted to study jazz guitar before choosing to go to New York City. He also has a Latin appeal having written songs in Spanish, which could prove really useful down the line. Plenty of singers like Enrique Iglesias and Shakira have used the technique of recording singles in both English and Spanish versions to great success; who says Mercer can’t be next? He writes R&B music, he writes dance music… and let’s face it, the hook of “Outta Nowhere” sounds sonically like it belongs in a OneRepublic song, so he can easily transition into rock. Dare I say he’s a musical chameleon? It’s clear that the guy can work across the spectrum and get the job done while balancing all he has to do in college. Now that he’s graduated early, he can focus solely on his music without any other distractions.

It will be interesting to see what kind of trajectory happens for Mercer, but with Pitbull to help him out for the ride, the dog-eat-dog world of the biz may as well be muzzled while he’s unleashed on the charts.

Liking the sounds of Danny Mercer so far? Let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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