Posted in Best New Artist, GRAMMY Awards

56th GRAMMYs: Odds for Best New Artist

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The race for Best New Artist roughly follows the same pattern that’s been in place for the last couple of years. There are two hip-hop acts –that greatly differ from each other with Lamar representing the West Coast gangsta rap and duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis basically just rap within pop song. The country side is represented by Kacey Musgraves, also the only female contender. James Blake is the alternative/filler nod and Ed Sheeran represents the radio-friendly pop artist, both singers which happen to be British.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about Best New Artist this year is the exclusion of Lorde, considered to be the runaway winner. Apparently, the Academy considers the song, “Royals”, to be bigger than the artist. However, the 17 year-old singer-songwriter is also up for Pop Vocal Album for Pure Heroine which reminds us of Leona Lewis’ snub back in 2009.

Let’s now take a closer look at the nominees. They are listed in order of likelihood of winning:

The_Heist_Macklemore.jpeg MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS

  • Field / Genre: Rap / Hip-Hop
  • Debuting year: 2012 with the album The Heist
  • GoldDerby Odds: 2/13

Rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis were last year’s breakthrough act. Two of their singles, “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”, were among the best five selling tracks of the year and their song “Same Love” has definitely become an icon within the gay community and LGBT-supporting groups. They have also managed to grab a nod for Album of the Year for their debut album. One thing that could prevent the Seattle duo of taking the prize is the fact that NARAS doesn’t seem to have a lot of love towards rappers in the general field. The last time a hip-hop artist won this award was in 1999 with Lauryn Hill.

 KaceyMusgravesSameTrailerDifferentPark

KACEY MUSGRAVES

  • Field / Genre: Country / Traditional Country
  • Debuting year: Self-released three albums between 2002 and 2008 / Mainstream debut in 2012 with the single “Merry Go ‘Round”
  • GoldDerby Odds: 25/1

If we take into account voting patterns only, Kacey Musgraves will be the winner by a long-shot. She not only has the support of the country voters but is also the only female soloist competing this year. She is also the recipient of the CMA’s New Artist of the Year award. The rest of the Best New Artist country winners have also happened to win the aforementioned award: LeAnn Rimes (1997); Carrie Underwood (2007); and Zac Brown Band (2010).

 James-Blake-Retrograde

JAMES BLAKE

  • Field / Genre: Alternative / Electronic
  • Debuting year: 2011 with the album James Blake / Broke into the U.S. market in 2013 with the album Overgrown
  • GoldDerby Odds: 50/1

The Best New Artist category is known for always throwing an out-of-the-blue nod to its lineup. And that spot belonged to James Blake this year. The English experimental musician enjoyed widespread acclaim for his second album Overgrown, which won the 2013 Mercury Prize. He also happens to be mentored by Kanye West. On the other hand, just like jazzist Esperanza Spalding and indie rock band Bon Iver could beat other four mainstream acts; Blake’s chances should not be underrated.

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KENDRICK LAMAR

  • Field / Genre: Rap / West Coast Rap
  • Debuting year: 2012 with the album Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City
  • GoldDerby Odds: 25/1

Much like James Blake, Kendrick Lamar has also been universally acclaimed by critics since the release of his debut album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City in October 2012, which happens to be up for Album of the Year. He’s also being nominated for a total of seven awards. As mentioned above, NARAS hasn’t been very nice to rappers in this field and almost every time two urban performers are in this category, both get snubbed. However, his socially-charged songs resembles those of the only two hip-hop acts Best New Artist-winners, Lauryn Hill (1999) and Arrested Development (1993).

 Ed_Sheeran_+_cover

ED SHEERAN

  • Field / Genre: Pop / Adult Contemporary
  • Debuting year: 2011 with the album +
  • GoldDerby Odds: 20/1

The 2012/2013 period featured some of the greatest debuting records in the last years and while everyone was expecting to hear HAIM, Lorde or Ariana Grande to wrap up the Best New Artist lineup, Ed Sheeran’s name showed up instead. Very little did the English folk singer last year so his nomination raised a couple of eyebrows. Apparently, this was thanks to the heavy exposure Taylor Swift made out of him. On the other hand, he’s the only artist in the race with a previous GRAMMY-nod –last year with Song of the Year for “The A Team”. In 2012, Sheeran won the BRIT Award for British Breakthrough Act.

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