Late to the party: Were these 4 artists really new when they earned Grammy nominations for Best New Artist?

The Grammy for Best New Artist is often criticized. Some think the award is a curse, and oftentimes goes to artists who don’t end up being relevant for long. Another common criticism is that it’s often late to the party on certain acts, nominating them after their peak or a year or two after they were actually new to the music scene. Still, in the grand scheme of things, many of the nominations or wins artists get, even if they’re late, are deserved. Here are four artists who got their BNA spotlight a bit later than they should’ve.

If you check predictions for the 2022 Grammy nominations, you’ll see that Måneskin were pretty much locked in for a Best New Artist nomination. This made total sense: the band had a banner year with their single “Beggin’” and their international success from Eurovision. Despite this, Måneskin ended up getting goose-egged, made worse by the fact that the academy had invited them to announce some of the nominations. So come 2023 it was weird that the Grammys did end up nominating them a year late, especially because they didn’t really have any more hits in the States than they did when they were snubbed. Still, it was nice to see the rock band get a nomination, especially given how relevant they are internationally.

Alessia Cara
She was expected to get a Best New Artist nomination at the 2017 Grammys. The singer was doing great commercially and was campaigning hard, even being featured in Billboard’s Grammy Preview Issue alongside eventual nominees Chance the Rapper and Maren Morris. So it was a bit weird when Cara wasn’t nominated, instead being replaced by Kelsea Ballerini and Anderson .Paak. Cara’s team was definitely expecting the nomination too, as the music video for her song “Seventeen,” which dropped a couple of days after the Grammy nominations, featured her holding a Grammy as a way of manifestation.

But time worked in Cara’s favor. At the 2017 Grammys, everyone knew Chance the Rapper had Best New Artist in the bag. However, the next year Cara’s success grew with hits like “1-800-273-8255,” “Stay,” and “Scars to Your Beautiful.” That time around Cara not only was predicted for a nomination once again, but actually was seen as a probable winner. And lo and behold, Cara took home the Grammy, beating out artists like SZA and Khalid. The win was controversial, thoughl, so much so that Cara made an Instagram post defending herself.

Maroon 5
Maroon 5 have been hitmakers since 2002. But weirdly enough, despite notching their first top-20 hit that year, the band didn’t win the Grammy for Best New Artist until 2006. Some might argue that “Harder to Breathe,” their first top-20 single, only peaked at number-18 and thus wasn’t their breakthrough moment. But “This Love,” the band’s first major smash, was released in January 2004, which meant they could’ve gotten some love at the 2005 Grammys. Even what many consider their signature hit, “She Will Be Loved,” was a single by mid-2004. It seems like the Grammys needed to feel confident that Maroon 5 were the real deal and not some flash in the pan, as happened with many BNA winners before. It paid off, as the band won the award against heavy competition like Kanye West and became consistent nominees in the pop field.

Electronic artist Kaytranada is one of the leading talents in his genre, having worked as a producer for many artists like Kali Uchis, Anderson .Paak, and Alicia Keys. He released his first album, “99.9%,” in 2016 and was met with critical acclaim, but zero Grammy nominations. It was his 2019 album, “Bubba,” that actually put him on the Grammy radar, earning him nominations for Best New Artist, Best Dance Recording, and Best Dance Album. Many observed that, while the nomination was deserved, Kaytranda had long been in the industry by the time he got his BNA nomination at the 2021 ceremony, almost half a decade after his debut album came out. Kaytranada lost Best New Artist, but swept the dance field, winning both of his nominations.

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