meta-scriptMeet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominees: Tank And The Bangas' Leader On 'Green Balloon,' Chilling With Michelle Obama & Quitting IHOP To Make Music |
Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominees: Tank And The Bangas' Leader On 'Green Balloon,' Chilling With Michelle Obama & Quitting IHOP To Make Music

Tank And The Bangas

Photo: Gus Bennett Jr


Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominees: Tank And The Bangas' Leader On 'Green Balloon,' Chilling With Michelle Obama & Quitting IHOP To Make Music

The eclectic and magnetic New Orleans genre jumpers are up for Best New Artist—find out how they go there and how, according to Tank, you can, too...

GRAMMYs/Jan 21, 2020 - 04:13 am

Since even before their 2013 debut, Think Tank, New Orleans hip-hop/soul/everything outfit Tank And The Bangas have been coloring outside the musical lines with their boundless creativity, generous groove and unique spoken-word-meets-scat soulful vocals. Led by Tank herself, the group landed in earnest in 2019 with thier major label debut, Green Balloon, with a trio of features by Robert Glasper and more than enough quirky hooks to go around.

At the top of 2020, the band finds themselves up for Best New Artist at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards, an honor they may have never expected, but one that makes sense considering the menu of genres their music offers while still tasting like a gumbo of the Big Easy's best influences.

"We don't sound like what typical New Orleans is supposed to stereotypically sound like," Tank explained. "But we feel like what New Orleans feels like, and that's just plain old good."

Having watched Tank And The Bangas grow and bloom like a supersonic fleur de lis in years past, from their nacent live performance on our Buzzin' series, to winning the NPR Tiny Desk Contest, to absolutely crushing it with their performance of "Nice Things" on "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon," being recognized as one of the year's Best New Artist resonates with Tank and her teammates as something bigger than themselves.

"People like us can win a GRAMMY, regular people, chill people that did not come from this amazing legacy of other famous people or whatever," Tank said. "It's not a gimmick, that you can do your thing, that you can make your music, and that people will, they'll get it."

We linked up with Tank over the phone to ask her more about the nomination, their first major label album, rubbing elbows with Michelle Obama, her love for "Frazier," and a few more surprises...

Congrats on your GRAMMY nomination! What was your first thought when you found out you were nominated for Best New Artist?

My first thought was, "I wonder what category it is." That was my first thought because we put ourselves in so many considerations. So I was like, "I wonder which one." And it was very early in the morning, so it was kind of unbelievable, and you don't understand the full weight of what's going on because it's so early in the morning. But as the day went on, it was just an incredible day, and I felt like the city [of New Orleans] rejoiced with us.

It's funny you say that because when I listen to Tank and the Bangas, I feel like anything is possible - rhythmically, melodically, stylistically. Where does that fearlessness and freedom come from, musically?

I think it comes from being in a group among so many different people and everybody having these different backgrounds, different experiences with different family members, and a different culture, honestly. And you come together, and nobody turns down anybody's idea… unless it's just not cool, you know? You're like, "Aw, that's not cool." But for the majority part, we just kind of create and we don't make somebody feel bad about the idea that they're bringing to the table.

That's beautiful. Can you tell me a little bit about how Green Balloon, your major label debut, came together?

It was really years in the making. I mean, when we went to go live out in London for three months, I wrote there, and I kept a journal. And so, those journal pages in between, my interludes, are true pages from my journal that I kept when I was living out there. So, that was a lot of influence right there alone.

"Happy Town" was about Amsterdam. It was about my first time in Amsterdam. Yeah, many don't know that, but that was a happy place, people riding their bikes and the swans... like, what? This is crazy out here. It's so freeing. And Robert Glasper, that was a dream come true. Joshua, who is my drummer, he always wanted to ask... He said, "Man, it would be great if we got Robert Glasper on this." And I'm like, "What are you talking about? We can't go get Robert Glasper on this song. What are you talking about?" And for us to be at an NPR party for the anniversary and we all in one room, you know? I'm in a room with Bilal, Black Thought, and Robert Glasper. And I see him, and I say, "Josh, don't forget that this is your moment. Go tell him what you always wanted." And that's how we got it.

I love that story. Anything's possible, right?

That's how it feels.

You've had so many breakthrough moments, from winning NPR's Tiny Desk Contest, to your performance on "Fallon" this summer – there are so many. Does any moment stick out to you from this year when you thought, "Wow, this is really taking off"?

Man. I had an amazing year. And I've had an amazing year [every year] ever since I began doing this music full time and living out my dream. I think, quitting IHOP, I feel like it's been pretty freaking amazing ever since then. But this year touring with that album, and the crowds knowing the music, and performing at Afropunk in Brooklyn and in Paris, and meeting Michelle Obama at the Library of Congress and her telling me what her favorite poem is on my album. You're having conversations with Jill Scott and Lalah Hathaway on a regular basis, having somebody like Robert Glasper in my phone, and having two songs come out with Norah Jones and Mickey Hart, it's been an amazing year. I don't work with a gazillion people, but the ones I work with are hand-picked and very special. And they pick me. And it just really counts to me. Not too many people can say they chill with Michelle Obama, bro. Not too many people can say these things. It's crazy.

So your first album, Think Tank, just turned six years old. What do you hear now when you listen back to Think Tank? How does that make you feel?

I love to listen to certain songs, like "God Push Me," "Themeparks"… I don't know, it just feels like a part of the journey. It doesn't feel like anything that's surreal. Sometimes you just got to do it. We felt so unprepared to put out that album, and it came out, the CD's came to our house, we was working through disc makers online and just trying to press stuff ourselves, and had the album release party at one of the biggest clubs in Nola, and we were so nervous because we didn't know if the albums were even going to come that day. We waited outside all day for UPS. We were so scared.

It makes me just tell people just to do your thing even if you don't think that it's coming out right or it's the perfect time, and you're waiting for all your ducks to be in a row. They may not ever be in a row, but you got to still swim. You got to do it. You don't want to... What's worse, doing it or regretting it? Just do it because we weren't extremely proud of that work, but it connected to people on so many levels. I'm happy that we put it out.

You mentioned your hometown, New Orleans - how has that city helped shape what Tank and the Bangas are?

It's a vibe. It's not even the music. It's the fact that... everybody knows that we don't sound like a typical what you think New Orleans is… But we come from the underground of New Orleans that had all these artists just like ourselves, but not quite like us. So, it's not a sound that we cultivated that was from New Orleans, it was a spirit and a feeling that we brought with us everywhere we went. And people connected to it. Because we don't sound like what typical New Orleans is supposed to stereotypically sound like, but we feel like what New Orleans feels like, and that's just plain old good.

One of the things I love about being around you and the band is you all feel like friends. So, outside of music, what are some things the band all like to do when you're not on stage?

Well, sometimes it can be hard to go out to eat because a lot of the Bangas have stopped eating meat lately, and you already know that I still like my meat. So, when we go out to eat, we got to pick a certain restaurant, make sure they got vegan options. We like to explore cities together sometimes. And I found most days in that car is a laugh, you know?

Everybody really has their own personality and their own thing that they like to do in every city. Me, personally, I'm either eating food, writing a song, or really sleeping, or watching "Frasier" on Netflix.

Who knew, Tank's a Frasier fan!

Oh man, that's all I watch. It's weird.

Well, this has been such a huge year and a huge step to be nominated for Best New Artist. What's next for Tank and the Bangas?

What's next for Tank and the Bangas after I win this GRAMMY? [laughs]... We're just going to have a big old party, man, with everybody at home and everybody that supports us. And after that we're going to continuously make music and hopefully, what I would like, is for the videos to get crazier, but to really give people a look into Bangaville and what this was all about. I want to create this insane movement of free music that feels really good and be amongst the greats, like my favorites, like OutKast, like Earth, Wind & Fire or Funkadelic, and just remind people, people like us can win a GRAMMY, regular people, chill people that did not come from this amazing legacy of other famous people or whatever.

It's not a gimmick. That you can do your thing, that you can make your music, and that people will, they'll get it. And I think the GRAMMY needs something like that. They need a band like us, people like us to believe in again.



2023 Latin GRAMMYs: Joaquina Wins Best New Artist
Joaquina wins the Latin GRAMMY Award for Best New Artist at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, in Seville, Spain

Photo: Courtesy of The Latin Recording Academy/Borja B. Hojas, Getty Images © 2023


2023 Latin GRAMMYs: Joaquina Wins Best New Artist

Joaquina won the Latin GRAMMY for Best New Artist at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Nov 16, 2023 - 11:57 pm

Joaquina won the Latin GRAMMY for Best New Artist at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs.

Borja, Conexión Divina, Ana Del Castillo, Natascha Falcão, Gale, Paola Guanche, Paola Guanche, Leon Leiden, Maréh, and Timø were the other nominees in the category.

Along with Paola Guanche, Joaquina is an alumnus of Julio Reyes Copello's Art House Academy; she graduated last year.

The Venezuelan singer/songwriter was taken under the wing of Reyes Copello — the Latin GRAMMYs Producer Of The Year winner from 2022.

Joaquina has since flourished with her debut EP, Los Mejores Años. Therein, she explores teen ennui with the melodic, anthemic title track and the emotionally searing "Rabia."

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs.

Watch: Juanes Performs "Gris" With The New Faces Of Latin Music At The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs
Juanes performs at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs on Thursday, Nov. 16

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy


Watch: Juanes Performs "Gris" With The New Faces Of Latin Music At The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs

At the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, the legend of Colombian music led the nominees for Best New Artist in a stirring performance that bridged the present and the future of Latin Music.

GRAMMYs/Nov 16, 2023 - 10:24 pm

After winning 24 Latin GRAMMYs prior to this year, Colombian rock star Juanes was tapped to take on the role of an elder statesman at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs. 

On the stage in Sevilla, Juanes performed with the 10 nominees for Best New Artist: Borja, Conexión Divina, Ana Del Castillo, Natascha Falcão, Gale, Paola Guanche, Joaquina, León Leiden, Maréh, and Timø.

With vocal back up from the the brightest new voices in Latin music Juanes rendered a stirring performance of his emotional single "Gris" from his 2023 album Vida Cotidiana. In recent years, Juanes has explored a variety of sounds in his music, including traditional Colombian sounds such as cumbia. This year, he returned to his roots in rock with the intensely personal full-length album, which was inspired by the complexities of his marriage and family life during COVID-19 lockdown.

Juanes’ number was a satisfying full arena rock moment, complete with dazzling lights and artistic video projection of the song's lyrics. The power ballad has a somber and aching tone, and with the chorus behind him the feeling of the song rang out loud and clear.

The record came out in May to critical acclaim and has received nominations for both Album Of The Year and Best Pop/Rock Album, categories Juanes has won multiple times in the past. The "La Camisa Negra" singer is nominated in the Best Rock Song category for "Gris," as well.

Vida Cotidiana is also nominated for Best Latin Rock or Alternative album at the 2024 GRAMMYs, alongside worlds from Cabra, Diamante Eléctrico, Natalia Lafourcade, and Fito Paez.

2023 Latin GRAMMYs: See The Complete Nominations List

Meet The First Time Latin GRAMMY Nominee: Borja On Latin Pop & The Shared Experience Of Falling In Love

Photo: Fer Piña


Meet The First Time Latin GRAMMY Nominee: Borja On Latin Pop & The Shared Experience Of Falling In Love

On his debut LP, 'Rimas Del Verbo Amar,' Best New Artist nominee Borja captures all the emotions that love can spark. At 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, Borja is the sole artist from Spain in his category.

GRAMMYs/Nov 13, 2023 - 02:12 pm

Spanish singer/songwriter Borja is on a mission to bring romance back to Latin pop music. 

Borja's sentimental outlook colors his debut album, Rimas Del Verbo Amar, which helped him garner his very first Latin GRAMMY nomination. At the 24th Latin GRAMMYs, Borja is the sole artist from Spain in the Best New Artist category.

Borja is nominated alongside Conexión Divina, Ana Del Castillo, Natascha Falcão, Gale, Paola Guanche, Joaquina, Leon Leiden, Maréh and Timø.

"To be nominated feels like a dream come true," Borja tells "It's something I've thought about all my life. It's something I've been working on for years and for it to suddenly happen is like, Wow, we can truly make things happen if we work hard and we dream hard enough."

Before releasing his debut LP in May, Borja spent the past few years getting his bearings in the industry. He graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 2018 with a degree in music business, and also worked with GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY-winning producer Julio Reyes Copello at Art House Studios in Miami. Borja later cowrote songs for acts like Reik, Lasso, Marco Mares, and Nicole Zignago — all of whom have previously been nominated for Best New Artist.

Borja was also releasing music under his own name, including the breathtaking ballad "Aire," the flamenco-infused "Tu Cuarto," and the trap-lite track "TBB" featuring Peruvian artist Sergi. Not only is he wearing his heart on his sleeve, but he is also pushing that Latine pop that he grew up on into the future. Borja injects a bit of rock angst with his guitar in-hand in his breakup anthems "Amigos" and "Ódiame Si Quieres." 

The 12-track album captures all the emotions that love can spark. "I think romantic pop is great. At the end of the day, we all feel the same things," he reflects. "It's not only focused on the beautiful side of things. It talks about being vulnerable, knowing that it doesn't always happen like you expected and that's fine."

Borja will also be performing at the Latin GRAMMYs on Nov. 16 in Seville, Spain. He and a few other Best New Artist contenders this year will be joined by Colombian icon Juanes, who won the award in 2001. Ahead of the ceremony, Borja talked with about his first Latin GRAMMY nomination, his breakthrough year, and how he is redefining Latin pop. 

Did starting out as a songwriter help you in your journey to becoming an artist?

I've learned a lot. I started in the studio watching Julio Reyes Copello, who is one of the most important producers, recording with artists like Marc Anthony and Will Smith. I remember one time Bad Bunny came to the studio and I was like, “Wow!” I was listening in and trying to learn. And then I moved onto songwriting with Reik, Lasso, Marco Mares, and Nicole Zignago, who are a bunch of artists that I really like. I got to learn from being able to see other artists do their craft before I was doing mine. 

Is there any advice that you got from your songwriting sessions that stuck with you?

You can always learn from anyone. If you allow yourself to be vulnerable in the studio and honest, you learn so much by just doing that exercise. There's many lessons, but one of them I remember is from Gian Marco, who is Nicole's father and an amazing artist. He told me, “Every song you put out has to be a whole universe. Take care of the music." I think that's very important to respect the music you're making and make it into a whole universe.

How would you describe the experience of transitioning from songwriter into becoming an artist?

It was really easy in the sense that my dream and my final goal has always been this. It was really natural. It's definitely different because you're putting yourself at the forefront. 

Even if no one was listening to me, I would still do music and I would still write with people because it's what I love doing. It's been a bit more work having to do both things. But at the time, it's what I always wanted.

On top of that, you're also navigating the music industry as an independent artist. 

That makes me really proud because I've had to learn about how everything works. I have a great team, but obviously a smaller team. We don't have 25 to 30 people helping us with the music video shoots, licensing, clearance, and all of that music business side. It's definitely a lot more work, but at the same time, I feel like I grow a lot more.

What was the inspiration for your debut album Rimas Del Verbo Amar?

Rimas Del Verbo Amar is like my baby. It's really important in that sense that I was writing for it for almost the past six years. The first song is from 2017 and the last one is from 2023. It's been amazing to see how I've been able to grow as a person and as a musician. And my songs have stayed relevant for me; a good song is a song that is always going to be relevant. 

The album really talks about the experience of love — giving love and receiving love — but in every angle. It's not only focused on the beautiful side of things. It talks about being vulnerable, knowing that it doesn't always happen like you expected and that's fine. Not everything is meant to be forever and that's okay. It touches on all the areas that I've been learning about. 

How are you reviving romantic pop on this album?

What I'm trying to do is keep the essence of the old pop, from like the 2000s, but at the same time, I'm trying to mix it with the new sounds. Maybe make it a bit fresher with new production. Maybe the songs are a little bit shorter now. That's a challenge now because you have fewer words to say the same thing. That's my interpretation of what pop should be nowadays. 

I think romantic pop is great. At the end of the day, we all feel the same things during life, like, no one can really escape that. [Laughs.]  Sooner or later, we are all going to go through similar situations. Love is universal. Love is everywhere. Love is in music and in relationships with your family, your friends, your loved ones. That's really important to me and I try to put that a lot in my music. 

How did you feel to see your song "Rimas Del Verbo Amar" cross one million streams on Spotify?

It's the first song on my project that has done that. It's funny because it's a really simple song in a sense that it's just piano and vocals. But that comes to show you that many times, if it's done well and if it's saying the right words, it connects with people. That was really important for me to see that people connected to the song even though it was a really intimate little song.

You worked with previous Best New Artist nominees Vale on the song "Terco." What is the story behind that collaboration? 

I love the girls. They are so talented. I met them two years ago in Miami because we were doing a songwriting session with them and with Marco Mares. It was a great vibe from the start. We wrote that song, we went out to dinner, and we just had a great time. Then nothing happened with the song for a while. 

That happens sometimes with songs, they just fall behind a little bit, and you don't know what to make of it. I just grabbed the song and I started producing it myself. Once I got it to a point where I really liked it, I called Andrés Saavedra. I was like, "When I bring the girls onto it, I think it will be a cute pop romantic ballad." That song was really special to make.

What's the response been like to this album where you are opening your heart in your songs?

It's been great. I always say when someone who follows my music or a fan writes to me to explain their whole story based on my song, that's like my GRAMMY. The other day a guy from Colombia wrote to me, "I found your music and it just so happens that I'm in a long distance relationship with my girlfriend. I haven't seen her in like a year. We're going to reunite in Barcelona and for our anniversary, I want to dedicate your song to her." To know that you can have that kind of impact, it means everything. 

How do you feel to represent Spain in the Best New Artist category?

It feels amazing! Obviously, it's the first year the Latin GRAMMYs are happening in Spain. I'm the only Spanish nominee in the Best New Artist category, so it's like a double prize for me. There's a lot of talent in Spain who maybe sometimes don't have the opportunity to come abroad to the U.S. or Latin America. For this to be in Spain, makes me super proud and for me to be representing Spain in this category makes me even prouder. 

You attended the Latin GRAMMYs before in 2021 to support Marco Mares and last year to support Nicole Zignago. What do those previous Best New Artist nominees think of your nomination?

We were super excited. When my nomination came out, we called each other because we studied together at Berklee in Boston, so we used to talk about being nominated for Best New Artist. We used to dream of it and joke about it. It happened that all three of us have been nominated. It was amazing to talk with them and be like, "Wow, look what we've done."

What can you tell us about performance at the ceremony this year?

I'm going to be doing two performances. The first one will be at the Best New Artist showcase. This is a little secret, but we're going to be doing a little medley of my songs. It's going to be super cute. We're rehearsing for it. On the day of the gala, we're singing with Juanes. I think that's going to be super special. 

Who do you want to collaborate with in the future?

Alejandro Sanz would be amazing, and also Pablo Alborán. I think Pablo is one of the best voices in Spain. He has such massive control over his voice. His songwriting is amazing. Working with Pablo would be a dream.

What do you want to achieve with your music?

Just for people to be able to connect with their feelings. I think it's very important to be honest about what we feel. I feel that maybe if someone listens to my music, they might be able to connect with that and do that.

2023 Latin GRAMMYs: See The Complete Nominations List

Get To Know The Best New Artist Nominees At The 2024 GRAMMYs
(Clockwise) Coco Jones, Ice Spice, Gracie Abrams, Victoria Monét, Noah Kahan, The War And Treaty, Fred again.., Jelly Roll

Photos: Def Jam Recordings, Capitol Records, Image from TiVO, Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET, Image from TiVO, Image from TiVO, Image from TiVO, Ashley Osborn


Get To Know The Best New Artist Nominees At The 2024 GRAMMYs

From new rap sensations to a country star with a second life, the 2024 GRAMMY nominees for Best New Artist are nothing short of inspirational.

GRAMMYs/Nov 10, 2023 - 04:21 pm

The Best New Artist category is perhaps one of the GRAMMYs' most exciting. Each year honors artists from all genres who have the potential to become timeless legends in the future.

Whether the nominees have been in the game for decades or are fresh debutantes, the Best New Artist honor highlights the moment they are living now, and how they are breaking through the noise with distinctive voices, visions, and sounds.

The Best New Artist nominees for the 2024 GRAMMYs are Gracie Abrams, Fred again.., Ice Spice, Jelly Roll, Coco Jones, Noah Kahan, Victoria Monét, and The War And Treaty. Though only one of them will win the golden gramophone, their nominations speak to their excellence, and foreshadow exciting journeys ahead.

Below, get to know the nominees for Best New Artist at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Gracie Abrams

Since her 2019 debut single "Mean It," Gracie Abrams has been making every listener feel like her closest friend. Through confessional lyrics and a soft, raspy voice, she's caught the attention of fans, media and even other singers alike.

On her list of admirers are names like Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift — both of whom invited Abrams to be an opening act for their respective tours. Amid those prestigious gigs, Abrams still found the time to release her debut studio album, Good Riddance, in February.

Co-written by her and The National's Aaron Dessner (who also produced the album), Good Riddance was recorded at Dessner's famous Long Pond Studios, which added to the record's intimate atmosphere. "I think working with Aaron allowed for so much to come up that I don't think would have for me otherwise. So much of that is because of the trust that he and I share,," Abrams told earlier this year.

The 24-year-old grew up surrounded by art (she's the daughter of Hollywood director J.J Abrams and producer Katie McGrath), but that only made her talents bloom further. In a generation filled with remarkable female songwriters, Abrams' delicacy leaves a deep, gripping mark.

Fred again..

Fred Gibson, better known as the viral producer and DJ Fred again.., rose to popularity during the pandemic. When people couldn't go to clubs or even leave their homes, his mix-and-match dance tracks brought us just the right amount of nostalgia and euphoria.

His Actual Life album series started as an EP in 2020, but quickly expanded into three studio albums — the latest of which, Actual Life 3, arrived in October 2022. In each project, the trivialities of the world find a new veneer: voice notes from friends, clips from social media, and even the restlessness of public transport all become main characters, surrounded by Fred again..'s larger-than-life synths.

But before diving into his own complex creations, Gibson was already lauded as one of the UK's most prominent producers. He co-wrote and/or produced hits for a number of artists, from Ed Sheeran to Rita Ora, and was mentored by Brian Eno — who was his family's neighbor growing up. In 2020, he won Producer of the Year at the Brit Awards, becoming the youngest producer to do so at 26 years old.

Though Gibson has admitted that he's "not really fussed" by the glitz and the glamor, he's undeniably become the dance scene's hottest new star. And as the only dance act in the Best New Artist category, that may be evident at the 2024 GRAMMYs, too.

Ice Spice

Who hasn't heard of Ice Spice? The rapper's chill bars and fiery curls dominated the world this year, whether it was on TikTok's latest viral hit or the Met Gala red carpet.

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York City, the 23-year-old had a breakthrough with 2022's "Munch (Feelin' U)," followed by the equally popular "Bikini Bottom" and "In Ha Mood." The singles led up to her January debut EP, Like..?, and propelled Ice Spice — whose birth name is Isis Gaston — even higher.

In less than a year, she released collaborations with PinkPantheress ("Boy's a Liar Pt. 2"), Nicki Minaj ("Princess Diana" and "Barbie World," featuring Aqua), and Taylor Swift ("Karma"), becoming the first artist to land four top 10 singles on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart in 2023.

While Ice Spice hasn't even released a debut studio album yet, she's an undeniable phenomenon who is pushing the drill scene far and beyond. Her style and bravado have made a mark on the music industry, and will likely continue to do so.

Jelly Roll

"I want to write a conceptual album that kind of outlines my journey of religion, my journey of spirituality, my journey of redemption, my journey of wrongdoings," Jelly Roll explained to earlier this year.

That album is his first country LP, 2023's Whitsitt Chapel. It was named after Whitsitt Chapel Baptist Church in his hometown of Antioch, Tennessee, where he was baptized at 14 years old.

Jelly Roll had a turbulent journey before becoming one of country music's most exciting new artists. After breaking a cycle of felonies, he still spent almost two decades treading the waters of the music industry. Born Jason DeFord, the 38-year-old star spent a good amount of the early 2000s selling rap mixtapes out of his car. But the hard work paid off — he has since developed a unique mix of hip-hop, rock and country, which led him to a Grand Ole Opry debut in 2021, and to last year's smash hit "Son of a Sinner," off his 2021 album, Ballads of the Broken.

The success of "Son of a Sinner" inspired a full pivot to country, and his decision has proven right with the success of singles "Need a Favor" and "Save Me," the latter of which earned him a nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance this year for his duet version with Lainey Wilson. Along with coming full circle musically, Jelly Roll mends his past while becoming a new artist — and we're lucky to witness his becoming.

Coco Jones

You might remember Coco Jones from the 2012 Disney Channel film Let It Shine. In it, she played the prodigious teenage singer Roxie — and offered a glimpse of her dazzling talents.

Although Let It Shine was the most watched movie of the year for kids and tweens in 2012, it took a whole decade for Jones to truly gain the recognition she deserves. The South Carolina-born, Tennessee-raised star spent the majority of the past years as an independent singer and actress, dropping four EPs and scoring roles in films like 2018's Flock of Four and in the 2022 television series Bel-Air.

It was only last year, after she signed a contract with High Standardz and Def Jam Recordings, that her efforts started to pay off. She released her first major label EP, What I Didn't Tell You, featured on Babyface's GRAMMY-nominated Girls Night Out ("Simple"), and earned her first No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart with the sultry "ICU."

Now, she attests to her potential as R&B's next soulful diva with her first GRAMMY nomination.

Noah Kahan

When Noah Kahan named one of his songs "Stick Season" — the Vermont-specific term to describe the dreary, gray days between Halloween and the first snow — he didn't know that this period of time would be more bountiful to him than any blossoming spring.

First teased on TikTok in 2020, "Stick Season" went viral in the next two years, culminating with its official release as the lead track off Kahan's 2022 LP of the same name. The album followed suit as a smashing success, earning the top spot on five Billboard charts upon its release (including Top Rock & Alternative Albums) and prompting collaborations with Kacey Musgraves, Hozier and Post Malone.

The 26-year-old folk-pop singer is still adjusting to all the prestige, which will only grow as he starts 2024 with a stadium/arena tour that includes dates at L.A.'s Hollywood Bowl and New York's Madison Square Garden. "It's f—ing unbelievable," he told in October. "It feels so fake that it's almost like, the more time I spend thinking about it, the more abstract it becomes."

Kahan's main strength is this unflinching honesty — he talks openly about his struggles with depression and anxiety, and his lyrics resonate because of their sharp vulnerability. His openness as well as his charming wit have helped him continue to reach bigger audiences, and have now helped him earn his first GRAMMY nomination. 

Victoria Monét

While Victoria Monét has been releasing solo music since 2014 with her debut EP Nightmares & Lullabies: Act 1, she used to be best known for her work behind the scenes. Her expertise was writing hits for many of today's biggest pop stars, including Ariana Grande, Chloe x Halle, BLACKPINK, and more.

She has even been nominated for three GRAMMYs thanks to her songwriting prowess: two in 2020 for her work with Grande (Album of the Year for Thank U, Next and Record of the Year for "7 Rings") and one in 2021 for her work with Chloe x Halle (Best R&B Song for "Do It.")

Gradually, people started to notice the 34-year-old songwriter for her own singing as Monét came into her artistry more and more. Her 2020 independently released EP, Jaguar marked a breakthrough in her career and was critically acclaimed for its luxurious R&B melodies and classy undertones.

Following suit came her debut solo album, 2023's Jaguar II, through RCA Records. The album was equally acclaimed, and its supporting tour sold out minutes after being announced. Add to that  seven nominations at the 2024 GRAMMYs — including Best New Artist and Record Of The Year for "On My Mama" — it's more than clear that Monét is already a superstar to be reckoned with.

The War and Treaty

Tanya and Michael Trotter Jr. found each other in 2010, when they both played at Maryland's Spirit of Love festival. The name was a good omen, as the couple soon began a lasting partnership — both in love and in music.

The War and Treaty is their way to let us peek into their rich universe. While originally formed in 2014 under the name Trotter & Blount, they changed it in 2017 after several discussions. "Michael, calm down," Tanya said one day, as retold by Michael on BobbyCast. "This is not a war, we need to come to some sort of treaty about this."

Since then, they have been stirring hearts with emotional anthems inspired by soul, country, and gospel music. However, it was only in 2022 that they signed with UMG Nashville, already carrying one EP and three studio albums under their belt. In March 2023 came the devotional Lover's Game, their first major label LP, with production credits by GRAMMY winner Dave Cobb.

"This album isn't about whether you like the music or not," Michael said in an interview with NPR. "This album is about, 'Do you understand what we're trying to say? Can you get with this? Do you feel the inclusion in our voices? Do you feel the resilience? Do you feel the overcoming? And if you feel it, do you have a heart for the War and Treaty?"

As one of only eight artists with a Best New Artist GRAMMY nomination for 2024, it seems at least their peers do..

The 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, returns to Los Angeles' Arena on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT.

The Recording Academy and do not endorse any particular artist, submission or nominee over another. The results of the GRAMMY Awards, including winners and nominees, are solely dependent on the Recording Academy's Voting Membership.

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List