With inventive re-imaginings of the reggae-splashed hook-heavy soul popularized by acts like Sean Paul
and Sean Kingston
in the early half of the 21st century's first decade, Virgin Islands-born singer Iyaz swiftly built up a hearty cult following on MySpace.
, in the process of forming his own Time Is Money
label, stumbled upon Iyaz's site and snapped up the 21-year-old singer as the maiden signee of his new imprint. Iyaz's debut single, "Replay," an iPod name-checking musical stew that added splashes of classical and electronica to his usual island pop, soared to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 2009. The song, written by Iyaz and Jason Derulo
, topped the U.K., Australian, and Swiss pop charts and eventually went platinum -- several times over -- in the U.S. Follow-up single "Solo" wasn't nearly as popular -- it reached number three in the U.K. and didn't fare nearly as well elsewhere -- but it set up the June 2010 release of Replay. After extensive touring and a change of labels, Iyaz worked on his second album, titled Aurora. ~ Jason Thurston, Rovi