2018 is one of the few year’s in recent memory when Best New Artist has been a pretty obvious collection of acts. Everyone here has garnered a nomination in at least one other category this year and with so much crossover between acts it’s a very difficult one to predict.
Lil Uzi Vert
Starting with the artist at the very top of that list, who was the hot favourite to win this award last year pre-nominations, Alessia Cara instead finds herself here over 2 years after her debut album was released. The huge success of featured hits Stay and 1-800-273-8255 with Zedd and Logic respectively has kept her career moving upwards enough to warrant inclusion here. The fact that her own hits Here and Scars To Your Beautiful feel like they were released years and years ago in comparison to everyone else here could go against her in the end though.
The other act featured on that Song of the Year contender from Logic is Khalid, who I tipped to win this award back in October. Weeks away from the show itself things are still looking very good for him. The fact that he’s nominated for 5 awards this year means that Grammy voters are already head over heels for his fresh take on young RnB, the likes of Location, Young Dumb and Broke and just about everything else on nominated album American Teen showcasing his incredible talent. His appearance on dance tracks from the likes of Marshmallow and Calvin Harris means the push in this category won’t just be from RnB voters. Khalid might still be looking like the favourite here.
Of the acts above, just two of them only have one other nomination outside of the Best New Artist, Julia Michaels in the Song of the Year category for Issues and Lil Uzi Vert in Best Rap Performance for his feature on the #1 Migos hit Bad and Boujee. In fact I’d go as far to say that Lil Uzi Vert looks to be the least likely to get this award on the night without any nomination for a song/album as a lead artist. Much like I mentioned with Alessia above, the focus is on a featured appearance here, despite having one the biggest solo Rap hits of the year with XO Tour Llif3. As Rap’s only representative here he could pick up some votes, but could really see these voters edging towards the two RnB acts instead.
Julia Michaels falls into a similar situation with just one other nomination, albeit sitting alongside Khalid and Alessia Cara in Song of the Year. Issues is Grammy bait if I’ve ever heard it and I was honestly surprised that it didn’t also earn a spot in Pop Solo Performance for one of the year’s most understated by memorable performances. This one big hit aside though, alongside a slew of writing credits on previous Album of the Year nominated albums like Purpose from Justin Bieber, Julia Michaels is yet to truly break through as an artist herself. She’s the only act here yet to release a full debut album either, the 7 track EP Nervous System that houses Issues missing out on a nomination this year, so perhaps it’s just a little too early for her to score a win in this category. I’d say Song of the Year is more likely for her on the night.
That leaves just one act left, another who like Khalid is up for 5 awards this year. SZA might just have pipped him to the post as a potential winner too, mainly down to the huge critical smash album Ctrl. SZA has created a lane for herself in the industry more than anyone else in the list this year, while it wasn’t my personal favourite debut album in the mix above, the way it moulds her as an artist is undisputed. With 3 different songs from the album finding nominations this year too, it’s obvious that voters are really backing her this year. It could be a hell of a night for Kendrick Lamar, but my money is on his latest protegee, the brilliantly collected and assured SZA who looks set to win one of the night’s mos competitive awards.
Most likely to win:
3) Alessia Cara
4) Julia Michaels
5) Lil Uzi Vert
2) Alessia Cara
4) Lil Uzi Vert
5) Julia Michaels