As it’s been in the last couple of years, the Best New Artist line-up has a representative from the mainstream genres. We have hip-hop (Iggy Azalea); alternative music (Bastille); indie-pop (HAIM); country (Brandy Clark); and AC/pop (Sam Smith).
Throughout the years, this category have been dominated by female solo singers. However, for the past three years it has been won by groups. The last male solo singer to take the award was John Legend in 2006.
Let’s now take a look at the odds for each of the nominees. They are listed in order of likelihood of winning:
01. Sam Smith
British blue-eyed soul singer, Sam Smith is the runaway winner here. He’s the most nominated artist (alongside Beyoncé and Pharrell) with six —including all four general field categories. Most artists tend to lose the other three awards but take home the Best New Artist. The only time an artist failed to win was India.Arie in 2002 but she faced fierce competition from Alicia Keys . However, Smith has little to none this year. If he wins he will become the twelfth male solo singer to do so.
02. Iggy Azalea
The only nominee that represents a minor thread to Smith is controversial Aussie rapper, Iggy Azalea. She is up for four awards including Record of the Year for her hit “Fancy”. However, the odds are not in her favour. Hip-hop acts have a hard time taking this prize. Only two have done it so far: Arrested Development (1993) and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (2014). If Azalea wins, she will become the first solo rapper to do so and the twenty-fifth female solo artist.
03. Brandy Clark
Out of all the five nominees, Brandy Clark is the only one with a previous GRAMMY nomination. She was nominated as one of the songwriters for Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” last year in the Best Country Song category. This year, she is also in for Best Country Album. Clark was also the surprise nominee posing a thread to the other two favourites: Remember Esperanza Spalding beating Drake and Justin Bieber in 2011? However, she failed to win the CMA Award for New Artist of the Year; hence, her odds are off.
After being snubbed last year, the critically-acclaimed LA-based trio of sisters, HAIM are now on the game. Sadly, they are facing strong competition from other more commercially-viable acts. But if NARAS want to continue their trend of awarding musical groups, then the Haim sisters will get it. This is their sole nomination.
English alternative rock band, Bastille are the ‘filler’ nominees here. They just got in due to the massive worldwide success of their song “Pompeii”. And they failed to get any other nomination because the song was submitted last year. Their chances are very slim but lots of one-hit wonders have won this award in the past.