Billboard recently released its lists of the top artists, songs, and albums of the year based on record sales, online streams, radio airplay and touring revenue, and their list of the top new artists of the year is led by Lil Uzi Vert in first place and Khalid in second place. Both are also Grammy nominees for Best New Artist, but neither is the frontrunner to win that race. Are we underestimating them?
As of this writing Khalid is ranked fourth in our predictions with 6/1 odds and Lil Uzi Vert ranks fifth with 15/2 odds, with none of our Experts, Editors, or Top Users forecasting their victory. But success sells at the Grammys, especially in the Best New Artist race where voters may wish to single out an artist likely to stand the test of time — someone more like The Beatles, less like Milli Vanilli — and success in the multiple metrics Billboard measures may be as good a barometer as any for future musical impact.
But the last time Billboard’s top new artist of the year won their corresponding Grammy Award was in 2013, when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis claimed both titles, so it hasn’t been a reliable barometer for which way the recording academy will go. But we might not want to count them out as they’re the only Grammy nominees for Best New Artist who made Billboard’s list. (Though current Grammy frontrunner Alessia Cara ranked sixth on Billboard’s 2016 year-end ranking.)
Lil Uzi Vert only has one other nomination this year: Best Rap Performance as a featured artist on Migos‘s “Bad and Boujee.” His bigger problem may be that it’s hard for rap artists to win in the general field, though not impossible. Three rap artists have won Best New Artist in the past, including the aforementioned Macklemore and last year’s champ Chance the Rapper.
Of the two, Khalid may be the stronger bet since he has five nominations overall, including Song of the Year for co-writing “1-800-273-8255,” Best R&B Song for “Location,” and Best Urban Contemporary Album for “American Teen.” He also just won the fan-voted MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist this past summer.
But the Grammys love solo female artists in this race, which may be a big part of the reason Cara and SZA are the top contenders in our predictions. Cara has four total nominations this year and gets leading 8/11 odds, followed by five-time nominee SZA with 10/3 odds. Do you agree with those odds, or will Lil Uzi Vert or Khalid translate their chart success into Grammy success?
Be sure to make your Grammy predictions so that Hollywood record executives and top name stars can see how their songs and albums are faring in our Grammy odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on January 28. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Grammys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.