Mariah Carey, Carrie Underwood, Sam Smith: Best New Artist GRAMMY Rewind
Each year, one GRAMMY is awarded to recognize music's most promising new talent in the coveted Best New Artist category. Over the years, budding superstars such as Bette Midler, Natalie Cole, John Legend, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, and Maroon 5 have taken home the honor, with all since enjoying long, prolific careers.
Just as the other three major GRAMMY categories — Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Album Of The Year — recognize those involved in an outstanding recording, composition, and collection of recordings respectively, Best New Artist celebrates the outstanding work of a new artist during the eligibility year.
How do we know who qualifies as a "new artist"? The category has arguably the most complex set of rules out of all 84 GRAMMY categories, but essentially a new artist is defined as any performing artist or established performing group who releases, during the eligibility year, the recording that first establishes the public identity of that artist or established group as a performer.
While the nuance of eligibility for Best New Artist has caused some confusion in the past, the implication of the honor is clear: this artist has arrived.
The Best New Artist has been awarded since the 2nd Annual GRAMMY Awards when Bobby Darin won for 1959. Darin also took home Record Of The Year honors for "Mack The Knife," setting a high bar for the dozens of Best New Artist winners who have followed in his footsteps.
Since then, the Best New Artist recipients have spanned the likes of the Beatles, Carpenters, Rickie Lee Jones, Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, and Sam Smith, to name just a few. Last year's winner, Chance The Rapper, earned seven nominations for the 59th GRAMMY Awards, adding wins for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance to his Best New Artist trophy.