Music’s got a new king in Chris Brown–at least according to Billboard, which named the 18-year-old singer the top artist of 2008.

“It’s bigger than what I can ever imagine. It’s unexpected totally, so it’s a surprise,” Brown, who also nabbed the honor in 2006, said.

With hits like “With You,” “Forever” and “No Air” (with Jordin Sparks), Brown heated up the charts consistently through 2008.

“I’ve had a good year but I still feel like a little insecure in those parts. I’m like, `There’s little ol’ me getting an award’ — that’s incredible,” he said.

Lil Wayne was runner-up, girlfriend Rihanna was No. 3, and Alicia Keys and Taylor Swift rounded out the top five.

Read More

Leona Lewis has been named Billboard’s top new artist of the year, determined by performance on Billboard’s albums and singles charts.

The X-Factor winner and Simon Cowell protégé’s latest single, a cover of Snow Patrol’s “Run” (see music video below), has gone straight to the top of the singles chart, becoming the fastest-selling download in British chart history, with 133,000 copies.

It was only in March that Lewis became the first British female to top the U.S. charts in over 20 years with her hit single “Bleeding Love.”

Last week, the Brit beauty nabbed three Grammy nominations, including Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Bleeding Love,” while her debut album Spirit received a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album.

With her powerful vocals, Lewis is often compared to contemporary greats like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

“It’s quite scary,” she recently said of the comparisons. “It’s a massive compliment. Personally I’ve got a lot of hard work to do.”

Read More