Sneak Peek: Meet PEOPLE's Ones to Watch 2014

Get a first look at some of the 40 up-and-coming stars we're celebrating this year – before they hit it really big

01 of 12

MEGHAN TRAINOR, 20

MEGHAN TRAINOR, 20
Spencer Heyfron

Her body anthem "All About That Bass" ruled the summer, but that doesn't mean the singer was sure she wanted to put her insecurities on display. "It was terrifying! But all the amazing support helps my confidence every day," she tells PEOPLE.

02 of 12

BILLY EICHNER, 36

BILLY EICHNER, 36
Rob Kim/Getty

After a huge moment at this year's Emmy Awards, the Billy on the Street comedian became the toast of the town. "Jessica Lange came up to me holding her Emmy," he recalls. "That's as surreal as it gets."

03 of 12

RIXTON

RIXTON
Jeff Lipsky

The British YouTube sensations turned chart toppers aren't a "boy band" per se, but that hasn't prevented pandemonium. "In New York fans broke into our hotel and police had to shut down the street," says Lewi Morgan, 26 (in suspenders, with, from left, Charley Bagnall, 28, Jake Roche, 22, and Danny Wilkin, 24). "It was pretty crazy!"

04 of 12

KI HONG LEE, 28

KI HONG LEE, 28
Michael Buckner/Getty

After starring in The Maze Runner, adapted from the hit YA novel, the actor splurged on … PJs? "In Korean culture," he explains, "with the first paycheck that you get, you buy your parents pajamas."

05 of 12

ALFRED ENOCH, 25

ALFRED ENOCH
Craig Sjodin/ABC

"I ride the bus a lot, and I'm a little concerned I'll have to ride one with an ad for the show on it," former Harry Potter actor Enoch jokes of losing his anonymity after the success of his new ABC drama How to Get Away with Murder.

06 of 12

BRETT ELDREDGE, 28

BRETT ELDREDGE, 28
Jeff Lipsky

The country singer wasn't always the lively performer he is nowadays. "When I was on stage, I used to get so freaked out that I just wouldn't even look up," he says. "Now I'm jumping off the stage into the crowd, and the ladies are sticking dollar bills in my pocket."

07 of 12

BEN FELDMAN, 34

BEN FELDMAN, 34
Robert Trachtenberg

"I was a loud kid," the actor, who just came off Mad Men, says of playing the enthusiastic one on A to Z. "In summer camp a counselor was like, 'You won't shut up. You should be in my play.'"

08 of 12

CRISTIN MILIOTI, 29

CRISTIN MILIOTI, 29
Robert Trachtenberg

The How I Met Your Mother mother, who shares the screen with Feldman in A to Z, has her eye on her character's wardrobe. "I'm dressed like a lady!" she jokes. "She's way more grown-up than I am."

09 of 12

ISSA RAE, 29

ISSA RAE, 29
Issa Rae Productions

Hot off the success of her YouTube series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Rae will now star in her own HBO show. The prospect of altering the TV landscape "excites me," she says. "I just have to keep moving and going with that momentum."

10 of 12

TYLER RITTER, 29

TYLER RITTER, 29
Christopher Polk/CBS

"I grew up watching my dad in this format," says The McCarthys sitcom star, referring to his late father, John Ritter. "It has been a really nice thing to feel that connection with him. I feel his pride."

11 of 12

CHARLIE & MAX CARVER, 26

CHARLIE & MAX CARVER, 26
Jim Spellman/WireImage

"People ask if we get sick of each other," says Charlie of working with his twin on Desperate Housewives, Teen Wolf and now The Leftovers. "But it has only brought us closer together." Adds Max: "We've learned to be confident on our own, so we aren't afraid of working with each other."

12 of 12

JENNY SLATE, 32

JENNY SLATE, 32
Christopher Polk/Contour

Turned off by auditions, she turned to comedy. "I was afraid of the cattle call, so I forced myself into other ways I could be noticed," says SNL alum Slate, who created the viral video Marcel the Shell with Shoes On before starring in Obvious Child. "I'm chatty, so I thought, I'll do stand-up."
To see the rest of the Ones to Watch, pick up the 40th Anniversary issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

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