While the contest for the Best New Artist Grammy can often be pretty confusing, this year’s contest takes the cake. Our own senior editor Daniel Montgomery says, “It doesn’t feel like a big, grand year for the Best New Artist field in terms of their potential recognition in the general field.” And the potential for no Best New Artist nominees appearing elsewhere else in the top four Grammy categories — Album, Record and Song of the Year — makes this an especially hard year to predict.
In our recent webchat (watch above), we discussed who we thought would make it into this year’s contest. Montgomery argues that there isn’t a strong narrative that points to an obvious frontrunner. This was something that had been apparent for recent winners such as John Legend (2005), Carrie Underwood (2006), Amy Winehouse (2007), Fun. (2012) and Sam Smith (2014), all of whom had undeniably dramatic breakthroughs and were the talk of the music industry when they prevailed. Without such a dominant newcomer this year the most unexpected act could end up winning.
We both have Chance the Rapper in our number-one spot, feeling confident he’ll at least be nominated but more unsure when it comes to his winning. We also both have DJ duo The Chainsmokers in our predictions. But that’s all we agree on. Rounding out Montgomery’s predictions are country artist Maren Morris, pop band Lukas Graham and rock group The 1975. The remainder of my predictions are rapper Bryson Tiller, country singer Margo Price and pop singer Charlie Puth.
When approaching making my predictions in this category I try to think of how the category is usually made up of a different act from each genre. There’s usually a nominee that represents pop, rock, R&B/rap, country and sometimes a wildcard pick from an unexpected genre — like jazz artist Esperanza Spalding (2010) or EDM fave Skrillex (2011) in recent years.
Do you agree with my rationale? Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts as often as you like before nominations are announced on Dec. 6. Just click “Save” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate, bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Our racetrack odds change as you make your predictions, just as they do when you bet on the Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes and more. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the Grammy race in our music forum.