Every year, we're forced to partake in the madness that is awards season. For the music industry, it doesn't get bigger than Grammy Awards. No matter the category, securing a win is a huge victory that usually sets artists on the road to success. The one category that really separates itself from the mainstream competition is Best New Artist; receiving this award is a huge honor given that it's the Recording Academy's way of nodding to up-and-coming artists. This year's nominees are Chance The Rapper, Anderson .Paak, The Chainsmokers, Kelsea Ballerini, and Maren Morris.
Leading up to the 59th ceremony tonight, I started wondering about all of the previous winners in the category. What have all of these artists been up to since they struck gold? Did they continue to pave careers of success or were they one-hit wonders? I decided to dig deep into the archives and compile a ranking of winners from the past 21 years.
Get the scoop in the gallery, below.
21. Hootie & The Blowfish
Do you remember this South Carolina-based country band? I don't, but then again I was only two years old when they somehow beat Brandy, Shania Twain, Alanis Morissette, and Joan Osborne for Best New Artist in 1996. I don't think that I've ever heard their music before in my entire life, but they seem to have been a big deal. They've been on hiatus since 2008, and I think they should probably stick to it.
20. Zac Brown Band
I will never understand how this band won ahead of The Ting Tings, MGMT, Keri Hilson, and Silver Sun Pickups in 2010. I'm not trying to be a hater, but I really don't get the appeal. Their seventh album is on the way, though, for those who are into them.
19. Shelby Lynne
I've literally never heard of this woman, most likely because she's a country singer and that's just not my genre. Since she won the title in 2001, she started her own label, though, so that's pretty awesome. Go, Shelby.
17. Paula Cole
If it weren't for Dawson's Creek, I would have no idea what Paula Cole sounds like. "I Don't Want To Wait" is a classic that should never be forgotten. Last year, she released an album of live recordings titled This Bright Red Feeling (Live in New York City).
18. LeAnn Rimes
I couldn't name a LeAnn Rimes song if my life depended on it, but I recognize her as a child star. The country singer won Best New Artist back in 1997. Since then, she's released a total of 16 albums which is definitely impressive.
16. Meghan Trainor
I'm still perpetually confused by all of the people who allowed this to happen last year, but the other contenders were Tori Kelly, Courtney Barnett, Sam Hunt, and James Bay. They honestly should have canceled the category for 2016.
I only took an interest in fun. because this guy that I had a crush on during my sophomore year of college listened to them. I only ever listened to the singles off of Some Nights, but I got really sick of hearing their music nonstop everywhere I went in public. The year 2013 was a dark time, and fun. contributed to driving me insane during it. I think that the group must have felt the same way because they took a break; Nate Ruess released his debut solo album Grand Romantic in 2015, and Jack Antonoff has had all hands on deck with Bleachers. If I can go the rest of my life without hearing "We Are Young" ever again, I'll be a happy woman.
14. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
I'm pretty sure that 2014 was the breaking point for society's tolerance of white rappers. The duo hasn't quieted in the few years since they appeared on the national stage. Last year, they dropped their sophomore album, This Unruly Mess I've Made. The duo continued their habit of political response this past November with a track called "Wednesday Morning" a little over a week after the election. This year, they chose not to submit their album to the Grammys.
The emo era was a wonderful time to be young and full of rage. Nothing filled the void quite like Evanescence, the band that my music teacher used to teach us about crescendo by showing us the music video for "Bring Me To Life." (Was this appropriate for a bunch of third graders? I'm not so sure...) The Arkansas-bred rock band earned their trophy back in 2004. They were on a three-year hiatus, but rumor has it that they'll be releasing new music soon.
12. Norah Jones
To this day, I still love listening to Come Away With Me. It has a timeless quality, maybe because 2003 was otherwise such a clusterfuck of noise. Norah Jones won the Best New Artist category the same year that her debut album dropped, and I don't disagree with the verdict. Since then, she's released eight albums including a collaborative effort with Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong. (Random, I know.)
11. Esperanza Spalding
Not only was Esperanza Spalding the first ever jazz artist to receive this award, but she came in on top over Drake and Justin Bieber. (Take that, boys!) The year 2011 was quite the time to be alive. She released her fifth album, Emily's D+Evolution, in 2016 and recently performed at Busboys & Poet's Peace Ball in Washington.
10. Bon Iver
Looking back on 2012, I laugh because I still had no knowledge of Bon Iver. Keep in mind that the other nominees at the time were Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, Skrillex, and The Band Perry. I was a freshman in college, so I was still living in the dark, but eventually, I came around and saw the light in the form of "Skinny Love," "Holocene," and "Hinnom, TX." (Not to mention, I always associate Bon Iver with a white, bearded guy who put on Bon Iver's self-titled album to set the mood before we made out in my college dorm during freshman year.) Frontman Justin Vernon pursued some solo production work by collaborating with other artists like Kanye West and Jay Z when the band went on hiatus. After five years flew by, the band reunited to release 22, A Million in 2016.
9. Maroon 5
It's almost too appropriate that Maroon 5 won in 2005. I was a huge fan of the band up until 2012's Overexposed. (The title really hit the nail on the head, it was total garbage.) My favorite memory of the band has to be when they were featured in the celebrity edition of MTV's Room Raiders, and the contestant failed to pick Adam Levine even though he had products that obviously belonged to a singer.
8. John Legend
Back in 2006, John Legend was just a man serenading us on the piano with "Save Room." Now, the Princeton University-educated musician is setting the standard for relationship goals with his wife, Chrissy Teigen. He recently dropped his fifth full-length record, Darkness and Light. Oh, and he's also a supporting actor in Damien Chazelle's awards sweeping film La La Land.
7. Alicia Keys
In the early 2000s, I couldn't get enough of Alicia Keys. Like most kids in that era, I was obsessed with all of her chart-topping ballads whenever they played on the radio. Keys was only 21 years old when she won Best New Artist, and she's still on top of her game 15 years later. Lately, she's been busy helping to shape the next generation of stars as a coach on The Voice and promoting her sixth studio album HERE.
6. Sam Smith
Sam Smith is still working on his sophomore album, and I hope he releases it soon so my mom will stop playing In The Lonely Hour on repeat in the car when I drive with her. But I'm happy that he won in 2015—he's so talented! I still think that Lana Del Rey would have made more sense for the James Bond movie, but not my call.
5. Carrie Underwood
Has any American Idol contestant been as successful as Carrie Underwood? I'll leave that up for debate, but Rolling Stone considers her to be "the female vocalist of her generation... of any genre." I won't deny her appeal because she swayed me to listen to country music for a hot second with "Before He Cheats." (Slash those tires, girl! Get your revenge!) Now that she's married and raising a family, Underwood has taken a hiatus. Her last album, Storyteller, came out in 2015.
4. Christina Aguilera
No surprise that X-tina was the winner in 2000, the peak of blonde pop stardom. Even though she's grown out of her prime, Aguilera is far from washed. My family really enjoys watching her as a judge on NBC's The Voice.
3. Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill is a living legend, the end. 1999 was a great time for music, and nobody deserved this win more. Since Hill's wave of success in the 2000s, she has popped up to perform at a handful of live gigs—though she never takes the stage on time. Her daughter, Selah Marley, is on the come up, though, so keep your eyes peeled.
I feel like I'm never not listening to Adele these days. She's another artist that I discovered from iTunes when "Chasing Pavements" was available to download for free. Adele beat Duffy Jonas Brothers, Jazmine Sullivan, and Lady Antebellum for Best New Artist in 2009. Her debut album,19 is hailed as her best record to date having sold 100 million records across the globe. Even though Adele initially won everyone over with her ballads about heartbreak, she's happily married now and raising her first child. Without a doubt, Adele is one of the best recording artists of our time. This past November, she released her third album, 25.
1. Amy Winehouse
I distinctly remember downloading "You Know I'm No Good" because it was the Single of the Week on iTunes, and being so blown away by this magnificent voice. Amy Winehouse won the award for Best New Artist in 2008, and the world couldn't take its eyes or ears off of her. She released two albums before she died in 2011, a loss that the industry at large still can't get over. Winehouse's legacy continues to live on through her music, though.