The band catapulted to stardom by posting their unique renditions of popular hip-hop and pop songs, such as Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now", Lil Wayne's "6 Foot 7 Foot" and Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" on YouTube, gaining the attention of entertainers such as Ellen DeGeneres, Ryan Seacrest, Beyoncé Knowles, Timbaland, Ashton Kutcher, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Jermaine Dupri, RedOne, Questlove, Game and Kanye West. After offers from Jermaine Dupri, Atlantic Records and various others, the duo signed a deal with Sony and Epic Records, under new management of the executive chairman L.A. Reid. “We kind of matched energies. He felt music the same way,” Nick Noonan of the band says. In the summer of 2011, they were called upon by Jay-Z to appear in an online viral campaign for his clothing line Rocawear, singing a medley of their original song "Carbon Copy" and Jay-Z's Encore, as well as perform on the BET Awards Pre-Show.
In late June, the duo entered the studio to record their debut studio album and have collaborated with producers Warryn Campbell, Kane Beatz, Jon Jon Traxx, The Runners, Kwamé, D'Mile, Oak and Andrew "Pop" Wansel, Harvey Mason, Jr. of The Underdogs, Tricky Stewart, Rodney "Don Vito" Richard, The Exclusives, J. R. Rotem, Sham 'Sak Pase' Joseph, Christian Rich, Hit-Boy, The Fliptones, Kenneth "Soundz" Coby, The Composer, Stargate, with writing assistance from Claude Kelly, Elite, Redd Stylez, Kevin McCall, Audio Push, Corey Houston, Bonnie McKee, Kelly Sheehan, Heather Bright, Henry "Cirkut" Walter and Diane Warren. Both Heidemann and Noonan worked to maintain original songs and ideas, while working toward mainstream and pop music. They cited L.A. Reid's understanding of their musical background to be helpful in this process.
During an interview prior to the release of their debut album, Karmin revealed to Z100 (A New York City Radio Station) that there is the possibility of a deluxe album release in the near future with the inclusion of "Crash Your Party" (their first single) as one of the additional tracks.
Through Twitter, the duo revealed that their debut studio album would officially be called HELLO. “We thought it was a perfect title, because it’s our introduction album. When you hear the songs in a row, you’re going to hear our story,”. The artwork decipts two band members on a billboard named Hello. Amy Heidemann explains to BeatWeek.
So far the album has poor reviews from traditional media outlets. Rolling Stone, and The New York Times weighed in with highly negative reviews.
Gerrick D. Kennedy of The LA Times wrote "The disc brims with the swagged-out pop/hip-hop that made them YouTube darlings, as collaborators Stargate, Benny Blanco, Tricky Stewart and Dr. Luke deliver slick, radio-ready productions."
Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone gave the album one and a half stars out of five and criticized Heidemann’s rapping, describing it as "horrendous" and "daffiness". He claimed that it "spoil[s] the broth every time." Despite the criticism, the album was praised for its "catchiness", referring to the song "Brokenhearted."
The album debuted at #18 on the Billboard 200 and #33 on the Canadian Albums Chart.
Karmin and Epic released "Brokenhearted" as the first single from Hello, which impacted radio February 7, 2012. It subsequently became their first song to enter Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at #16. It also reached the #1 spot on Hot Dance Club Play, #12 Pop Digital Songs, and #10 Mainstream Top 40. It was certified as a platinum digital single (1,000,000 unit sales) by the RIAA as announced by Karmin and their management on Twitter and Facebook in early August 2012.
"Hello" impacted radio stations on July 31, 2012 as the EP's second single, which debuted #89 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking their second single to chart in the US. So far, the single is currently peaking at #62 in the US. It is also charting in New Zealand, Australia and in many other countries.
(*) Denotes co-producerSample credits
"Too Many Fish" interpolates "Too Many Fish in the Sea" as performed by The Marvelettes, and written by Norman Whitfield and Eddie Holland.
"Hello" interpolates "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana.