By Kymmi Cee and Shanté Merida
The most bewildering category in the Grammy's big four categories, this year’s nominees for Best New Artist are an unusually eclectic bunch of indie, rock, country and pop acts. Falling short of soul and hip-hop (where is Leon Bridges or Travis Scott?), this year’s nominees include Aussie indie rocker Courtney Barnett, pop singer Meghan Trainor, ballad powerhouse Tori Kelly, James Bay and Sam Hunt. Who should take the gold is always an endless debate, but we couldn’t resist at weighing in on our picks for this year’s Best New Artist.
Shanté: Heyyyyy girl!
So, I am a new artist advocate! There’s just something about the feeling, passion and persistence they offer that is so inspiring. And with so many new musicians continuing to contribute to the state of music, it’s really shifting this limitation and perception we have on this idea of “genres” and bringing it back to just creating dope vibes for people to feel.
Okay, okay let me chill before I start pouring my soul to you about artists on the come-up!
To be honest, I wasn’t too familiar with any of the artists catalogue this year (I’m an old soul, lol). Of course I’ve heard radio singles, but I had to do some digging before I put my vote out. For me, it comes down to Meghan Trainor and James Bay. I feel like Meghan should’ve been up for last year, but that doesn’t take away from how incredible she is! And James Bay… wow. My new found gem!
What about you?
*Searches James Bay
I could dig it, but not enough to give him Best New Artist. Maybe next year (or the year after that). I've got to admit I'm not very familiar with Courtney or James' catalogue—Courtney's not exactly my style and I literally just listened to a James Bay song for the first time. Ever.
Meghan Trainor, though? Love her. My mom does too and that proves she's done a hell of a job in reaching the masses. But—yes there's a but—I'm going to have to agree with you on this one Shanté. I think this is an award she deserved last year. However... this is where things get tricky (and just like that we may agree to disagree).
I still think, despite her popularity, Tori Kelly isn't ready for this award. She's got a hell of a voice and there's no doubt in my mind greater things are in store for her. But—there's that but again—I'm just not convinced... yet.
Sam Hunt? Good artist, but nope. So all that being said? In my head, it's clearly between Meghan and Tori, and while I think Meghan's time might've been last year, maybe that's just why this award is perfect to her. It's time to recognize that woman's greatness!
Shanté: Feel you a thousand! Tori Kelly’s voice has the power to stop you mid-sentence, but not all the way sold. She definitely had a great run of a year, but still has to create a “feeling” we can’t from deny, you know?
Sam Hunt, cool guy, great sound—but not my vibe. And definitely wouldn’t put him past Meghan and James.
I’ll forever champion women 'til the end, especially talented spirits like Meghan—but I don’t know what it is about James that had me stuck, lol. Kind of reminds me of a mix between James Blake and Hozier. Plus, I’m all for artists that always fall on the musician side, and he’s pretty nasty on the guitar!
Kymmi: On second thought, this James Bay?! Thanks for putting me on Taé!
Shante’: He’s dope, right?! But I’m still swaying towards our girl Meghan …help?!?
Kymmi: Currently, I'm stuck and in a trance with James Bay. He's definitely got potential and so to tell you the truth I wouldn't be mad at him taking this one home, except that... on second thought, maybe I would. Has he even paid his dues yet? I think he's still too premature for an award of this caliber.
With women's history month around the corner and Queen Bey calling all ladies to get in formation it's hard NOT to champion for a woman on this—especially when it comes down to Meghan and Tori. Needless to say, we are women so that's a given. BUT! There goes that but again...
The real topic at hand here isn't the undeniable talent of these folks. For me, it's the lack of diversity. What's good, NARAS?
Shanté: Don’t worry we’ll wait...
To be honest, that was my first thought when I saw the nominees: SMH. Not trying to push for another segregated boycott (#GRAMMYsShade), but I’m down to offline this topic for sure!
Let’s just send “mixed” energy to the Grammy God’s that artists like Anderson .Paak, Eryn Allen Kane, and Gallant are tossed some love next year!
REVOLT Grammy Preview Coverage: R&B