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Billboard Explains: Grammys Best New Artist Award

todayJanuary 30, 2023

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The Grammy Awards’ best new artist category, also known as one of the Big Four awards of the night, often has lasting effects on an artists’ career. In fact, eight of the last 10 best new artist winners at the Grammy Awards have gone on to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. But what is the criteria for being nominated for best new artist, and who are some of the past winners in the category? The latest episode of Billboard Explains breaks it down.

The best new artist category is almost as old as the Grammys itself. Introduced at the second annual Grammy Awards on Nov. 29, 1959, Bobby Darin was the first artist to ever receive the award. The category has been present at every single Grammy Awards since, with the exception of the 1967 ceremony.

Billboard’s Awards Editor Paul Grein summed up the purpose of the best new artist award for Billboard Explains. “What the best new artist nomination does is it puts a spotlight on people, for the vast Grammy audience, which consists of music fans, but also people who are maybe just casual music fans,” he said. “They’re probably being introduced to these artists.”

As for the award’s requirements, the original rules stated that a nominee must be an artist who has released a minimum of five tracks or one album, must not have submitted for the category more than three times and has made a significant breakthrough during a year’s eligibility period. These rules, however, have changed over the years. A notable instance was Gaga’s lack of nomination in the best new artist category because her single “Just Dance” was nominated in best dance recording in 2009. The rules were changed to state that an artist may be nominated as long as that artist has not previously released an entire album or won a Grammy.

The most recent winner of the best new artist was Olivia Rodrigo due to the success of her debut album SOUR and its hit single, “Drivers License.” Billie Eilish won in 2020, and became the second person and the youngest person to ever win all big four categories in the same year. Other winners include Dua Lipa, Megan Thee Stallion, Sam Smith, Adele and Mariah Carey. Going home with a best new artist award often sees the artist earning a boost in streams, album sales and/or performance on the Billboard charts.

After the video, catch up on more Billboard Explains videos and learn about the evolution of girl groupsBBMAsNFTsSXSW, the magic of boy bandsAmerican Music Awards, the Billboard Latin Music Awards, the Hot 100 charthow R&B/hip-hop became the biggest genre in the festivals book their lineupsBillie Eilish’s formula for success, the history of rap battlesnonbinary awareness in musicthe Billboard Music Awardsthe Free Britney movementrise of K-pop in the U.S.why Taylor Swift is re-recording her first six albumsthe boom of hit all-female collaborationshow Grammy nominees and winners are chosenwhy songwriters are selling their publishing catalogshow the Super Bowl halftime show is booked and why Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” was able to shoot to No. 1 on the Hot 100.

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todayJanuary 30, 2023

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