This year, Megan Thee Stallion was up against Phoebe Bridgers, Doja Cat, Noah Cyrus, CHIKA, Ingrid Andress, D Smoke and Kaytranada for the award. The group of talented nominees was the most diverse Best New Artist lineup in history. For the first time ever, the category included three openly LGBTQIA+ artists, CHIKA, Kaytranada and Phoebe Bridgers.
For her speech, Megan Thee Stallion held back tears before thanking her fellow nominees, those on her team and her mom.
“First of all, I wanna say [that] everybody is amazing,” she says. “Every artist that was nominated for this award is so amazing so shout out to all of you. Secondly, I just really want to thank God because thank you for putting life into my body to even be here today….I really wanna say thank you to my mama, she’s not here with me today, but I know she’s here with me in spirit. She always believed I could do it.”
You can follow along with the rest of the 2021 Grammys winners here and watch Megan Thee Stallion’s acceptance speech below.
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These days, it’s hard to not scroll through TikTok or Instagram without hearing Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage.” The song became a viral sensation last summer, however, its popularity online is nothing new for Megan Thee Stallion. Along with “Hot Girl Summer,” “Body” and “Girls In The Hood,” her collab with Cardi B on “WAP” has also taken the internet by a storm.
Since its release in August, “WAP” has been at the center of viral TikTok remixes, controversial covers, parodies, tweets and Jack Black dance routines. Shortly after the collab took over the charts and social media, Megan Thee Stallion released her debut full-length album Good News.
The 17-track record is full of collabs with artists such as Big Sean, 2 Chainz, SZA, DaBaby and, of course, Beyoncé. Together, the duo reimagined “Savage,” a collab that went on to debut at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Following all of this, Megan Thee Stallion is now a four-time Grammy nominee. Along with Best New Artist, “Savage Remix” is nominated for Record Of The Year, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. During the Grammys Premiere Ceremony, Beyonce and Megan Thee Stallion won Best Rap Performance. You can watch her speech below.
For this year’s awards show, Megan Thee Stallion is bringing “WAP” to the Grammys stage for a performance with Cardi B. Their appearance marks the first time “WAP” has ever been performed live. The duo is among a slew of other artists performing during the ceremony including Brittany Howard, Roddy Ricch, and BTS among others.
Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé’s “Savage (Remix)” is available to stream below.
Over the years, a slew of talented artists have taken home the Best New Artist award. Last year, Billie Eilish won the category during her historic Grammys sweep. She is now the youngest and first-ever female to win all four major Grammys categories in one night. According to Google Trends, Eilish is also the most searched Best New Artist winner in history.
Before Eilish’s win, Dua Lipa was named the Best New Artist in 2019. Alessia Cara, Chance The Rapper, Meghan Trainor, Sam Smith and fun. are just a few of the artists who have won Best New Artist in the past decade.
More on the 2021 Best New Artist Grammy nominees
Best New Artist is just one of four awards Bridgers is nominated for this year. Her sophomore album Punisher snagged a Best Alternative Music Album nomination while her hit single “Kyoto” is up for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song.
Since the release of Punisher in June, Bridgers’ career has soared. Punisher went on to peak at No. 6 on the Billboard Album Sales chart. She also made her debut on Saturday Night Live last month where she performed “Kyoto” and “I Know The End.”
Earlier this week, she revisited “Kyoto” for an emotional rendition with singer/songwriter Jackson Browne. The recording is part of Spotify‘s Singles series that features this year’s Best New Artist nominees.
Along with her solo music, Bridgers has also teamed up with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus for the supergroup boygenius. Together, they released their debut self-titled EP in October 2018. Dacus and Bridgers also appear on “Favor,” off of Baker‘s new album Little Oblivions.
Last year, the trio recorded backing vocals for “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris,” one of the songs on Paramore frontman Hayley Williams‘ debut solo album Petals For Armor. Along with winning Best Rock Song in 2015 for “Ain’t It Fun,” Paramore were nominated for Best New Artist in 2008.
Bridgers is also among the artists teaming up with Paul McCartney to reimagine his 2020 album. McCartney III Imagined features St. Vincent, Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Idris Elba and Dominic Fike among others. For the new release, which arrives on April 16, Bridgers has recorded a new rendition of McCartney’s “Seize The Day.”
“One of my favorite people called me and was like, ‘If you hadn’t gotten nominated, the Grammys would be bullshit establishment—but the fact that you are is the best thing to ever happen,’” she told Variety. “Of course, it’s a dream, and the most special part to me is to be nominated this year, with so many artists who made the records that got me through the pandemic.”
Bridgers is celebrating Women’s History Month as our Alternative Press cover star. For the premiere Power Issue: Women Rising, we’re highlighting an array of strong, independent women in rock music and within alternative culture.
.@phoebe_bridgers Power Issue: Women Rising, AltPress Issue 392
— altpress (@AltPress) February 26, 2021
“Kyoto” is available to stream below.
After going viral on TikTok, the song was eventually remixed with Nicki Minaj. Soon after the collab’s release, it shot to No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, both artists’ first No. 1 on that particular chart. Back in August, “Say So” was even certified triple platinum by the RIAA.
Over the past year, Doja Cat has gotten creative with her “Say So” performances. For the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, she performed a Cabaret-inspired rendition of the track. Then, in November, she channeled her inner rock god for the European Music Awards. For the awards show, Doja Cat gave a nod to a horror movie classic with her metal-inspired version of “Say So.”
This past year, Doja Cat has teamed up with a slew of artists for some explosive collaborations. She is featured on Anne-Marie’s single “To Be Young” and Bebe Rexha’s “Baby, I’m Jealous.” Earlier this year, she also teamed up with Disclosure for a remix of “Streets.”
Doja Cat is taking the stage alongside Post Malone, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift among others for a special Grammys performance. Earlier this week, she opened up about her nominations to the Grammys. When asked how the phrase “Grammy-nominated Doja Cat” sounds to her, she had a simple response.
“It sounds crazy,” she told the Grammys. “Also, because I didn’t like my name for a long time. I named myself when I was, like, 16. But now, I feel like it makes sense. It’s all coming together. It’s all full circle and I’m very happy about that.”
Doja Cat’s backstage interview and “Say So” are available to stream below.
Cyrus comes from a family full of performers that have a rich history with the Grammys. Her sister Miley Cyrus was nominated for her first and only Grammy in 2015 when Bangerz was included in the Best Pop Vocal Performance category. As well, her dad Billy Ray Cyrus has been nominated seven times throughout his career.
Last year, he took home Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Old Town Road – Remix” with Lil Nas X. As well, back in 1993, he was even nominated for Best New Artist. However, the award ended up going to Arrested Development.
Now, Cyrus is creating her own history with the Grammys. Her Best New Artist nomination marks the first-ever in her career. Back in 2016, she launched her music career with her debut single “Make Me (Cry),” her emotional collab with Labrinth. Since then, she’s earned almost 13 million monthly Spotify listeners and worked with a slew of artists including Marshmello, Hit-Boy, XXXTENTACION, Gallant and Leon Bridges.
Cyrus recently told the Recording Academy just how much this nomination means for her. Ultimately, she is proud that her music is getting recognized by such a prestigious awards show.
“I mean, it was just kind of like a moment of ‘they’re listening’ and people are listening and people are not just looking at you, they’re hearing your words,” Cyrus told the Recording Academy. “As a songwriter, [that] is the most rewarding thing. So, you know, to be nominated as being one of the best new artists, that means a lot. Just being recognized for my artistry and [for] the songs that I write because that’s the most important part of all of this for me is the music.”
For Cyrus, she is incredibly honored to be nominated among so many talented women in this year’s Best New Artist category.
“There are so many women in my category and it’s amazing that we’re all being recognized,” she continues. “I feel like the nomination automatically is a win whenever it comes to being nominated for something as crazy as the Grammys. I’m just excited to be able to go and share that moment of being a Grammy-nominated artist.”
Cyrus’ Grammys interview and “All Three” can be streamed below.
Alabama rapper CHIKA is a first-time Grammy nominee this year. Back in 2018, she grew in popularity after sharing a freestyle calling out Kanye West for supporting Donald Trump. Since then, she went on to release her debut EP INDUSTRY GAMES which has now earned her a Best New Artist nomination.
Earlier this week, CHIKA joined fellow Grammy nominees HAIM and Brittany Howard for Pandora’s LIVE Countdown to the Grammy Awards event. In between their performances, each artist opened up about their nominations. For CHIKA, she is incredibly proud to be nominated after just releasing her debut EP.
“To get this acknowledgment, such high regard, off my first year out is incredible to me but also something I’m still processing,” CHIKA said during the Pandora event. That entire process of making the project and everything was a labor of love and I’m really excited that this is now what’s come from it.”
This week, she partnered up with Spotify for their Best New Artist Singles series where she covered Eilish’s vulnerable “my future.” CHIKA also debuted a rendition of her hit “U Should” for the series. For CHIKA, “my future” represents where she is currently at in her career. So, choosing this song to cover for Spotify was a no-brainer.
“I picked ‘my future’ by Billie Eilish as my BNA cover for Spotify because the song is beautiful,” CHIKA said in a press release. “[It] presents an interesting opportunity to talk about where I am as an artist, especially on the heels of this nomination. My present is moving so fast that each passing moment is practically the future already. And I’m in love with the ride I’m on.”
CHIKA’s “my future” cover and “DESIGNER” are available to stream below.
This year, Andress is up for three awards. Her album Lady Like is nominated for Best Country Album while “More Hearts Than Mine” is in the Best Country Song category. Back in 2010, Andress got her start on NBC’s The Sing-Off where she performed in a group called Pitch Slapped. Unfortunately, the group’s performance of Cobra Starship and Leighton Meester’s “Good Girls Go Bad” led to their elimination in the first episode.
However, Andress made her triumphant return the following year as part of Delilah and competed alongside Pentatonix. Eventually, Andress and her Deliliah bandmates ended their run on the show in sixth place after performing Aerosmith’s “Dream On.”
Of course, Andress’ career didn’t stop there. In fact, it was just getting started. Since appearing on the show, she’s gone on to perform alongside artists such as Tim McGraw, Dan + Shay and the Band Camino. She has also co-written numerous songs including Charli XCX’s “Boys” and Fletcher’s “About You.” After years of writing music for other artists, Andress finally put out her debut album Lady Like in 2020.
The LP includes her now Grammy-nominated single “More Hearts Than Mine” which peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart in May. Lady Like also includes a rendition of “More Hearts Than Mine” with Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman.
Earlier this month, Andress opened up to the Grammys about her nominations. As it turns out, she was not expecting to be nominated at all.
“When I found out I was nominated, I definitely lost it for a minute,” Andress told the Grammys. “I’m pretty sure I fell out of my chair because I was not expecting to be nominated at all. It felt really amazing especially since 2020 was such a gross year so it was a great way to end the year for me as a new artist.”
Andress’ Grammys interview and “More Hearts Than Mine” are available to stream below.
In just a few years, D Smoke has gone from high school teacher to Grammy-nominated artist. Back in 2019, D Smoke went on to win Netflix’s hip-hop competition show Rhythm + Flow. Since then, his career has skyrocketed. That same year, he released his EP Inglewood High which followed up his 2006 debut LP Producer Of The Year. Then, in 2020, he put out his latest full-length album Black Habits. The latter album helped him earn two Grammy nominations this year for Best New Artist and Best Rap Album.
Perhaps the biggest collaboration on Black Habits is his song “Gaspar Yanga” with Snoop Dogg. Since the video for the collab dropped in April, it’s earned over 11 million views on YouTube. Jill Scott, SiR, Davion Farris and Ari Lennox are among the other collabs on the album.
Earlier this year, D Smoke opened up to Entertainment Tonight Canada about his Grammy nominations. For him, he thinks these nominations are proof that people are always seeking out music that is real and relatable to them.
“This Grammy nomination, it’s big,” he told Entertainment Tonight Canada. “It opens up a conversation for what our culture needs and wants. I think all of the crazy things that happened this year are really sobering and I think people require, at this moment more than ever, music that speaks to them at a deep level. I always tell people that there’s no expiration date on realness. People need incredible art.”
“Gaspar Yanga” is available to stream below.
Louis Kevin Celestin has only released two studio albums under the Kaytranada moniker, but the Canadian electronic artist has actually been around for years. Back in 2010, the DJ/producer got his start as Kaytradamus. In 2013, however, he changed his name to Kaytranada and went on to release 99.9% in 2016.
Last year, he followed up the debut album with BUBBA which has collaborations with Tinashe, Estelle and Pharrell Williams among others. Along with his Best New Artist nomination, Kaytranada is also up for Best Dance/Electronic Album for BUBBA. As well, “10%” with Kali Uchis is up for Best Dance Recording.
Since Kaytranada has been around for a while, he was surprised by the Best New Artist nomination. For him, he thinks it might be time for the category to get renamed.
“I’m still kind of surprised,” he told Billboard earlier this month. “Maybe they should rename it ‘breakthrough,’ or something like that, because a lot of artists in this category have been around for quite a while. I’ve been making music for a long time. For me to be categorized as best new artist is still kind of like, ‘Okay, that’s interesting.’”
Regardless of this, Kaytranada is still looking forward to hearing his name being called out on TV.
“It’s not going to be like the categories they’re not presenting on TV,” he told Billboard. “I’m actually going to be on TV—my name called. It’s crazy to think about that.”
Over the years, Kaytranada has collaborated with numerous artists including Vic Mensa on “DRIVE ME CRAZY,” off of 99.9%. Then, in 2018, he dropped “NOTHING LIKE U” with Ty Dolla $ign. More recently, he worked with Busta Rhymes on a remix of “The Don & The Boss” and with Dua Lipa on a remix of “Don’t Start Now.”
“10%” is available to stream below.
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