Isis Naija Gaston is one of the co-favorites for the Best New Artist award. Unlike some of the others on this list, there is no need to qualify what “new artist” means to her. She began making a name for herself with a couple of TikTok singles in 2022 and then released her first EP, Like..?, at the beginning of 2023. Working with her producer RiotUSA (the two met while students at SUNY Purchase), she has taken the Hip Hop world by storm. Her first single “Munch” (a word she only used because she needed a rhyme for “lunch”) soared into Billboard’s Bubbling Under Top Ten.
Since then, the Bronx native has become much in demand, recording a track with Nikki Minaj for the Barbie movie and adding a sensational verse to PinkPantheress’s “Boys a Liar, Pt 2.” The Barbie song (“Barbie World”) has garnered her two other Grammy nominations this year. Oh yeah, she got a fourth nomination for her contribution to the remix version of Taylor Swift’s “Karma.”
Coco Jones is only 26, but she has been a professional entertainer for the past fifteen years. Like Miley Cyrus and Zendaya, and too many others to name, Jones was a Disney child star who forged her own creative path as an adult. Recently, she has been known to a large section of the public as Hilary Banks, from the TV show Bel-Air. But her EP What I Didn’t Tell You has won her a whole new set of music fans.
Jones went viral with a dead-on recreation of Busta Rhymes’ “Look at Me Now” a few years ago. That helped her score a record deal with Def Jam, through her own High Standards brand. On her biggest hit, “ICU,” she only hints at her rapping ability. It is straight, old-school soul music delivered with some modern production touches, but with a spirit from the ‘70s. The song, and the album, along with another collaboration with Babyface, have earned her four Grammy nominations in addition to her New Artist nod.