Best New Artist is a tricky award to decide this year, 2014 has seen plenty of relatively new acts make their mark worldwide, but few of them are eligible here. There have been some huge one-off hits as usual, but none have really converted into much for the acts themselves, unlike the huge year-long success of acts like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and fun. that have won this award.
Alternatives: Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Tove Lo
Let’s get the obvious pair out of the way first. I’d say this year’s Best New Artist award is a fight between Sam Smith and Iggy Azalea, both riding high on huge success across the world and both more than eligible for the award. Sam Smith may have made an appearance on a Grammy nominated album last year, Disclosure’s debut Settle, but this won’t stop him from making an appearance here this year. Iggy Azalea has been hanging around for a couple of years too, but will be pushing for a win here more than any other category. Between the two though I think Sam has this one in the bag, Iggy may have had more hits, but her longevity beyond 2014 is yet to be seen.
Outside of that pair it’s much more difficult to find potential nominees. I’ve opted for one Country act (there is always a country nomination here) and a Hot 100 topping acts that may have a lot more to prove if they are to pick this one up and a British group. Starting with Cole Swindell he seems like the most obvious choice to represent America’s favourite genre, 2 successful hits and an album that followed suit, making a name in such a competitive genre is difficult and Swindell seems to have done that in 2014. Some are predicting Brantley Gilbert could make an appearance here instead, but he’s very nearly a veteran at this point so I doubt he would be pushed for Best New Artist.
Magic! are probably the least likely of my 5 picks as they have the most left to prove. Their worldwide smash Rude may have put them at the top of the charts, but when compared to acts like fun., Macklemore & Ryan Lewis or Carly Rae Jepsen we’ve seen very little of the band outside of this song. They’ve had an under-performing album by those standards and have yet to follow up Rude with another hit. That said, Rude was big enough to warrant a nomination here, especially as part of me thinks it could miss out in the Song and Record categories.
The final act that I reckon will make the cut is Bastille, a group that will be disappointed that they missed the eligibility period in the last two categories. Pompeii was a massive hit in the UK and it really crossed over to the US in the last 12 months. It was technically released well before October of 2013 though so it looks unlikely that it will appear in the Song/Record categories, so Best New Artist is the best choice for the British band.
Outside picks include Meghan Trainor who might sneak in given how big All About That Bass has been, though it’s difficult to tell if this is a one off or not quite yet. Tove Lo is a popular choice too, Habits (Stay High) is currently scaling the Hot 100 and her album is performing well. The Swedish singer might just sneak into this category. The last act I’ve mentioned may seem strange, given that My Everything is her second album, but technically Ariana Grande is eligible for Best New Artist this coming year. Acts like Bon Iver and fun. have won this award on their second album, so could Ariana be the obvious choice mostl of us forgot?
We have just one more award to discuss before the Genre specific awards and it’s the biggest of them all; Album Of The Year.