Lately, it seems that The Grammys are nominating more artists based on quality than quantity of sales. No other category demonstrates this like the New Artist Category. Last year, music fans were surprised that Eau Claire’s Bon Iver took the prize. A year before that, jazz artist Esperanza Spalding ‘stole’ the award from the presumed winner Justin Bieber.
This year’s nominees include two bands that sold out the Riverside Theater, The Alabama Shakes and The Lumineers. Frank Ocean, whose album has had major crossover appeal into the indie world. Other nominees includes the bands Fun. and a country music artist that I have never heard of by the name of Hunter Hayes (I don’t listen to that much country). Most shocking nominee in this category has to be The Alabama Shakes. The band wasn’t signed to a label till earlier this year, and since then they have had a meteoric rise into stardom.
Other nominee surprises for me include Bjork and Tom Waits nominations for Best Alternative Album, Robert Glasper nomination for Best R&B Album (even though, it is primarily a jazz album). I wonder if artists like these would have ever been nominated a few years ago.
However, one category I wish the Grammys did some more research is the so-called EDM/Electroncia award. Electronic music to me has expanded creatively beyond the confines of the big raves, bad house music and dubstep. Artists like Flying Lotus, Four Tet, James Blake, and other have created amazing albums. Each of their albums illustrates the variety in the genre of electronic music. It leads me to believe that only something with 4/4 beat or a wobble can ever be nominated for this category. That is just my two cents, and at the end of the day, all that really matters is what you or I like. An award doesn’t make an album great. If you want to see the rest of the nominees, click here.