The Recording Academy has teamed with Pepsi to provide an intimate look at the nominees for Best New Artist for the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards. In the second video installment of the Best New Artist Series, the nominated artists share more reactions to their nominations as well as their thoughts on their fellow Best New Artist nominees.
Athens, Ala.-based Alabama Shakes comprise lead vocalist/guitarist Brittany Howard, bassist Zac Cockrell, guitarist Heath Fogg, and drummer Steve Johnson. In 2012 the group released Boys & Girls, which yielded the Hot Modern Rock Track hit "Hold On." In addition to their Best New Artist nomination, Alabama Shakes received a nod for Best Rock Performance for "Hold On."
"[Alabama Shakes have] this sound that you search for when you're searching for something just timeless, just wicked cool," says Hunter Hayes. "Those guitar tones, [Brittany Howard's] voice, the groove, and the parts that they put into it [are] so vintage. And not vintage in an old-school way but vintage in a timeless way."
Fun. — guitarist Jack Antonoff, keyboardist Andrew Dost and lead vocalist Nate Ruess — released their sophomore album, Some Nights, in 2012. The album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. Their breakthrough hit, "We Are Young," which features Janelle Monáe, topped the Billboard Hot 100 and was the No. 3 best-selling song of 2012. Fun. received six GRAMMY nominations, tying them for the most nominations in the 55th GRAMMY field.
"I had heard [Fun.'s] record over the summer [and] a couple songs really jumped out at me as being really creative," says the Lumineers' Wesley Schultz. "[When] you hear their songwriting, you can tell that they've been doing it for a really long time."
Louisiana-born Hunter Hayes released his self-titled debut album in October 2011. Hayes co-wrote every song, shared producer duties and played some 30 instruments on the album. Aside from his Best New Artist nomination, Hayes also received a nomination for Best Country Album and Best Country Solo Performance for "Wanted."
"The head of [Warner Music Nashville] couldn't stop talking about this kid Hunter Hayes and how this kid plays every instrument," says Fun.'s Ruess. "Just the passion that you heard behind how much he believed in Hunter Hayes was incredible and I thought that's exactly what you want out of a record label, someone who believes in you as an artist."
The Lumineers comprise childhood friends Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites and classically trained cellist Neyla Pekarek. In 2012 the trio released their self-titled debut album, which spawned the Top 5 hit "Ho Hey." Aside from their Best New Artist nomination, the Lumineers received a nomination for Best Americana Album.
"We hear ['Ho Hey'] on the radio all the time," says Fun.'s Antonoff. "It's a great, great chorus: 'I belong with you/You belong with me/[You're] my sweetheart.' That's why people can relate. It's very simple but it's very, very poignant," adds Ruess.
New Orleans native Frank Ocean released his debut studio album, Channel Orange, in 2012. The album reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and spawned the Record Of The Year-nominated "Thinkin Bout You." Ocean received six 55th GRAMMY nominations, tying him for the most nominations in the 55th GRAMMY field.
"We were on tour when I first heard Frank Ocean," says Alabama Shakes' Howard. "[We] plugged [Channel Orange] into the speakers on the tour bus and just sat there and we totally got zoned out. I'm totally infatuated with it."
Who will take home the award for Best New Artist? The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held Sunday, Feb. 10 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and will be broadcast live in high-definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). For updates and breaking news, visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.
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