Here we are, the final award in the big 4 set to be given out on Sunday. Best New Artist has become a great indicator of future commercial success, winners like Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse and even The Beatles leaving the show with the award. Following the major controversy caused last year when the artist everyone thought would definitely win the prize (Lady GaGa) was ineligible due to a prior nomination for Just Dance, the rulebook has been rewritten this year. Now those artists who didn’t win for any nominations prior to the release of their first album are still able to score a nomination here, good news for Drake who was nominated twice last year. I’ll run through each of the nominees and see who I predict, and who I want to walk away with the prize come Sunday night.
As I’ve taken each nomination list in Alphabetical order, I have to open with Mr Beiber himself. Though some may feel sick at the thought of comparing the virtues of him and some of the more ‘sophisticated’ nominees, few can deny the hysteria that the Canadian boy has caused. In little over a year, he’s gone from YouTube star to selling millions of records, selling out venues that age old rockers find hard to fill and releasing a movie about it all. Yes his ‘bromance’ with Usher is pretty ridiculous and that hair is just too perfect to be real, but based on sheer commercial success in the last year Beiber would deserve the prize, even if at least 3 of the 4 other nominees deserve it 100 times more than he does.
The second Canadian on the list, Drake has been the closest thing to a new Kanye West the hip-hop world has seen since he scored a nomination for this very award. With some of the most iconic guest verses of the year, and one of the best debut records the genre has seen in a long time, the future is looking very bright for Drake. He’s scored 4 nominations at this year’s Grammys, so he’s obviously popular with voters, which could work in his favour when people are considering for New Artist. His commercial and critical praise aside though, I think the mainstream votes will go towards Beiber instead. Drake would make a worthy winner of the prize though.
Florence and the Machine
Female British Artists have been very successful in the recent Grammy awards, Amy Winehouse and Adele scoring the prize in 2008 and 2009 respectively. It would be smart to count Florence among those artists too, she’s both original and extremely talented which I’m sure plenty of voters will pick her for. That said, both Amy and Adele were also up for the main prizes, both scoring nominations in the Song of the Year category (Rehab winning it) in their respective years. With Best New Artist being Florence’s only nomination her success here isn’t guaranteed. As the nominees go, I think she deserves it the most, the mass appeal of Dog Days and her album Lungs as a whole making her a worthy winner.
Mumford and Sons
The second British act on this list and a surprise when I first saw the nominees. Mumford and Sons have had huge success over here in the UK, but they haven’t sold huge figures over in the US just yet. There’s no denying the quality of the music though, and the bluegrass twang could persuade US voters to go with the group, who have been accepted into the festival scene with open arms. As stated in my Brits article, they look like the sure winners of Album of the Year, so a win here could compliment it extremely well. I’d say Florence would be more likely to score the prize for us Brits, but I wouldn’t rule Mumford and Sons out of the race.
The yearly ‘other’ option for voters, Esperanza Spalding is a Jazz artist who has recieved huge critical acclaim for her Double Bass playing and her albums. The Grammys always try and show they look outside of the mainstream in categorys such as this, but rarely end up giving the award to them. I’d have said she had a chance given her obvious talent had the other nominees not been so diverse this year, but as it stands, she will just have to be happy with a nomination.
looking back on this year’s nominees I remember the one thing I cared about when reading the list for the first time; I had to make sure Susan Boyle’s name wasn’t here. I’m happy with beiber getting a nod for his commercial success but the thought of SuBo being up for a grammy like this (She is going against Beiber and GaGa in Pop Vocal Album) made me feel quite sick. Luckily for us, she’s not here and while I would love to see Florence give one of her awestruck acceptance speeches, I think we’ll have to listen to a lot of screaming and some cringeworthy lines from Justin Beiber when he accepts the award.