The Grammy Award for Best New Artist has been awarded since 1959. Years reflect the year in which the Grammy Awards were handed out, for records released in the previous year. The award was not presented in 1967. The official guidelines are as follows: "For a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist." Note that this is not necessarily the first album released by an artist.
It is sometimes asserted, with varying degrees of sincerity, that winning the award is a curse, as several award winners (particularly from the late 70s and early 80s) were never able to duplicate the success they experienced in their debut year. This viewpoint was expressed by former Starland Vocal Band member Taffy Danoff in a 2002 interview for VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders: "We got two of the five Grammys - one was Best New Artist. So that was basically the kiss of death and I feel sorry for everyone who's gotten it since."
The category is also notable for being the only category in which a Grammy Award was revoked. This occurred in 1990 after it was revealed winners Milli Vanilli did not do their own vocals on their debut album. The award was revoked, but was not handed out to another artist.
Of the 48 awards presented in the category since its inception, the honor has been presented to 24 solo female artists, 15 duos or groups, and 11 solo male artists. Between 1997 and 2003, all the winners were solo female artists. Also, for 14 years, no winner was a solo male artist. In 2006, John Legend broke this trend, which started with Marc Cohn in 1992. Only four artists have won both Best New Artist and Album of the Year in the same year: Bob Newhart in 1961, Christopher Cross in 1981, Lauryn Hill in 1999 and Norah Jones in 2003.
1984 marked the first time that all of the nominees were from outside of the United States (Culture Club, Eurythmics, and Musical Youth were from England, Big Country was from Scotland, and Men Without Hats were from Canada).
In 2009, Lady Gaga's exclusion from the Best New Artist category has caused the Recording Academy to change eligibility requirements for the next ceremony. She was ineligible for the nomination because her hit "Just Dance" had been nominated in 2008. The new rule states that an artist can be nominated as long as the artist hasn't released an entire album and doesn't win. Jennifer Hudson faced the same situation as she was ineligible because she had been nominated with Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media for Dreamgirls in 2008.
^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Grammy Awards held that year.
^[II] Award not given.
^[III] Milli Vanilli were originally presented with the award, but were later stripped of it. Originally, the runner-up was to be awarded, but since no one wanted it, a new winner was not announced.
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- ^ List of nominees for the 54th Grammy Awards
- ^ List of nominees for the 55th Grammy Awards