Find Out Who's Nominated For Best New Artist | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Today is the day the Recording Academy reveals the 62nd GRAMMY Awards nominees, including this year's list of contenders for Best New Artist. This year's nominees are (cue drumroll): Black Pumas, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Maggie Rogers, Rosalia, Tank And The Bangas and Yola. With so much rising talent in contention this year, let's learn a bit more about each nominee's breakout year in music.
Austin neo-soul duo Black Pumas, a.k.a. GRAMMY-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Adrian Quesada and singer/songwriter Eric Burton, originally came together in 2018, releasing their debut album last June via ATO Records.
At just 17 years old, L.A. pop wunderkind Billie Eilish is changing the popular music game with her fresh, genre-bending sounds (and edgy fashion). Born and raised in Highland Park, Los Angeles, Eilish started gaining a following in 2016 when she released her single "Ocean Eyes" via SoundCloud. She's also largely known for her haunting 2019 single “Bad Guy," which hit number one on the Billboard Charts in August, breaking Lil Nas X’s 19-week run of "Old Town Road."
Her debut album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? debuted atop the Billboard 200 and contained four U.S. Billboard Hot 100 top 40 singles: "When the Party's Over," "Bury a Friend," "Wish You Were Gay" and "Bad Guy."
"All I can say about that is I just don't even get it," Eilish told the Recording Academy of her rising success last year at Lollapalooza. It's just crazy to me because I grew up as a fan and I still am a fan, you know. I'm a fan of so much music and art and artists and stuff, and I grew up with their sort of mindset, and now, I'm seeing it from the other side, but also, being on the other side, it's weird. It's just something that doesn't happen, so when it happens, it's like, 'What the f***?'"
Lil Nas X
20-year-old country-rapper Lil Nas X took off this year with his viral hit "Old Town Road," which was initially released independently in December of last year. After gaining popularity, the single was re-released by Columbia Records in March of this year. The Billy Ray Cyrus-assisted remix followed a month later, and both songs are featured on Lil Nas X's debut EP, 7.
"I was doing Facebook comedy videos, then I moved over to Instagram, and then I hopped on Twitter ... where I really was a master. That was the first place where I could go viral," he told Rolling Stone last April.
Back in August, the Recording Academy discussed Lil Nas X's success, helped in large part by the popular music app TikTok: Back in February, the then-unknown rapper, two months after self-releasing the original version of the country-trap song, uploaded it to TikTok along with a "challenge": to change into Western garb before the drop. The song went viral on the app as users like Michael Pelchat, a.k.a. NiceMichael, added their own versions. A month later, Lil Nas X signed to Colombia Records and in April they released the record-breaking remix.
By now, you've definetly heard Lizzo's "Tempo" featuring Missy Elliott. Or maybe it's "Truth Hurts" or "Juice" thats been blasting near you. Lizzo's feel-good, relatable pop songs are everywhere, and keeping them a secret during the making of her latest album, Cuz I Love You, wasn't easy for the Detroit native.
"When you write these songs you get really excited about them and mind you, I had a song like 'Juice' just under my armpit in the darkness and nobody knew what it sounded like," the singer and flute player recently told the Recording Academy. "Or keeping it a secret that I had Missy Elliott on a song, at that point you just want to explode and when the album was out, I was so excited to just share the songs with people and the world."
But it's not just Lizzo's songs that are addictive for their messages of self-love and positivity, it's who she is, too. The singer gets into how being naked on her album cover may have been the ultimate act of vulnerability, but it was also a moment of strength. "Vulnerability and strength is what this album is all about," she said.
Maggie Rogers has a career arc like no other, and she's just getting started.
Ever since her NYU Masterclass video, which showed Pharrell tearing up at the sound of what would become her first single, "Alaska," went viral, Rogers has experienced unprecedented a level of overnight success experienced by very few new artists. In the time since, she released her debut album Heard It In A Past Life this past spring, and is currently on an expansive fall tour. She's also doing a killer job of staying grounded.
"Writing music has always been how I've processed," the singer recently told the Recording Academy. "So much of this record that I made, Heard It In A Past Life, that is actively me processing this giant change that happened in my life. I write a song, and then I play it until I feel better, and then my life shifts, and then I write another song, and that's how albums have always happened for me. The thing that is most important to me is that I am doing this thing I love. It gives me this giant emotional release, and hopefully in some world it can do that for others. If that's all happening, then everything is good."
Spanish singer/songriter Rosalía, already a Latin GRAMMY darling, has been using reggaeton, R&B and hip-hop inspired beats to bring Spain's flamenco influence to the world, and has already won over numerous artists from the Spanish- and English-language worlds. To date, she's collabed with everyon from J Balvin to Pharrell Williams, James Blake and Billie Eilish. She's also racked up five Latin GRAMMYs, becoming the first female recipient of Album Of The Year since Shakira won at the Latin GRAMMYs in 2006. The moment came as a surprise to the 26-year-old: "I'm serious, I'm in shock," she said after accepting the award. "This is the last thing I expected."
Tank And The Bangas
New Orleans-based group Tank And The Bangas have a sound influenced by their hometown, blending hip-hop, jazz, funk, soul and even a little bit rock, but it's truly all their own. On "Smoke.Netflix.Chill," from their sophomore effort Green Balloon, they brought their playful vibes led by Tarriona "Tank" Ball's upbeat rap and spoken word verses over a laid-back, floating beat.
The spirit and soul of Yola's breakout Dan Auerbach-produced album Walk Through Fire was nothing if not well-earned. Even the title came from overcoming hardship, as her kitchen literally caught fire before the project, a symbol of the adversity the Bristol-born singer/songwriter faced—and overcame to create her own masterpiece.
"I think how people are connecting with [Walk Through Fire]," the Americana performer told the Recording Academy earlier this year. "One of my specialist subjects is that connecting to what I'm saying. And I hope by doing that then that helps people connect as well with what I mean. And that gives us a relationship across airwaves, across oceans, across an arena."