Since 2000, fifteen of the twenty-three Grammys for Best New Artist have gone to solo females. Chance the Rapper in 2017 was the last male to claim the award. That trend is unlikely to change this year. Though three male soloists drew nominations this year, and a fourth received a nomination as part of a duo, the frontrunners are women.
The Grammys have been giving out a Best New Artist award since its second year in existence, 1960. The first one went to Bobby Darin, and men – or male-fronted groups – dominated the early years of the award. Bob Newhart and the Beatles won in that first decade. The gender balance began to even out after the first decade as the Carpenters and Carly Simon both took the prize in the early ‘70s. Though male acts haven’t completely disappeared from the category, women have grown more and more dominant over time.
There have been a few anomalies during the 64 years these Grammys have been awarded. For no announced reason, there was not a Best New Artist award presented in 1967. I’m guessing whoever was in charge smoked a bit too much weed one night and simply forgot to print up the ballots, but that’s just conjecture – based on what I remember about the’60s. Then there was the unfortunate situation of 1990 when Milli Vanilli’s Best New Artist award was rescinded once it was determined that neither member of the duo actually sang on their album.
Who are the Best New Artist nominees for the 2024 Grammy Awards?
For most of its history, through 2018, there were five nominees each year. The Academy decided that was not enough and therefore upped the count to eight nominees between 2019 and 2021. Then, again for no announced reason, they upped it again to ten nominees in 2022. This year, they have trimmed it back to eight, which is where we find ourselves today.
Let’s take a quick look at this year’s nominees for Best New Artist.
Abrams is 24 and the daughter of Star Wars director J.J. Abrams. She grew up admiring the songwriting of Joni Mitchell and began putting out her own music in 2019. Over the past few years, she has toured with both Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift, before headlining her own tour in support of her first full-length studio release, Good Riddance.
Abrams can come off as a Rodrigo sound-alike on songs like “I Know It Won’t Work” and “Where Do We Go Now?” Her earlier music doesn’t have the same breathy delivery she would begin developing in the past few years. It will be interesting to see if she can expand on her deeply personal, piano-driven ballads in other directions. Abrams is one of two artists among this year’s nominees who is not nominated in any other category.