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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Wikipedia page views: 169,754
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 470
Monthly Spotify listeners: 862,038
Cohn is best known for the adult contemporary hit “Walking in Memphis,” released in 1991, the same year he won the Best New Artist Grammy. His follow-up featured big names like David Crosby and Graham Nash, but his career momentum slowed for several years after.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 202,878
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 562
Monthly Spotify listeners: 47,318
American composer, pianist, and conductor Marvin Hamlisch was best-known for his film scores throughout the 1970s, including those for “The Sting” and “The Way We Were.” He is also renowned for his work in theater, TV, and classical music as well, producing scores for hits like the Broadway musical “A Chorus Line.”
2018 Wikipedia page views: 218,220
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 604
Monthly Spotify listeners: 144,233
Debby Boone counts multiple celebrities as family members, including Pat Boone for a father, singer Rosemary Clooney as her mother-in-law, and José Ferrer as her father-in-law. She became known when her song “You Light Up My Life” lit up the charts at #1 in 1977.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 277,430
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 769
Monthly Spotify listeners: 120,254
Goulet starred as Lancelot in the Lerner and Loewe production of “Camelot” on Broadway before going on to win the Best New Artist Grammy in 1962. He was known for such recordings as “If Ever I Would Leave You” and “My Love, Forgive Me.”
2018 Wikipedia page views: 290,264
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 804
Monthly Spotify listeners: 14,015
Brothers Bruce and John Hornsby and their band The Range were the force behind a number of 1980s piano-driven soft rock hits. Their most famous song was “The Way It Is,” off their album of the same name, which sold 2 million copies and stayed on the charts for a year and a half.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 311,681
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 863
Monthly Spotify listeners: 174,604
1960s country star Bobbie Gentry made her own clothes, had her own TV show, and painted her own album art, all in addition to writing her own songs. She enjoyed a period of intense fame from 1967 to 1971, followed by a Las Vegas residency that included Elvis among its fans. The writer behind hits like “Ode to Billie Joe” and “Fancy”—famously covered by Reba McEntire—Gentry retired from the spotlight in 1981.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 317,314
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 879
Monthly Spotify listeners: 3,523,923
Australian group Men at Work came on strong with their first album, “Business as Usual,” which broke the American record for the most weeks a debut spent at the top of the charts. The group’s irreverent sense of humor, catchy guitar hooks, and wailing saxophones helped them carve their niche in new wave history.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 332,449
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 921
Monthly Spotify listeners: 423,691
American jazz bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding won the Best New Artist Grammy in 2011, much to legions of Beliebers’ disbelief. She had already cemented her role as a prodigy in jazz circles, however, graduating from Berklee College of Music in three years and becoming, at age 20, the youngest instructor in the school’s history. She had also recorded three albums by the time of her Grammy win and has recorded three more since then.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 341,630
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 946
Monthly Spotify listeners: 1,833,416
The Texas-born American singer-songwriter is best known for the single “Sailing” from his self-titled debut album, for which he won the Best New Artist Grammy. In fact, Cross won five Grammys total in 1980. Cross counts Joni Mitchell among his influences and continues to make music today.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 388,802
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,077
Monthly Spotify listeners: 2,842,045
Sade—a band named for its Nigerian-born lead singer—is known for creating soulful, adult-oriented, sophisticated pop music. The single “Smooth Operator” from the group’s debut album “Diamond Life” made it to the Billboard Hot 100, which likely influenced their Grammy win.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 391,903
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,086
Monthly Spotify listeners: 3,166,122
Led by the charismatic, cross-dressing Boy George, Culture Club rose to fame as part of the New Wave movement in the early 1980s. Their catchy brand of pop-soul—including the upbeat “Karma Chameleon”—led them to seven straight top 10 hits in the U.K. and six top 10 singles in the U.S. Although Boy George continued to enjoy fame, the group was short-lived, breaking up by 1986.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 422,225
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,170
Monthly Spotify listeners: 736,905
Scottish pop diva Sheena Easton was inspired to pursue a singing career after seeing Barbra Streisand in “The Way We Were.” She had a number of hits in the 1980s, including “We’ve Got Tonight,” a duet with Kenny Rogers, and singles “Modern Girl” and “9 to 5.”
2018 Wikipedia page views: 427,996
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,186
Monthly Spotify listeners: 4,780,481
Country-bluegrass-reggae crossover stars The Zac Brown Band broke onto the scene in 2008 with their debut single “Chicken Fried.” The tune went platinum when it was released, leading to the band securing Best New Artist the following year.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 446,907
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,238
Monthly Spotify listeners: 17,138,648
Puerto Rican guitarist, singer, and composer Jose Feliciano became widely known for his 1968 cover of the Doors’ “Light My Fire,” which he followed up with the 1970 pop hit “Feliz Navidad.” Feliciano's take on the Spanish-language Christmas song is now one of the most-played songs in the pop canon.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 501,445
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,389
Monthly Spotify listeners: 3,749,313
Best remembered for the song “A Horse with No Name,” the ‘70s soft-rock group America made a name for itself with pop hooks, great harmonies, and unusual lyrics. America's song “Ventura Highway” has popped up as a road-trip theme in productions such as “Veronica Mars” and “We are Marshall.”
2018 Wikipedia page views: 501,929
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,390
Monthly Spotify listeners: 1,276,145
Hootie and the Blowfish's blues-rock sound was an anomaly in the grunge-heavy airwaves of the 1990s. The group's hits include “Hold my Hand,” “Let Her Cry,” and “Only Wanna Be With You,” which continue to be soft-rock staples. Today, lead singer Darius Rucker is enjoying a new chapter as a country solo artist. The group has also announced a reunion tour and new album for 2019.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 560,471
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,553
Monthly Spotify listeners: 6,029,727
This indie rock group blew up in 2012 with its sophomore album “Some Nights,” with a single by the same name and “We Are Young,” featuring vocals by Janelle Monáe. Guitarist Jack Antonoff is also a prolific producer who has worked with artists such as Lorde and Taylor Swift.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 561,334
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,555
Monthly Spotify listeners: 4,481,932
Late-2000s indie folk band Bon Iver is headed by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. His efforts on “For Emma, Forever Ago” caught the eye of Kanye West, who influenced the release of the band’s self-titled album that eventually netted the group two Grammy awards, including Best New Artist, in 2011. Although Bon Iver is more or less a critical darling, the name famously confused mainstream listeners who took to Twitter to voice their confusion over this “Bonnie Bear” person.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 573,601
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,589
Monthly Spotify listeners: 1,960,133
After his departure from '60s psych-folk outfit The Byrds, David Crosby formed a new band with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. That group's debut album featured such tracks as “Guinevere” and “Long Time Gone.” Soon after, the band known to fans as CSN became CSNY when Neil Young was added to the roster for stretches of time.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 664,131
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,840
Monthly Spotify listeners: 9,405,550
Karen Carpenter and her brother Richard formed 1970s pop duo The Carpenters, and had their first big hit with the Burt Bacharach-penned “(They Long to be) Close to You.” After a string of other hits, including “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Rainy Days and Mondays,” Karen’s health began to fail due to complications from anorexia. She died at the young age of 32.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 711,145
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,970
Monthly Spotify listeners: 3,130,306
Daughter of mid-century singer Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole made a name for herself with her 1975 album “Inseparable.” Her R&B sound on songs such as “(This Will Be) An Everlasting Love” and others earned her two Grammy awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 712,321
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 1,973
Monthly Spotify listeners: 1,691,903
Pop singer and songwriter Bobby Darin was known for such '50s and '60s hits as “Splish Splash” and “Mack the Knife.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame decades after his untimely death at age 37 in 1973.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 828,538
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 2,295
Monthly Spotify listeners: 2,280,783
Carly Simon, who wrote the 1972 hit single “You’re So Vain,” was married to fellow singer James Taylor. The couple became royals of ‘70s folk-rock but had a highly publicized divorce in 1983. Simon was the first artist to have won an Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe for a single track, 1988’s “Let the River Run.” She continues to tour and perform—and even made an appearance on an album by Damon Albarn’s animated supergroup Gorillaz in 2017.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 872,509
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 2,417
Monthly Spotify listeners: 2,442,350
Sheryl Crow majored in music education and taught elementary school before moving to Los Angeles to pursue her own music career. Once she went solo in 1995, she won her first three of nine Grammy awards, including Best New Artist and Record of the Year for “All I Wanna Do”—originally produced with her band, Tuesday Music Club—and performed on MTV’s Unplugged and at Lilith Fair.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 902,000
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 2,499
Monthly Spotify listeners: 454,819
Milli Vanilli was the dance-pop duo made famous for being stripped of their Grammy award for Best New Artist; once it was determined that Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan had been lip-syncing to pre-recorded tracks, their award was rescinded.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 952,291
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 2,638
Monthly Spotify listeners: 4,678,728
2000s-era post-alternative group Evanescence, fronted by Amy Lee, had an international multi-platinum hit with their first album, "Fallen." The group’s operatic goth-pop sound on such tracks as “Bring Me to Life,” which includes a male rap solo due to record company pressure, and “My Immortal” led to two Grammys, but also caused rifts within the group. Though there have been some replacements of various band members, the group continues to perform and produce music today.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 999,591
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 2,769
Monthly Spotify listeners: 8,042,733
Norah Jones, the daughter of renowned Indian musician Ravi Shankar, won five Grammy awards for her jazz-inspired first album, "Come Away with Me." She continues to enjoy musical success on her own and in collaboration with other artists, including Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, and has acted in feature films such as “My Blueberry Nights” alongside Natalie Portman and Jude Law.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,048,414
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 2,904
Monthly Spotify listeners: 1,054,304
The multitalented performer has been praised for her work in theater, music, and acting—and garnered awards in each of these genres. In fact, her first album "The Divine Miss M" went platinum and was the impetus for her receiving the 1973 Best New Artist Grammy.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,193,546
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 3,306
Monthly Spotify listeners: 4,296
Bob Newhart was the first artist to win Grammys in both the Album of the Year and Best New Artist categories, a feat that would only be replicated by three others. His comedy album, “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart,” was the first comedy album to hit #1 on Billboard's chart.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,225,886
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 3,396
Monthly Spotify listeners: 4,808,545
Tracy Chapman’s eponymous debut album rose to the top of the charts in 1988 in both the U.S. and U.K., featuring critically acclaimed singles like “Fast Car” and “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution.” Although her commercial success peaked in 1995 with her best-selling hit “Gimme One Reason,” she continues to work as a performer and activist.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,243,256
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 3,444
Monthly Spotify listeners: 5,574,116
Country singer LeAnn Rimes made history when she captured the 1996 Best New Artist Grammy, both as the first country artist to receive the award and as the youngest individual performer to receive a Grammy. Her follow-up, “You Light Up My Life”—which featured her smash single “How Do I Live”—was the first album in music history to simultaneously debut at #1 on the country, pop, and contemporary Christian charts.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,274,241
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 3,530
Monthly Spotify listeners: 2,898,015
After being signed by Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds to Arista subsidiary LaFace Records, Toni Braxton released the single “Love Shoulda Brought You Home” and her self-titled debut album. The R&B singer known for her unique alto voice and such hits as “Unbreak my Heart” and “You Mean the World to Me” has suffered significant financial trouble in recent years, even filing for bankruptcy.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,277,349
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 3,538
Monthly Spotify listeners: 8,424,554
Chance the Rapper was the first artist to have an album (“Coloring Book”) win a Grammy based solely on streaming. The album blends soul, gospel, and hip-hop, and was the artist and activist’s third so-called “mixtape.”
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,506,247
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 4,172
Monthly Spotify listeners: 35,047,931
Although they reached the limelight in the mid-2000s for songs including “She Will Be Loved” and “This Love,” Maroon 5 had been performing together for 10 years when they won Best New Artist in 2005. Known for their “funk-soul-pop-rock” sound and good-looking frontman Adam Levine (dubbed 2013’s Sexiest Man Alive), the band enjoyed a comfortable spot on the top of the North American charts as their “Songs About Jane” album went platinum.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,515,760
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 4,199
Monthly Spotify listeners: 1,818,435
Wales-born singer Tom Jones paired up with Gordon Mills as his songwriter and manager for his first hit, “It’s Not Unusual,” landing Jones a record contract in 1964. This precipitated a slew of other chart-toppers—26 U.K. Top 20 hits, to be exact—between 1965 and 1999.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,674,179
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 4,638
Monthly Spotify listeners: 6,685,898
The '80s pop icon from Queens, N.Y., whose hits included “Time After Time” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is known for her eclectic fashion sense and infectious pop melodies. Lauper is also one of the founders of the True Colors Fund, which fights LGBTQ teen homelessness.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,749,637
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 4,847
Monthly Spotify listeners: 15,468,070
Canadian singer Alessia Cara received a guitar from her parents at age 10 and was skillful with it by age 13—when she became known for performing covers on her YouTube channel. She became the first Canadian to win the Best New Artist Grammy in 2017 for her inspirational self-penned pop songs.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,911,774
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 5,296
Monthly Spotify listeners: 21,522,761
Meghan Trainor, whose debut album included such hits as “All About that Bass,” “Lips Are Movin’,” and “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” is a product of the modern era. Her sassy lyrics and catchy melodies stem from years of editing her own music on GarageBand, which she was doing by the time she was 11 years old.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,943,256
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 5,383
Monthly Spotify listeners: 3,283,953
Lauryn Hill’s soulful R&B on “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” album defined a generation as she sang about self-respect and self-love. The record, which featured empowering hits like “That Thing” and “Everything is Everything” took home the Best New Artist Grammy as a result. Though she has been known for her erratic behavior over the years, Hill’s influence remains strong: Her hooks have been sampled in recent hits such as “Nice for What” by Drake and “Be Careful” by Cardi B.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 1,988,268
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 5,508
Monthly Spotify listeners: 41,026,859
U.K. singer Sam Smith won Best New Artist shortly after releasing his debut record, "In the Lonely Hour," and coming out to the world as gay. He won three other Grammys that year, including Record of the Year for “Stay with Me.”
2018 Wikipedia page views: 2,074,608
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 5,747
Monthly Spotify listeners: 12,301,576
Alicia Keys, who wrote her first song at 14, won the Best New Artist Grammy in 2001, the same year her debut album, “Songs in A Minor,” was released. The R&B artist and former coach on NBC’s “The Voice” has won a total of nine Grammys to date.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 2,134,930
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 5,914
Monthly Spotify listeners: 4,108,197
Country superstar Carrie Underwood had her big break when she won Season 4 of "American Idol." She has since been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and co-hosted the Country Music Awards annually with Brad Paisley.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 2,375,849
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 6,581
Monthly Spotify listeners: 18,221,392
Soulful songstress Adele has become an international success with hits such as “Hello,” “Someone Like You,” and “Rolling in the Deep.” The England-born singer has won an impressive 15 Grammys and an Oscar since her breakout at age 19.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 2,475,766
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 6,858
Monthly Spotify listeners: 21,093,299
R&B sensation John Legend started his music career as a child prodigy, playing piano and singing in the church choir. He went on to direct his college a cappella group at University of Pennsylvania and collaborated with Kanye West on his demo. His smooth sound and mainstream appeal have made him a star; in 2018, he became the youngest person and first African-American man to win the distinction of EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards combination).
2018 Wikipedia page views: 2,624,919
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 7,271
Monthly Spotify listeners: 20,538,420
Late-1990s pop sensation Christina Aguilera was at first overshadowed by her fellow "Mickey Mouse Club" alum Britney Spears, who also released an album in the late '90s. However, “Genie in a Bottle” and “What a Girl Wants” launched Christina to the top of the charts and netted her the Best New Artist Grammy in 2000.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 3,442,409
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 9,536
Monthly Spotify listeners: 7,445,083
The “Back to Black” artist, remembered for her signature beehive hairdo and jazz-tinged R&B sound, was also sadly known for self-destructive behavior. The singer met an untimely end at the age of 27 following a long battle with alcohol and drug addiction.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 4,032,361
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 11,170
Monthly Spotify listeners: 45,113,334
Iconic pop diva Mariah Carey is well-known for the holiday mega-hit “All I Want for Christmas is You,” but the singer was first famous for hitting the high notes in such hits as “Fantasy” and “Daydream.” She has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide and is the third best-selling female artist of all time.
2018 Wikipedia page views: 4,634,147
Average daily Wikipedia page views: 12,837
Monthly Spotify listeners: 15,977,781
It’s no surprise that British Invasion legends The Beatles are the most popular artist of all time. The group, which hit the airwaves with their brand of mellow pop in the 1960s and caused Beatlemania to spread across North America, solidified their success with a Best New Artist award. Members Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr went on to enjoy worldwide success respectively as solo artists, although Lennon’s career ended prematurely upon his shocking 1980 assassination.