Last November, the nominations for Best New Artist came out and there were no gross negatives in the list. Winners of this award have included Alicia Keys, Chance the Rapper, Sam Smith, Christina Aguilera and Adele. I guess that’s why I’m relatively unexcited about this year’s contenders. Here is my fearless forecast on how the Best New Artist race will unfold.
Lil Uzi Vert
(5) – Lil Uzi Vert
Rap artists don’t win in this category often. I can recall a few times they have prevailed – Chance the Rapper in 2017 and Lauryn Hill in 1999. But let’s not kid ourselves. Lil Uzi Vert is far from the two. Even Kanye West lost to Maroon 5 and Kendrick Lamar lost to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (who you can argue can be considered rap). In any case, he will have to settle for a nomination.
(4) Julia Michaels
By virtue of her securing a Song of the Year nomination for “Issues”, you’d imagine Julia Michaels was out front in this race. But considering she has not received love in the pop genre, the support might be confined to the committee deciding on the general field, instead of the entire voting Academy. She’s too lightweight commercially and critically to be ahead of the pack.
In my view, Khalid has a legitimate shot at winning this category. He came out with two singles that dominated streaming and radio in 2017 – “Location” and “Young, Dumb and Broke”. His album has been well received by the public and critics. But he is splitting votes with SZA. His popularity crossing over to pop also works against him being taken as seriously as others that have come before him.
I might get massacred for what I’m about to say. But I’ve only heard of SZA when Maroon 5 released their collaboration “What Lovers Do”. And now, I’ve listened to a couple of her tracks and understand her appeal. It’s in the same vein as Solange a few years back. That makes me believe she has a strong shot at genre awards, but not in the general ones. Her base seems to be limited and she’s going to have to explode for her to crossover and win everyone else’s favor.
(1) Alessia Cara
She will end up being one of the lesser winners in this category. But I feel she has the momentum, like Meghan Trainor did a few years back, to pull of a victory. These days, her name has a recall, making her a safe bet. She has not broken any boundaries. But she has played well inside them that she will secure enough votes to win Best New Artist.
WILL WIN: Alessia Cara
SHOULD WIN: Khalid