Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are the frontrunners to win Best New Artist at this year’s Grammys. Among their competition is another rap artist, Kendrick Lamar. While each act reaped seven Grammy nominations, the duo has the edge here because their social message hit song “Same Love” is nominated for Song of the Year.
However, their position is eerily similar to Kanye West‘s debut at the Grammys in 2004 when he had a total of 10 nominations including Album of Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist. While he walked away with three awards, none were in the General Field; he lost Best New Artist to Maroon 5. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis also contend for the same three General Field awards.
Rap artists have not fared well in this category. Since 1989, 14 have been nominated for Best New Artist but only one — Arrested Development in 1992 — has won. While many cite Lauryn Hill‘s victory in 1998, three of her five Grammys were in the R&B Field.
Ed Sheeran and James Blake are both singer/songwriters from the UK in their twenties. Oddly, both are not that new; each of their debut albums was released in 2011. Sheeran is more well-known commerically. Last year, he lost Song of the Year for his single “The A Team.” This is the only Grammy nomination for each of them this year. Since 1989, only three artists have won with no other Grammy nominations: Milli Vanilli (1989), Shelby Lynne (2000) and Esperanza Spalding (2010).
Kacey Musgraves is the lone female nominee in this category and has a total of four Grammy nominations. She has already won the Country Music Assn. Award for New Artist of the Year for 2013 and ranked on most critics “Best of 2013” album lists. Her lyrical content is revolutionary for country radio. In her song “Follow Your Arrow” she says: “So make lots of noise, Kiss lots of boys, Or kiss lots of girls, if that’s what you’re into, When the straight and narrow, Gets a little too straight … Roll up a joint, I would, And follow your arrow, Wherever it points.”
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