While Beyoncé, Eminem, and Iggy Azalea lead the pack of 2014 MTV Video Music Awards nominations, a very curious story is developing in their wake. Holding their own with these titans of the limelight are Pharrell Williams, Sia, and Charli XCX, who each scored multiple noms apiece.
Pharrell's in the running for four VMAs, including Video of the Year, Best Male, and Best Pop for "Happy" and Best Male for his feature on Ed Sheeran's "Sing". And Sia is up for three awards: Video of the Year and Best Choreography for "Chandelier" and Best Video with a Social Message for her feature on Angel Haze's "Battle Cry".
Meanwhile, Charli might take home an impressive five Moonmen in total come August 24: MTV Artist to Watch for "Boom Clap" and Video of the Year, Best Female, Best Pop, and Best Art Direction for her feature on Iggy Azalea's "Fancy".
Even if you've been ride-or-die for Pharrell since he laid his young fingers on SWV's "Right Here (Human Nature Remix)" in 1993 or wept along to Sia's "Breathe Me" when it blessed the "Six Feet Under" series finale in 2005, you've got to admit this is a really big deal. Even if you, like, hooked yourself up with a phony "family plan" back in 2013 just so that you'd have more devices on which to pre-order Charli's True Romance -- this is huge.
Why? Because until this past year, all three of these artists were perhaps best known for their songwriting, production, or otherwise collaborative work for and with other artists. And now, they've got all eyes squarely on them.
Entering his third decade in the music business, Pharrell is far from an unknown. If you somehow missed his 2006 debut album, In My Mind, there's no way you slept through his N.E.R.D. days or the hits he and partner Chad Hugo produced as The Neptunes (Among them Britney Spears' "Slave 4 U" and Nelly's "Hot In Herre".)
Yet P's never actually won a Video Music Award of his very own. He's been nominated five times in the past (once for Britney Spears' "Boys (The Co-Ed Remix)" and four times for Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" with T.I.), but always as a featured vocalist on another artist's track. Until "Happy," that is.
If you've been keeping up with the hype surrounding the release of Australian singer/songwriter Sia's sixth studio album, 1000 Forms of Fear, then you're probably at least somewhat familiar with her impressive list of songwriting credits by now. Not to beat a dead horse, but neigh -- I shall. She's worked with everyone from Rihanna ("Diamonds") to Beyoncé ("Pretty Hurts") and now, thanks to the success of "Chandelier," she's joining her clients' ranks in the spotlight.
What 21-year-old Brit Charli XCX's résumé lacks in quantity, the relative newcomer of the trio more than makes up for in chart-annihilating quality.
Remember Icona Pop's "I Love It," the Swede-pop banger that spent 29 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and was likely on either your 2012 or 2013 "SUMMER JAMZ" playlist, depending on whether you heard it before or after "Girls"? Yeah, Charli wrote that. Will "Boom Clap" or "Fancy" help her pad out that CV with a couple of Video Music Awards? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Pharrell, Sia, and Charli XCX weren't "underdogs" exactly, with the possible exception of Charli, but none of these three artists were households name before 2013. And now, each one of them has a shot at winning multiple awards come VMA night. A ridiculously big deal.