Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Grammy Nominations: For Your Consideration for Best New Artist

On December 5, the nominations for the 2013 Grammy Awards, which commemorates music released from October 1, 2011-September 30, 2012 (confusing, right?) with shiny trophies in a televised event, which is 80 percent performances from the eventual winners. It's no secret that artists who perform will trophies. Otherwise there would be a ton of no-shows to the event.

Forget the ceremonies for a moment. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is probably the most out-of-touch Academy involved in culture. While in recent years they have nominated and awarded artists who are representing the cultural shifts in music, often they are dubious. For instance, there is a possibility that One Direction might be nominated for Best New Artist. Really? Then there are times when the Academy is bold and goes against what others want and reward some fascinating and talented musicians. For the same category, jazz singer-songwriter Ezperanda Spalding won over Justin Bieber (along with popular acts Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine, and former "Degrassi" star turned rapped Drake) in 2010. This left those twits who call themselves Biebliebers outraged, since they are awful people who cry and scream when they don't get exactly what they "biebelieve" they deserve.

Several of the frontrunners like Gotye and fun. are worthy of a Grammy nod (if not the win) in this category as well as in several other categories, this post is not focusing on the popular frontrunners. Here are several artists that are not being widely discussed who should be considered, if not earn a nomination for Best New Artist on December 5.

Alabama Shakes

Formed in 2009 in Alabama, they started their path to rock stardom as a cover band, performing locally and around the South, including Birmingham and Memphis. They even opened for Drive-By Truckers for a few shows before finally recording a demo EP of their original material. This quartet fuses southern charm, soul, and hard rock into its performances and on their debut album, Boys & Girls, which peaked #8 on Billboard.

Hunter Hayes

It's been awhile since a country solo artist has been in this category. Crossover acts Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry scored a nod in recent years, but the last solo artist was Carrie Underwood, who won the prize, in 2007. The 21-year old Louisiana native not only writes his own material, he plays guitar (as well as bass), accordion, piano, mandolin, bass, and drums. He can be his own band. In fact, he played every instrument on his self-titled debut album. Until that happens, he is currently touring with past Best New Artist recipient Underwood in a 90-city tour that will most likely conclude just in time for the Grammys ceremony.

Imagine Dragons

Not a lot of musicians or original musical talent break out of Vegas, but the success rate is pretty substantial. (The Killers, The Crystal Method, Ne-Yo). While "It's Time" was one of the biggest hits of the summer, their best track from their debut album is "Radioactive", a piercing and remarkable piece of stadium rock 'n' roll. We want people to hear that song and feel empowered,” singer-songwriter Dan Reynolds explains.

Of Monsters and Men

Not since Bjork has Iceland exported such a talented musical act. Unlike Bjork, Of Monsters and Men is more about song performance than high theatricals and occasionally polarizing imagery. Their sound is dreamy and light yet consistent, entertaining blend of sing-along folk and rock-pop. The first time I heard "Little Talks", I thought it was a new track from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros or a different version of Arcade Fire (the six-piece Icelandic group have been compared to both bands). They were recently profiled on PBS in a program profiling international musical acts that aspire to entertain and offer a wonderful alternative to the bubblegum and manufactured pop that Top 40 radio has to offer.

Emeli Sandé

Before her debut album was released in February 2012, she already had a successful career as a songwriter, penning lyrics for artists like Rihanna, Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle, and Cher Lloyd. She gained major exposure when she performed at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics in London. Even though she is young (age: 25), she has more than a decade of songwriting skills to her resume. She wrote her first song at age 11




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