Grammy Award for Best New Artist
CountryUnited States
Presented byNational Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
First awarded1959
Currently held byDua Lipa (2019)

The Grammy Award for Best New Artist has been awarded since 1959.[1] Years reflect the year in which the Grammy Awards were handed out, for records released in the previous year. The award was not presented in 1967. The official guidelines are as follows: "For a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist." Note that this is not necessarily the first album released by an artist.

It is sometimes asserted, with varying degrees of sincerity, that winning the award is a curse, as several award winners (particularly from the late 1970s and early 1980s) were never able to duplicate the success they experienced in their debut year.[2][3] This viewpoint was expressed by former Starland Vocal Band member Taffy Danoff in a 2002 interview for VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders: "We got two of the five Grammys – one was Best New Artist. So that was basically the kiss of death and I feel sorry for everyone who's gotten it since."[4]

The category is also notable for being the only one of its kind in which a Grammy Award was vacated. This occurred in 1990 after it was revealed winners Milli Vanilli did not contribute their own vocals on their debut album. The award was revoked, but was not handed out to another artist.

Of the 54 awards presented in the category since its inception, the honor has been presented to 26 solo female artists, 18 duos or groups, and 11 solo male artists. Between 1997 and 2003, all the winners were solo female artists. Also, from 1993 to 2005, no winner was a solo male artist. In 2006, John Legend broke this trend, which started with Marc Cohn in 1992. Only four artists have won both Best New Artist and Album of the Year in the same year: Bob Newhart in 1961, Christopher Cross in 1981, Lauryn Hill in 1999, and Norah Jones in 2003. Only two artists have lost Best New Artist yet won Album of the Year in the same year: Vaughn Meader in 1963 and Alanis Morissette in 1996.

Of all the winners, only one (Esperanza Spalding) has been a jazz artist[5] and only three have been country artists. In 1997, LeAnn Rimes became the first country artist to win the award.[6][7] She was followed by Carrie Underwood in 2007[7][8] and Zac Brown Band in 2010.[9] Additionally, 2017 marked the first time that two country artists were nominated in this category in the same year, in which Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini were both nominated.[10]

1984 marked the first time that all of the nominees were from outside the United States (Winner Culture Club, Eurythmics, and Musical Youth were from England, Big Country was from Scotland, and Men Without Hats were from Canada).[11]


Members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences nominate their choices for best new artist. A list of the top twenty artists is given to the Nominations Review Committee, a specially selected group of anonymous members, who then select the top five artists to gain a nomination in the category in a special ballot.[12] The rest of the members then vote a winner from the five nominees.[13] In 2018, it was announced the number of nominated artists will be increased to eight.[14]

Rules changes

Over the years, the eligibility rules for this category have changed several times. In 2010, Lady Gaga's exclusion from the Best New Artist category caused the Recording Academy to change eligibility requirements for the next ceremony. She was ineligible for the nomination because her hit "Just Dance" had been nominated in 2008. The new rule stated that an artist can be nominated as long as that artist has not previously released an entire album and has subsequently not won a Grammy.[15][16] In June 2016, the Grammy organization amended the Best New Artist rules once again, to remove the album barrier “given current trends in how new music and developing artists are released and promoted”.[17] To be eligible in the category of Best New Artist, the artist, duo, or group:

  • Must have released a minimum of five singles/tracks or one album, but no more than 30 singles/tracks or three albums.
  • May not have entered into this category more than three times, including as a performing member of an established group.
  • Must have achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and impacted the musical landscape during the eligibility period.

These new rules were put on effect starting with the 2017 Grammy season. The category was expanded to include eight nominees in 2019.[18]


Inaugural winner, Bobby Darin went on to score 22 top 40 hits in America, including five top three hits and a number one song.
Bob Newhart (seen here in 2002) won the Grammy for his work as a comedian. The same year he also won the Album of the Year award.
Peter Nero (left) was the first Jazz musician to win the award.
The Swingle Singers were the first group and Foreign act to win the Award and are still active today.
The Beatles (Members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison, clockwise from top left), would go on to become the best selling band of all time.
Bobbie Gentry became the first woman to win the award in 1968.
José Feliciano is the first Hispanic and blind artist to win the award.
Year[I] Recipient Nominees Ref
1959 Bobby Darin [19]
1961 Bob Newhart [20]
1962 Peter Nero [21]
1963 Robert Goulet [22]
1964 The Swingle Singers [23]
1965 The Beatles [24]
1966 Tom Jones [25]
1967 no award [II]
1968 Bobbie Gentry [26]
1969 José Feliciano
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's music unerringly reflected the tastes and viewpoints of the counterculture in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The Carpenters members Karen Carpenter and Richard Carpenter became the first duo to win the award in 1971.
Natalie Cole became the first African-American to win the award in 1976.
Year[I] Recipient Nominees Ref.
1970 Crosby, Stills & Nash [28]
1971 The Carpenters [29]
1972 Carly Simon [30]
1973 America [31]
1974 Bette Midler [32]
1975 Marvin Hamlisch [33]
1976 Natalie Cole [34]
1977 Starland Vocal Band [35]
1978 Debby Boone [36]
1979 A Taste of Honey
Cyndi Lauper is one of the few winners who are close to being an EGOT.
Year[I] Recipient Nominees Ref.
1980 Rickie Lee Jones [38]
1981 Christopher Cross [39]
1982 Sheena Easton [40]
1983 Men at Work [41]
1984 Culture Club [11]
1985 Cyndi Lauper [42]
1986 Sade [43]
1987 Bruce Hornsby and the Range [44]
1988 Jody Watley [45]
1989 Tracy Chapman
Mariah Carey's win in 1991 is one of her few wins at the Grammys, despite over 30 nominations.[47]
Sheryl Crow won two other awards at the same ceremony, including Record of the Year.[48]
Lauryn Hill was the first woman to win for a hip hop record.
Year[I] Recipient Nominees Ref.
1990 Milli Vanilli (rescinded) [49]
1991 Mariah Carey [50]
1992 Marc Cohn [51]
1993 Arrested Development [52]
1994 Toni Braxton [53]
1995 Sheryl Crow [54]
1996 Hootie & the Blowfish [55]
1997 LeAnn Rimes [56]
1998 Paula Cole [57]
1999 Lauryn Hill
Year[I] Image Recipient Nominees Ref.
2000 Christina Aguilera in 2016.jpg Christina Aguilera [59]
2001 Shelby Lynne talking.jpg Shelby Lynne [60]
2002 Alicia Keys, Lisboa 08 c.jpg Alicia Keys [61]
2003 Norah Jones Cannes 2.jpg Norah Jones [62]
2004 Evanescence 2003 barcelona.jpg Evanescence [63]
2005 Maroon5.jpg Maroon 5 [64]
2006 John Legend by Sachyn Mital.jpg John Legend [65]
2007 CarrieUnderwoodNov09.jpg Carrie Underwood [66]
2008 AmyWinehouseBerlin2007.jpg Amy Winehouse [67]
2009 Adele 2016.jpg Adele
Year[I] Image Recipient Nominees Ref.
2010 Zac Brown Band live.jpg Zac Brown Band [69]
2011 Esperanza spalding.jpg Esperanza Spalding [70]
2012 Bon Iver.jpg Justin Vernon, lead singer and guitarist Bon Iver [71]
2013 Fun..jpg Nate Ruess, lead singer Fun [72]
2014 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at Sasquatch 2011.jpg Macklemore & Ryan Lewis [72]
2015 Sam Smith Lollapalooza 2015 (cropped).jpg Sam Smith [73]
2016 Meghan Trainor 2015 (cropped).jpg Meghan Trainor [72]
2017 Chance The Rapper 2013.jpg Chance the Rapper [74]
2018 Alessia Cara at WFUV.jpg Alessia Cara [75]
2019 Dua Lipa-0829.jpg Dua Lipa [76]

^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Grammy Awards held that year.
^[II] Award for Best New Artist was not presented during the 9th Grammy Awards.[77][78]
^[III] Milli Vanilli were originally presented with the award, but were later stripped of it after it was discovered that they did not perform their own vocals on their debut album. The award was revoked, but was not handed out to another artist, therefore rendering the 1990 recipient vacant.

See also

Original: Original: