The Grammy Awards may not be until next February, but the eligibility period is nearing a close. As always, Best New Artist is one of the most coveted and hotly contended races. To be eligible, artists must have released an album between Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014, but not have released more than three albums in their career. Additionally, this should be the year where they broke through in a significant way.
Some years, it’s easy to come up with way more than five strong candidates, but not this year. There have been a lot of new artists who have made an impression, but not that many that have been more than one-hit wonders so far… Nominations will be announced in December.
Our predictions for leading contenders for Best New Artist:
Sam Smith: Word of a new British crooner started to spread several months ago, then we heard him on Disclosure’s “Latch.” Then he appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and it was clear that there was a new star in the making via songs like “Stay With Me” and “I’m Not The Only One.” He’s the closest there is to a shoo-in this year for a best new artist nomination.
Iggy Azalea: Between “Fancy,” “Black Widow,” and her feature on Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” she’s on pop radio pretty much 24/7. She’s a very likely nominee, but she’s not a sure thing given that some folks still have a little trouble wrapping their head around an Australian rapper who sounds like she’s from Atlanta.
Five Seconds of Summer: Their mentors One Direction never received a best new artist nomination (in one of the more shocking omissions in recent years), so it’s possible that these lads won’t either since the Grammys run hot and cold on recognizing boy bands.
Ariana Grande: She would seem to be a sure bet, but you could argue that she should have been nominated when her first album, “Yours Truly,” hit No. 1 last year, as that would mark her breakthrough.
Disclosure: UK electronic duo, the Lawrence Brothers, were nominated for best dance/electronica album for the 2014 Grammy Awards. However, a rule change a few years ago means acts that have been nominated, but have not won a Grammy, can still be eligible for best new artist. This is definitely the year the group broke out into the mainstream, so their nomination is very possible.
MAGIC!: So far, they’re a one trick pony—although “Rude” was a pretty big trick. They will be aided by the fact that lead singer, Nasri, has written hits for other artists, so that gives him more credibility.
Charli XCX: After her success as featured artist on Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” the British singer is breaking out on her own with “Boom Clap,” her first top 10 hit as a solo artist.
YG: “My Krazy Life,” YG’s debut solo album, was very well received by critics and fans and spawned a number of hits, including “Who You Love,” featuring Drake.
Fifth Harmony: Reality show contestants, if they aren’t named Kelly or Carrie or Fantasia, seldom get nominated for Grammys, but in a relatively light year, this girl group from The X Factor may stand a chance to round out the field.
Schoolboy Q: Quincey Matthew Hanley, aka Schoolboy Q, took his Interscope debut to the top in February. The question here will be if his previous mix tapes are counted as previous releases. If so, he may not be eligible.
Dan + Shay
Nico & Vinz
A Great Big World
Who deserves a nomination?