Best New Artist
Years & Years
Alternatives: Tove Lo, Tori Kelly, FKA Twigs
Kicking things off we have probably the toughest category of the year, Best New Artist. Unlike the other big 3 categories, which feature countless potential nominees, Best New Artist is usually difficult to find 5 definite picks. In absence of a Sam Smith/Macklemore & Ryan Lewis this year though, we are left with a wide open field. It’s obvious that the last 6 months haven’t changed my mind about some names on that list above, three acts being mentioned in my halftime report.
The second and fourth acts remain the hot favourites, a Country crossover sensation, and a previous Song of the Year nominee both Sam Hunt and Meghan Trainor will be eyeing up this prize over anything else. Meghan has managed to sustain the impact she made with her debut hit into a Billboard 200 topping album and a second decent sized hit with Charlie Puth in Marvin Gaye. I personally can’t see her taking the eventual trophy, a pop act really needs to own the entire year to score the nod here, which was difficult thanks to a certain ex country star stealing every last bit of attention.
I’ve stuck with my prediction for George Ezra not just because I personally would love to see him here, but he ticks a lot of the boxes that the voters would be looking for. He may not have had the same dominance over in the US as he has here in the UK, but Budapest was certainly big enough to warrant his inclusion here. Along similar lines, Hozier may not have been able to sustain the impact that his first hit, the Song of The Year nominated Take Me To Church had, but he’s definitely eligible for this award. The voters are obviously already fans, so his inclusion here wouldn’t surprise me.
Filling out the last spot of the list is trickier, as I feel that there are plenty of potentials. Tori Kelly has seen great critical success, as has FKA Twigs, but instead I’ve opted for the UK pop trio Years & Years. I’m expecting them to win big at the Brit Awards in 2016, but something tells me that they could sneak a nomination for Best New Artist this year. I think back to the time James Blake made it into this category and wondered how the voters even knew who he was, so Years & Years would make at least a bit more sense to me.
Of course that leads me back to my original predictions and the act I think has Best New Artist locked up. Sam Hunt has managed to dominate the country charts over the last 12 months, a #1 album, 3 #1 country hits, a crossover smash in Take Your Time and a support slot on Grammy Favourites Lady Antebellum’s tour, he’s had a decent 2014/2015. Country acts are known to do quite well in this category and I think the win here would push Sam Hunt way into the consciousness of the music industry outside of Country.
Of course, these predictions are bound to be widely inaccurate, even more so in that some of these acts may not have even submitted themselves for the trophies I predict them winning. I’ll be taking a look at the big four awards as well as the genre categories over the next few weeks, so here’s hoping I’m at least halfway right this year.