Gracie Abrams, Ice Spice, Coco Jones, Jelly Roll, Noah Kahan, Peso Pluma, the War and Treaty and Lainey Wilson are among 405 artists who are vying for best new artist nominations at the 66th annual Grammy Awards.
While the aforementioned artists appear to be front-runners to fill the eight available slots, or at least among the front-runners, Grammy voters have a way of surprising us. Last year, not that many thought that Samara Joy would be nominated. She was not only nominated – she won. And this year’s eligibility list contains the names of 397 other artists, many highly credible, who are also hoping to make the final list.
As expected, Zach Bryan, who received a Grammy nomination (best country solo performance for “Something in the Orange”) last year was ruled ineligible. So was boygenius, which includes Phoebe Bridgers, who has received four previous nominations. A previous nomination is an automatic disqualifier in this category (assuming the artist had released enough tracks to be eligible in a previous year).
But for the most part, the Academy tries to err on the side of inclusiveness in this category. In the past, Whitney Houston, Richard Marx, Lady Gaga and many more potential best new artist nominees and even winners were ruled ineligible based on what were sometimes nitpicky technicalities. The Academy now looks for ways to include artists, not rule them out.
Indeed, several of the artists who were ruled eligible this year have been around awhile. Jelly Roll has been putting out albums, without much notice until recently, since 2011.
Other best new artist contenders who aren’t exactly new include Ava Max, whose hits, dating back nearly five years, include “Sweet but Psycho” and “Kings and Queens”; Cody Johnson, who was nominated for a CMA award for new artist of the year in both 2019 and 2022; and Coi Leray, who was nominated for a BET Award for best new artist in 2021.
Several more of this year’s Grammy best new artist hopefuls have been nominated for new artist of the year at the CMA Awards, including Wilson, who won in that category in 2022, and Jelly Roll, who is the front-runner to win there on Nov. 8. Others include HARDY, Parker McCollum, Megan Moroney and Hailey Whitters.
Several other Grammy contenders have been nominated for best new artist at the BET Awards. Jones won that award this year. FLO, Ice Spice and Lola Brooke were also nominated.
Peso Pluma is vying to become the third Latin artist in the past five years to receive a best new artist nomination. He would follow Rosalía and Anitta. Pluma wasn’t eligible for best new artist at the Latin Grammys and was passed over for nominations in the categories in which he was eligible. A nomination here would be a make-good for an artist who was widely seen as snubbed.
Aespa, Fifty Fifty, Seventeen and Stray Kids are among the K-pop acts that are hoping to make history as the first K-pop act to land a best new artist nomination.
Here are more noteworthy artists, not already named, who are fighting for one of the eight nomination slots: Madison Beer, Sabrina Carpenter, Gus Dapperton, Ezra Collective, Fred Again…, Fridayy, JVKE, David Kushner, Laufey, The Linda Lindas, Lizzy McAlpine, Tate McRae, Mitski, NLE Choppa, Joy Oladokun, Keke Palmer, Pink Pantheress, Raye, Rema, Stephen Sanchez, Lauren Spencer Smith, Toosii, Yves Tumor, Morgan Wade and Bailey Zimmerman.
As noted, 405 artists are entered, so this is just a sampling. We could be in store for a surprise.
The number of best new artist nominees at the Grammys jumped from five to eight in 2018, and from eight to 10 in 2021. This year it will (mercifully) drop back down to a more reasonable eight.
The winners in the past five years, since the number of number of nominees expanded, were Dua Lipa (2018), Billie Eilish (2019), Megan Thee Stallion (2020), Olivia Rodrigo (2021) and Joy (2022). As you can see, Grammy voters tend to favor female artists in this category. The 2017 winner (the last year there were just five nominees), was also a woman (Alessia Cara).
Last year’s nine other nominees — besides Joy – were: Anitta, Omar Apollo, DOMI & JD Beck, Muni Long, Latto, Maneskin, Tobe Nwigwe, Molly Tuttle and Wet Leg.
Best new artist is the only category in what has long been called the Big Four (along with album, record and song of the year) to see an increase in the number of entries from last year. There are 405 entries this year, up from 368 last year. The number of contenders in this category peaked in 2013 at 670.
First-round voting for the 66th annual Grammy Awards opened on Wednesday (Oct. 11) and closes Oct. 20. Nominees will be announced on Nov. 10 (five days earlier than last year). The final-round voting window extends from Dec. 14 through Jan. 4, 2023 (same as last year). Winners will be announced on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, at Crypto.com Arena (formerly known as Staples Center) in Los Angeles.