What Qualifies A Best New Artist As "New"?

  • Ed Sheeran
    Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

With the recent launch of The Recording Academy's and Pepsi's Best New Artist program, in our latest installment of Ask The GRAMMYs we feature a question pertaining to eligibility for the Best New Artist category:

Ed Sheeran was nominated for a GRAMMY last year and this year he is nominated in the Best New Artist category? What exactly qualifies an artist as "new"? — Joanna X

Thanks for your question, Joanna X.

Our Best New Artist category probably has the most complicated set of rules of any of our categories. Essentially, a "new artist" is defined for the GRAMMY process as any performing artist or established performing group who releases, during the eligibility year, the recording that first establishes the public identity of that artist or established group as a performer. A GRAMMY nomination in a performance category in a prior year disqualifies an artist from competing in this category, unless the nomination came from a single or a guest spot on another artist's recording, and the artist hadn't yet released a full album.

In Ed Sheeran's case, he was nominated for songwriting last year, not performing, and so remained technically eligible.

Still not completely clear? We hope not, and for more information on the GRAMMY Awards process, check out our handy infographic.

And for exclusive content on Sheeran and the rest of this year's Best New Artist nominees, visit GRAMMY.com.

(Have a specific GRAMMY Awards process question? Need the 411 on The Recording Academy's advocacy-related work in Washington? Are you curious about MusiCares or the GRAMMY Foundation? Ask The GRAMMYs is your opportunity. Send your burning GRAMMY-related question via email to askthegrammys@grammy.com. And don't forget to tune in to Music's Biggest Night, the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards, on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, on CBS from 8–11:30 p.m. ET/PT.)

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