Best New Artist is always a controversial category at the Grammys. The category tends to have a problem choosing great nominees (and winners) that have a long shelf life in the popular consciousness. However, you’ve gotta give it to the Grammys for their savvy choices sometimes, and one of those times was with the Best New Artist class of 2020. From indie darlings to diamond-certified superstars, that lineup is exactly what a BNA lineup should be — and those artists are coming once again.
Lizzo is experiencing success right now with the irresistibly catchy “About Damn Time.” The song made the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 due to going viral on TikTok, and is a likely bet to earn Lizzo one or two nominations. In 2020 she was the top nominated artist of the year, earning eight including all of the big four categories. By the end of the season Lizzo ended up with three Grammys. This year she’s coming back with a whole new album, “Special,” and if it’s just like the last one you can expect it to be on the Grammys’ radar.
Another winner on 2020 Grammy night that’s experiencing chart success right now is Lil Nas X. Nas is clearly on voters’ mind, since he got five nominations last year, including Album, Record, and Song of the Year. This year the pop-rapper might bless us with some new music, but even if he doesn’t he might be able to submit the top-10 hit “That’s What I Want,” which peaked in popularity during this eligibility period. Billie Eilish is in a similar boat: any new single from “Happier Than Ever” would be eligible for 2023.
Indie darling Maggie Rogers is also experiencing success on alternative radio with her song “That’s Where I Am.” It’s the lead single off of Rogers’s second studio album, “Surrender,” which is due this summer. Rogers isn’t the only indie darling coming back this year though. Rosalía released her third studio album, “Motomami,” earlier this year. It’s the most acclaimed album of the year so far, according to Metacritic, and is sure to get its due in the Latin categories. Tank and the Bangas are also in the mix this year with their newest album “Red Balloon,” which might make it into the R&B categories. While there’s no confirmation on new albums from Yola or Black Pumas, the former is starring in the film “Elvis” this year, so she may be eligible for musical contributions there.
So the 2023 Grammys might ultimately prove why the 2020 Best New Artist class is one the best in recent memory. Not only are these artists probably coming back to the Grammys, but they’re responsible for some of the best music of the year. It’s really rare to find a BNA lineup where the majority of the acts are still successful in their respective genres years after their initial nominations. Good on you Grammys; I hope to see these artists dominate on nominations morning.
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