Grammy's Best New Artist winners, ranked by popularity today
Best New Artist is one of the most coveted honors at the annual Grammy awards presented by the Recording Academy each February. Despite what some may think, the award is not based on popularity of the artists in a given year, but on the Academy voters’ perception of how the artist will fare in the future. But is winning any indication of future success? While some go on to record-breaking careers, others fade into obscurity.
Given all of this, it’s a somewhat eclectic bunch that makes up the class of Best New Artist alumni. Ranging from influences in soul and world music to grunge and alt-rock, there are few similarities among the group. Stacker decided to see whether the artists went on to maintain their level of popularity years later by assessing the number of their Wikipedia page views in 2018 and their average number of Spotify plays per month.
Click through to see where your favorite lands and whether they went on to fame, notoriety, or less glamorous fates.
#58. Peter Nero (1961)
2018 Wikipedia page views: 21,836
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 60
Monthly Spotify listeners: 43,279
Pianist Peter Nero rose to fame with his interpretations of Gershwin and other popular composers. Also a conductor of the Philly Pops orchestra, he is best known for the million-selling album “Summer of ‘42.”
#57. The Swingle Singers (1963)
2018 Wikipedia page views: 36,910
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 102
Monthly Spotify listeners: 135,718
This French vocal group famous for taking classical materials and switching them to an a cappella swing setting originally was headed by American expatriate Ward Swingle. There were seven other original members, and their album debut, “Jazz Sebastian Bach,” earned the collective a Grammy Award.
#56. A Taste of Honey (1978)
2018 Wikipedia page views: 70,463
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 195
Monthly Spotify listeners: 171,023
A Taste of Honey was a disco group that formed in the early ‘70s and consisted of Janice Marie Johnson, Hazel Payne, Perry Kibble, and Donald Ray Johnson. Their song “Boogie Oogie Oogie” was #1 on Billboard’s charts three weeks in a row and sold more than 2 million copies.
#55. Starland Vocal Band (1976)
2018 Wikipedia page views: 89,400
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 248
Monthly Spotify listeners: 215,955
Based in the 1960s folk scene, the Starland Vocal Band started as acoustic duo Fat City (Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert). This pair—plus Jon Carroll and Margot Chapman—produced the enormously popular “Afternoon Delight” single in the summer of 1976, which took over the airwaves and even led to the group’s short-lived CBS TV show featuring a then up-and-comer named David Letterman.
#54. Shelby Lynne (2000)
2018 Wikipedia page views: 98,268
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 272
Monthly Spotify listeners: 70,721
Shelby Lynne’s eclectic sound ranged from country, blues, Southern soul, roots rock, jazz, and adult contemporary pop. When she finally found her own sound on the 1999 album “I am Shelby Lynne,” it marked the beginning of her being embraced by critics and fans alike.
#53. Arrested Development (1992)
2018 Wikipedia page views: 129,967
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 360
Monthly Spotify listeners: 639,810
After selling 4 million copies of their first album in 1992, Arrested Development looked like they were headed for big things. However, the hip-hop group—also known for “Mr. Wendal,” an uncomfortably upbeat song about a wise homeless man—quickly faded from popularity after their explosion onto the music scene.
#52. Rickie Lee Jones (1979)
2018 Wikipedia page views: 150,506
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 417
Monthly Spotify listeners: 170,629
Cult favorite Rickie Lee Jones is best known for her folk and jazz styles combined with lyrical songwriting. Her unique style caught the ear of critics and audiences and led to her winning the 1979 Best New Artist Grammy in 1979.
#51. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (2013)
2018 Wikipedia page views: 152,084
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 421
Monthly Spotify listeners: 8,109,967
American hip-hop artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis memorably combined forces to produce several songs in the 2000s and 2010s, including “Same Love” and “Can’t Hold Us.” The pair parted ways professionally in 2017, but both continue to work their solo careers.
#50. Paula Cole (1997)
2018 Wikipedia page views: 157,374
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 436
Monthly Spotify listeners: 710,863
Paula Cole rose to fame in the mid-1990s when her song “I Don’t Want to Wait” was featured as the theme for the WB hit “Dawson’s Creek.” She was nominated for seven Grammys and won Best New Artist in 1997, in addition to headlining Lilith Fair.
#49. Jody Watley (1987)
2018 Wikipedia page views: 164,936
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 457
Monthly Spotify listeners: 143,283
Known as the “Queen of Cool,” Watley started her career as the central member of dance-soul trio Shalamar before embarking on a solo career. It was a wise move—her self-titled debut album earned her the Best New Artist Grammy in 1987.2018 All rights reserved.