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Grammy Award for Best New Artist

Grammy Award for Best New Artist
A gold gramophone trophy with a plaque set on a table
Olivia Rodrigo is the latest winner.
CountryUnited States
Presented byNational Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
First awarded1959
Currently held byOlivia Rodrigo (2022)
Websitegrammy.com

The Grammy Award for Best New Artist has been awarded since 1959. Years reflect the year in which the Grammy Awards were handed out, for records released in the previous year. The award was not presented in 1967. The official guidelines are as follows: "For a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist." Note that this is not necessarily the first album released by an artist; for example, Shelby Lynne won the award in 2001 after having already released six albums over 13 years.

The Best New Artist award has a reputation for being given to artists whose music industry success ends up being short-lived; it is sometimes asserted, with varying degrees of sincerity, that the award itself brings a curse. This viewpoint was expressed by former Starland Vocal Band member Taffy Danoff in a 2002 interview for VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders: "We got two of the five Grammys – one was Best New Artist. So that was basically the kiss of death and I feel sorry for everyone who's gotten it since."

The category is also notable for being the only category in which a Grammy Award was vacated; this occurred in 1990 after it was revealed that winners Milli Vanilli did not contribute their own vocals on their album, Girl You Know It's True. The award was not then given to another artist.

Further information

Of the 54 acts who have won the award since its inception, 26 are solo female artists, 18 are duos or groups, and 12 are solo male artists. Of the solo male artists, half were given the award in its first decade; since 1970, only six solo male artists have won the award, the most recent being Chance the Rapper in 2017 (although 2015 winner Sam Smith later came to identify as non-binary). From 1997 to 2003, and again from 2018 to 2022, all the winners were solo female artists. Only five artists have won both Best New Artist and Album of the Year in the same year: Bob Newhart in 1961, Christopher Cross in 1981, Lauryn Hill in 1999, Norah Jones in 2003, and Billie Eilish in 2020. Of these, Cross, Jones, and Eilish had songs winning Record of the Year and Song of the Year for the same year, with Cross as the sole songwriter, Eilish as co-writer, and Jones lacking songwriting credit, which therefore made her miss out on completing the single year big four Grammy achievement, a feat that only Cross and Eilish attained; while Adele was the only artist to win all General field Grammys from separate occasions. Only two artists have lost Best New Artist yet won Album of the Year in the same year: Vaughn Meader in 1963 and Alanis Morissette in 1996.

Of all the winners, only three have been country artists. In 1997, LeAnn Rimes became the first country artist and (at age 14) the youngest artist to win the award. She was followed by Carrie Underwood in 2007 and Zac Brown Band in 2010. Additionally, 2017 marked the first time that two country artists were nominated in this category in the same year, in which Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini were both nominated. In 2018, Alessia Cara became the first Canadian artist to ever win the award, and the only woman to win a major category that year. In 2020, Rosalía became the first all Spanish-language artist to be nominated. 2021 marked the first time that multiple female rappers were nominated in the same year, when Chika, Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion were all nominated, with the latter winning the award.

For the award's first several years of existence, comedians and comic acts were regularly nominated, and one, Bob Newhart, won the award. However, this ended abruptly after 1963, and since then, only one comedian has been nominated for the award: Robin Williams in 1980. (That same year, the semi-comic act The Blues Brothers was also nominated.)

David Crosby and Carl Palmer hold the distinction of being the only artists to be nominated twice for this award. Palmer was nominated both times as a member of a supergroup: Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Asia, while Crosby was nominated as a member of The Byrds and won as a member of the supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash.

1984 marked the first time that all of the nominees were from outside the United States (winner Culture Club, Eurythmics, Musical Youth, and Big Country were from the United Kingdom, and Men Without Hats were from Canada).

Eight artists who have been nominated for Best New Artist and have been later awarded with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award: The Beatles (1965, 2014), Chicago (1970, 2020), Cream (1969, 2006), Jefferson Airplane (1968, 2016), Antônio Carlos Jobim (1965, 2012), Led Zeppelin, (1970, 2005), Leontyne Price (1961, 1989), and John Prine (1972, 2020).

Process

Members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences nominate their choices for the best new artist. A list of the top twenty artists is given to the Nominations Review Committee, a specially selected group of anonymous members, who initially selected the top five artists to gain a nomination in the category in a special ballot; the number of nominated artists was increased to eight in 2018. The rest of the members then vote on a winner from the final nominees.

Rules changes

Over the years, the eligibility rules for this category have changed several times. In 2010, Lady Gaga's exclusion from the Best New Artist category caused the Recording Academy to change eligibility requirements for the next ceremony. She was ineligible for the nomination because her hit "Just Dance" had been nominated in 2008. The new rule stated that an artist may be nominated as long as that artist has not previously released an entire album and has subsequently not won a Grammy. In June 2016, the Grammy organization amended the Best New Artist rules once again, to remove the album barrier “given current trends in how new music and developing artists are released and promoted”. To be eligible in the category of Best New Artist, the artist, duo, or group:

  • Must have released a minimum of five singles/tracks or one album (until 2020 there was a maximum of 30 singles/tracks or three albums, but this maximum limit was removed for the 2021 awards season)
  • May not have entered into this category more than three times, including as a performing member of an established group.
  • Must have achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and impacted the musical landscape during the eligibility period.

These new rules were put in effect with the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. The category was then expanded to include eight nominees in 2019. Starting in 2021, screening committees were charged with determining whether the artist had attained a breakthrough or prominence prior to the eligibility year. Such a determination would result in disqualification.

Recipients

1960s

Inaugural winner, Bobby Darin went on to score 22 top 40 hits in America, including five top three hits and a number one song.
Bob Newhart won the Grammy for his work as a comedian. The same year he also won the Album of the Year award. He is the only non-musician to win this award.
Peter Nero (left) was the first jazz musician to win the award.
The Swingle Singers were the first group and Foreign act to win the Award and are still active today.
The Beatles (Members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison, clockwise from top left), would go on to become the best selling band of all time.
Bobbie Gentry became the first woman to win the award in 1968.
José Feliciano is the first Hispanic and blind artist to win the award.
Year[I] Recipient Nominees Ref
1960 Bobby Darin
1961 Bob Newhart
1962 Peter Nero
1963 Robert Goulet
1964 The Swingle Singers
1965 The Beatles
1966 Tom Jones
1967 No award [II]
1968 Bobbie Gentry
1969 José Feliciano

1970s

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's music unerringly reflected the tastes and viewpoints of the counterculture in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The Carpenters members Karen Carpenter and Richard Carpenter became the first duo to win the award in 1971.
Natalie Cole became the first African-American to win the award in 1976.
Year[I] Recipient Nominees Ref.
1970 Crosby, Stills & Nash
1971 The Carpenters
1972 Carly Simon
1973 America
1974 Bette Midler
1975 Marvin Hamlisch
1976 Natalie Cole
1977 Starland Vocal Band
1978 Debby Boone
1979 A Taste of Honey

1980s

Christopher Cross is the first "Best New Artist" winner to win this award as well as Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year all in one night.
Cyndi Lauper is one of the few winners close to achieving EGOT status.
Year[I] Recipient Nominees Ref.
1980 Rickie Lee Jones
1981 Christopher Cross
1982 Sheena Easton
1983 Men at Work
1984 Culture Club
1985 Cyndi Lauper
1986 Sade
1987 Bruce Hornsby & The Range
1988 Jody Watley
1989 Tracy Chapman

1990s

Mariah Carey's 1991 win is one of her few wins at the Grammys, despite over 30 nominations.
Sheryl Crow won two other awards at the same ceremony, including Record of the Year.
At the age of 14, LeAnn Rimes is the youngest artist to win the award.
Lauryn Hill was the first woman to win for a hip hop record.
Year[I] Image Recipient Nominees Ref.
1990 Milli Vanilli and C. Michael Greene.jpg Milli Vanilli none[III]
1991 Mariah Carey 1990.jpg Mariah Carey
1992 Marc Cohn in Saratoga.jpg Marc Cohn
1993 Arrested Development @ Supreme Court Gardens (24 1 2009) (3295913335).jpg Arrested Development
1994 Diane Warren Tribute Toni Braxton 1.jpg Toni Braxton
1995 SherylCrowCrossroads2007.jpg Sheryl Crow
1996 Hootie and the Blowfish 1998.jpg Hootie & the Blowfish
1997 Lee Ann Rimes 1999.jpg LeAnn Rimes
1998 Paula Cole @ The Triple Door (8728542794).jpg Paula Cole
1999 Lauryn Hill Kongsberg Jazzfestival 2019 (221758).jpg Lauryn Hill

2000s

Year[I] Image Recipient Nominees Ref.
2000 Christina Aguilera Sanremo.jpg Christina Aguilera
2001 Shelby Lynne talking.jpg Shelby Lynne
2002 Alicia Keys, Lisboa 08 c.jpg Alicia Keys
2003 Norah Jones Cannes 2.jpg Norah Jones
2004 Evanescence 2003 barcelona.jpg Evanescence
2005 Maroon5.jpg Maroon 5
2006 John Legend by Sachyn Mital.jpg John Legend
2007 CarrieUnderwoodNov09.jpg Carrie Underwood
2008 AmyWinehouseBerlin2007.jpg Amy Winehouse
2009 Adele 'Adele Live 2016' - Nashville DSC04653 (30373895726).jpg Adele

2010s

Year[I] Image Recipient Nominees Ref.
2010 Zac Brown Band 161020-A-HD608-080 (30797232664).jpg Zac Brown Band
2011 Esperanza Spalding, 2009.jpg Esperanza Spalding
2012 Bon Iver@Stockholm.jpg Bon Iver
2013 Fun. band.jpg Fun
2014 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at Sasquatch 2011.jpg Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
2015 Sam Smith Lollapalooza 2015-9 (cropped).jpg Sam Smith
2016 Meghan Trainor 2015 (cropped).jpg Meghan Trainor
2017 Chance the Rapper 2018 February.png Chance the Rapper
2018 Alessia Cara at WFUV.jpg Alessia Cara
2019 Dua Lipa-0829.jpg Dua Lipa

2020s

Year[I] Image Recipient Nominees Ref.
2020 The Hi Hat - Billie Eilish 08 10 2017 -8 (36529007774).jpg Billie Eilish
2021 Megan Thee Stallion BBWM Awards 2019.jpg Megan Thee Stallion
2022 OR Sour Tour 4.jpg Olivia Rodrigo

Notes

^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Grammy Awards held that year.
^[II] The Grammy Award for Best New Artist wasn't presented during the 9th Grammy Awards.
^[III] Milli Vanilli were originally presented with the award on February 21, 1990, but were later stripped of it after admitting that they weren't the original singers on their album. The category was left vacant for the year.

See also

This page was last updated at 2022-08-31 19:28 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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