Grammys Best New Artist predictions: Maneskin’s global appeal could help them win wide-open race

Olivia Rodrigo, Megan Thee Stallion, Billie Eilish, and Dua Lipa all have one thing in common: they’re winners of the Grammy for Best New Artist. In most of those cases their wins were fairly predictable, feeling like the culmination of a massive year rather than the start of a new era for the artists. This is true for many — dare I say, most — Best New Artist winners of the past decade or so. Chance the Rapper, Sam Smith, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis all coasted easily to their wins, and even the less obvious picks like Bon Iver and Alessia Cara were still predicted by many Grammy watchers. Perhaps the last truly shocking Best New Artist was Esperanza Spalding, who took the award in 2011. And now, 12 years later, we might be in for a similar event.

Choosing a potential winner for 2023’s Best New Artist is quite tough because there isn’t a clear standout. Brazilian superstar Anitta is leading the odds right now, mostly due to the success she had in 2022, scoring a massive global hit with her single “Envolver.” The success of the song has taken Anitta everywhere from the VMAs to the Latin Grammys, and she has sure been able to capitalize on it to become better known stateside. However, perhaps her biggest hurdle is that most voters likely do not speak Spanish or Portuguese, the languages she records much of her music in, and a non-English language act has never won this award. Though in the year of our lord Bad Bunny, 2023 is the perfect time to make that happen.

Fellow Latin superstar Omar Apollo is also nominated, but his reach could be wider since most of his material is in English. Apollo did have a massive streaming hit with “Evergreen,” but the lack of a big follow-up could hurt him. That said, if you’ve been keeping track, he’s likely the nominee who has been campaigning the most, and voters could go for him simply because of visibility.

Many others might argue that Latto is the frontrunner. Her single “Big Energy” was a top-three hit and topped both the pop and urban airplay charts. With the lack of a purely pop artist in this year’s lineup, Latto could monopolize the pop vote, and that combined with the rap vote could be enough to net a win. Latto would be the third female rapper to win, after Lauryn Hill and Megan Thee Stallion.

Another hitmaker nominated is Muni Long, who had a breakout in early 2022 with the single “Hrs and Hrs.” Long has been working as a songwriter behind the scenes for a decade or so, and as such might have preexisting support from her Recording Academy peers. The issue she and Latto might face though is that, putting it bluntly, both are one-hit wonders as of right now. That’s not necessarily a roadblock they can’t get past, but even the alleged one-hit wonders that have won here are more like one-era wonders, scoring multiple hits from one album, like Macklemore and Alessia Cara.

Italian rock band Maneskin could face a similar roadblock. But thankfully for them, they can only be considered one-hit wonders in the United States; they have multiple songs with over 300 millions streams globally on Spotify. They are easily the most prominent act here worldwide, and they can appeal to pop, rock, and alternative voters; they can easily win.

However, those latter two voting blocs might be tempted to choose buzzy indie band Wet Leg, whose self-titled album is up for four awards across the alternative, engineered, and remix fields. Wet Leg’s main advantage here is their acclaim, as they are easily the most lauded by critics. And their sales aren’t bad; their album topped the UK charts and peaked at number-14 in the US. That said, the only indie act to win in the past was Bon Iver, who was much more established in the industry, having worked with artists like Kanye West. Still, Wet Leg’s acclaim could carry them to a win here.

Jazz-fusion artists Domi and JD Beck might split votes with jazzist Samara Joy, although Joy’s more traditionalist appeal could potentially take her over the edge. Then there’s Molly Tuttle, who could be a surprise pick if support from country voters is there. Tuttle is a bluegrass artist, so the American roots crowd will likely show support. However, American roots alone may not be enough, so she’d need country voters to actually look her up and know that she’s their go-to. Finally, there’s Tobe Nwigwe, a rapper who might not get the necessary votes due to Latto competing for the same listeners. I would say Nwigwe might hurt Latto’s chance more than having a chance to win himself.

So … who’s winning? To be honest, most artists here stand a chance. You might want to play it safe and go with either Maneskin or Latto; they’ve both had big worldwide smashes that could put them in the winner’s circle. If you’re looking for a dark horse, perhaps it’s indie darlings Wet Leg. Or the recent rise of American roots voters could carry Molly Tuttle to a victory. Let the best kinda-new artist win.

Will win: Måneskin
Likeliest upset: Latto
Dark horse: Wet Leg or Molly Tuttle … toss a coin.

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