5 Nominees for the Best New Artist Grammy Who Were Already Veterans


As any critic worth his Pitchfork byline can tell you, the Grammys have a really dubious history of picking winners and nominees. One of the most uneven categories is Best New Artist, where winners range from legends like the Beatles, the Carpenters, and Crosby, Stills, & Nash, to -- well -- un-legends like Marc Cohn, the Starland Vocal Band, and Milli Vanilli. This year the category earned double the scrutiny by shunning shoo-in Lady Gaga, with Grammy president Neil Portnow noting that her single "Just Dance" was nominated for a dance award last year. Now that Portnow's coterie has released the 2010 nominees, we can call him on his bluff and point out five examples of Grammy's mistaken "rookie" commemoration.

1. Silversun Pickups

Let's start with this year's nominees and work our way backwards. Silversun Pickups garnered a nod thanks to the favorable reviews of their recent album Swoon, but the L.A. band released its first album in 2006. Portnow might argue that the Grammys haven't honored them before, but that's bunk ideology. If a Grammy statue doesn't fall on your debut album, that means no one's heard it? That doesn't say much for the preciousness of the award or the committee's modesty.

2. Shelby Lynne

The 2001 winner, who beat out Brad Paisley, Jill Scott, Papa Roach (!), and Sisqo (!!), couldn't contain her confusion when brandishing the award. Before thanking her peers, Lynne noted that it took "13 years and six albums" to be deemed Best New Artist. Yikes. Her first album did indeed come out in 1989, and she even charted two Top 40 country hits in 1990, but as with all award shows, sometimes statues are handed out in apology. Lynne's win was, no doubt, Grammy's attempt to vindicate her overlooked oeuvre.

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  • Old No.7 says:

    Louis, I applaud you calling out the huge fucking joke that is Best New Artist award, but God help me, if I ever make it out to L.A., I will kick you square in the junk for ripping on the Blues Brothers film.

  • Nicholas says:

    While I agree the new artist category can be a joke, it's silly to use these arguments in support of lady gaga...she was nominated for a grammy the previous year...come on, it makes since that that would disqualify you as "new".

  • Ted says:

    Who the hell is this talentless hack to piss on the Blues Brothers? Are you kidding me?