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Best New Artist Grammy Winners of the Past 20 Years

Billie Eilish, winner of the Best New Artist award at the 2020 Grammy awards.

Billie Eilish, winner of the Best New Artist award at the 2020 Grammy awards.

Now that the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards are over with, let's take a look back at the past winners in the category of Best New Artist. From Christina Aguilera to Chance the Rapper, some of the most successful artists in the industry have nabbed the coveted Grammy. Let's revisit the winners of the past 20 years.

Best New Artist Winners From 2000-2020

  • 2000: Christina Aguilera
  • 2001: Shelby Lynne
  • 2002: Alicia Keys
  • 2003: Norah Jones
  • 2004: Evanescence
  • 2005: Maroon 5
  • 2006: John Legend
  • 2007: Carrie Underwood
  • 2008: Amy Winehouse
  • 2009: Adele
  • 2010: Zac Brown Band
  • 2011: Esperanza Spalding
  • 2012: Bon Iver
  • 2013: Fun.
  • 2014: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • 2015: Sam Smith
  • 2016: Meghan Trainor
  • 2017: Chance the Rapper
  • 2018: Alessia Cara
  • 2019: Dua Lipa
  • 2020: Billie Eilish
Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera

2000: Christina Aguilera

Nominees: Christina Aguilera, Macy Gray, Britney Spears, Kid Rock, Susan Tedeschi

Born: December 18, 1980

From: Staten Island, New York, NY

Genre: Pop, R&B, dance-pop, soul

Where are they now?

  • Christina Aguilera has gone on to win five Grammy Awards and one Latin Grammy Award.
  • She has sold over 75 million records worldwide.
  • She has released eight studio albums, including the critically-acclaimed Stripped (2002) featuring the ballad “Beautiful.”
  • The pop diva ventured into the acting world with the 2010 musical Burlesque, and was a judge on the competition television series The Voice from 2011 to 2016.
  • She headlined her own Las Vegas residency in 2019 and released her most recent album, Liberation, in 2018.
Shelby Lynne

Shelby Lynne

2001: Shelby Lynne

Nominees: Shelby Lynne, Brad Paisley, Papa Roach, Jill Scott, Sisqó

Born: October 22, 1968

From: Quantico, VA

Genre: Americana, Pop Rock, Country, Rock

Where are they now?

  • Country/pop singer Shelby Lynne’s first and only Grammy win was for Best New Artist at the 2001 ceremony, for her pop/rock and blues-inspired album I Am Shelby Lynne (2000).
  • Despite the album being her sixth studio album, Lynne nabbed the coveted Grammy award for her work and went on to release eight more albums.
  • Her most recent work was 2017’s Not Dark Yet, a collaboration she did with sister and fellow country/Americana star Allison Moorer.
Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys

2002: Alicia Keys

Nominees: Alicia Keys, India.Arie, Nelly Furtado, David Gray, Linkin Park

Born: January 25, 1981

From: Hell's Kitchen, New York, NY

Genre: R&B, soul, jazz, hip-hop

Where are they now?

  • R&B singer and songwriter Alicia Keys released her debut album Songs in A Minor in 2001, featuring her massive chart-topping hit single “Fallin’.”
  • The album went on to sell 16 million copies and earned her the Grammy for Best New Artist.
  • She would go on to release five more successful studio albums, selling 65 million records worldwide and earning 15 competitive Grammy Awards and 17 NAACP Image Awards.
  • Keys will be releasing her seventh studio album, Alicia, this year.

2003: Norah Jones

Nominees: Ashanti, Michelle Branch, Norah Jones, John Mayer, Avril Lavigne

Born: March 30, 1979

From: Manhattan, New York

Genre: Pop, jazz, folk, country

Where are they now?

  • Norah Jones has had a very successful career since her 2003 Grammy for Best New Artist, going on to sell more than 50 million records worldwide.
  • Her debut album Come Away with Me (2002) spawned hits like “Don’t Know Why” and the titular track.
  • She has won an additional eight Grammy Awards, and was named the top jazz artist of the 2000s by Billboard.
  • Jones released six more studio albums and eight collaborative albums, with her most recent work being 2019’s Begin Again.


2004: Evanescence

Nominees: 50 Cent, Fountains of Wayne, Sean Paul, Evanescence, Heather Headley

Origin: Little Rock, AR

Years active: 1995–present

Genre: Rock, metal

Where are they now?

  • Evanescence released their first full-length album, Fallen, in 2003, which sold more than 17 million copies.
  • The band, fronted by pianist and lead singer Amy Lee, would earn two Grammy Awards out of six nominations for the album.
  • Evanescence went on to release three more albums, and have sold more than 23 million records.
  • After two brief hiatuses, the band released their most recent work, Synthesis, in 2017.

2005: Maroon 5

Nominees: Los Lonely Boys, Maroon 5, Joss Stone, Kanye West, Gretchen Wilson

Origin: Los Angeles, California

Years active: 1994–present

Genre: Pop, pop rock, funk rock, blue-eyed soul, neo-soul, soft rock

Where are they now?

  • Pop rock band Maroon 5 first came together in 1994, under the name Kara’s Flowers.
  • After a lukewarm response, the group re-emerged in 2001 as the newly named Maroon 5, and released their debut studio album, Songs About Jane, in 2002.
  • They released five more studio albums, and have sold more than 120 million records.
  • With hits like “She Will Be Loved,” “Moves Like Jagger,” and “Sugar,” Maroon 5 continue to top the charts. They have nabbed an additional two Grammys since their debut.
John Legend

John Legend

2006: John Legend

Nominees: Ciara, Fall Out Boy, John Legend, Sugarland, Keane

Born: December 28, 1978

From: Springfield, Ohio

Genre: R&B, soul, pop

Where are they now?

  • R&B singer John Legend released his debut album, Get Lifted, in 2004, nabbing three Grammy Awards including Best New Artist at the 2006 ceremony.
  • He released five more studio albums since his debut, amassing a whopping 31 total Grammy nominations and an additional seven wins.
  • His mega-hit song “All of Me” was written for wife Chrissy Tiegen. It sold 12.3 million units worldwide.
  • Legend won the Academy Award for best Original Song for co-writing the song “Glory,” and in 2018 became the first Black male to officially achieve an EGOT.

2007: Carrie Underwood

Nominees: Chris Brown, Carrie Underwood, Imogen Heap, James Blunt, Corrine Bailey Rae

Born: March 10, 1983

From: Muskogee, OK

Genre: Country, country pop, country rock

Where are they now?

  • Country superstar Carrie Underwood rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol.
  • She released her debut album, Some Hearts, in 2005.
  • She had huge crossover success with singles like “Before He Cheats” and “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and won three Grammy Awards for the album.
  • Underwood has since released five more studio albums and has sold 70 million records worldwide.
  • She has received four more Grammy Awards, 14 ACM Awards and 11 Billboard Music Awards. Her most recent album Cry Pretty was released in 2018.

2008: Amy Winehouse

Nominees: Amy Winehouse, Taylor Swift, Paramore, Ledisi, Feist

Born: September 14, 1983

From: Chase Farm Hospital, Enfield, United Kingdom

Genre: Soul, blue-eyed soul, neo-soul, rhythm and blues, jazz

Where are they now?

  • With the release of her second studio album Back to Black (2006), blue-eyed soul singer Amy Winehouse nabbed a whopping five Grammy Awards for her work.
  • The album spawned hit songs, including “Rehab,” “You Know I’m No Good,” and the titular track, all of which were met with critical-acclaim.
  • The album has since sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.
  • Winehouse was plagued by alcohol and drug addiction, and tragically died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011 at the age of 27.

2009: Adele

Nominees: Duffy, Adele, Jonas Brothers, Jazmine Sullivan, Lady Antebellum

Born: May 5, 1988

From: Tottenham, London

Genre: Pop, R&B, blue-eyed soul

Where are they now?

  • English singer-songwriter Adele burst on to the music scene with the release of her debut album, 19, in 2008, earning the artist two Grammys, including Best New Artist.
  • The album went on to sell seven million copies worldwide, and included hits like “Hometown Glory.”
  • Adele has since released two more smash hit studio albums, and has sold more than 120 million records.
  • Her sophomore album 21 featured singles like “Someone Like You” and “Rolling in the Deep,” and in 2012 she won an Academy Award for “Skyfall,” which she co-wrote and recorded for the James Bond film of the same name.
  • Adele has won a whopping 15 Grammys in her career so far.
Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown Band

2010: Zac Brown Band

Nominees: Keri Hilson, MGMT, Silversun Pickups, Zac Brown Band, The Ting Tings

Origin: Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

Years active: 2002–present

Genre: Country, Southern rock, hard rock, country pop, country rock, emo, folk rock, bluegrass, reggae

Where are they now?

  • Country/rock group Zac Brown Band released their debut studio album, The Foundation, in 2008, featuring their hit single, “Chicken Fried.”
  • The album was certified triple-platinum and earned them the Best New Artist award.
  • They have released an additional five albums, including their most recent work The Owl (2019). The band has been nominated for eight Grammys and have won three.
Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding

2011: Esperanza Spalding

Nominees: Justin Bieber, Drake, Mumford & Sons, Esperanza Spalding, Florence & The Machine

Born: October 18, 1984

From: Portland, Oregon

Genre: Jazz, jazz fusion, bossa nova, neo soul, R&B

Where are they now?

  • American singer and jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding beat out big names Justin Bieber and Drake for Best New Artist at the 2011 ceremony, becoming the first jazz artist to win the award for her record Chamber Music Society (2010).
  • Spalding has released seven studio albums and has earned four Grammys.
  • She is currently nominated for two awards for her 2020 album 12 Little Spells.

2012: Bon Iver

Nominees: Bon Iver, Skrillex, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, The Band Perry

Origin: Eau Claire, Wisconsin, U.S.

Years active: 2006–present

Genre: Indie folk, folktronica, art pop

Where are they now?

  • American indie folk band Bon Iver won Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album for their sophomore record Bon Iver (2011).
  • Fronted by singer Justin Vernon, Bon Iver has released four studio albums, most recently with I,I in 2019.
  • The band has two Grammy Awards and eight nominations under their belt, and hit songs like “Holocene” and “Beth/Rest.”

2013: Fun.

Nominees: Frank Ocean, The Lumineers, Fun., Hunter Hayes, Alabama Shakes

Origin: New York City, New York

Years active: 2008–present

Genre: Indie pop, alternative rock, indie rock, baroque pop

Where are they now?

  • American pop rock band Fun. released their award-winning sophomore studio album, Some Nights, in 2012, earning six nominations and winning two Grammys for Song of the Year and Best New Artist. The album included the chart-topping hits “We Are Young,” featuring Janelle Monáe, and “Some Nights.”
  • The band is currently on a hiatus.
  • Member Jack Antonoff has written and produced songs for artists like Taylor Swift, Lana Del Ray, Lorde, and more.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

2014: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Nominees: Ed Sheeran, James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kacey Musgraves

Born: June 19, 1983

From: Seattle, WA

Genre: Hip-hop

Where are they now?

  • Hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis splashed onto the music scene with 2012’s The Heist, spawning massive hits, including “Thrift Shop,” “Same Love,” and “Can’t Hold Us.”
  • The album has sold over 1.4 million copies and earned the pair the award for Best New Artist.
  • They released their follow-up record This Unruly Mess I’ve Made in 2016, before going on hiatus in 2017.
  • Macklemore released his second studio album Gemini in 2017, which debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200.

2015: Sam Smith

Nominees: Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, HAIM, Bastille, Brandy Clark

Born: May 19, 1992

From: London, United Kingdom

Genre: R&B, pop, soul

Where are they now?

  • English singer and songwriter Sam Smith first rose to fame in 2012 after being featured on Disclosure’s hit single “Latch.”
  • Smith’s debut studio album, In the Lonely Hour, was released in 2014 and received widespread critical-acclaim.
  • It featured the international smash-hit single “Stay with Me” in addition to “I’m Not the Only One” and “Lay Me Down.”
  • Smith was nominated for six Grammys and won four, including Best New Artist.
  • They have since released 2017’s The Thrill of It All (2017), which debuted atop the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.
Meghan Trainor

Meghan Trainor

2016: Meghan Trainor

Nominees: Tori Kelly, James Bay, Meghan Trainor, Courtney Barnett, Sam Hunt

Born: December 22, 1993

From: Nantucket, MA

Genre: R&B, pop, doo-wop, blue-eyed soul

Where are they now?

  • After signing with Epic Records in 2014, pop singer and songwriter Meghan Trainor earned three top-five singles with her debut studio album, Title, in 2015.
  • Her breakout song “All About That Bass” topped the charts for eight consecutive weeks, and her album was certified triple platinum.
  • She won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist the following year, and went on to release her follow-up sophomore album, Thank You, in 2016.
  • Trainor third record, Treat Myself, is set to be released January 31, 2020.
Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper

2017: Chance the Rapper

Nominees: Chance the Rapper, The Chainsmokers, Maren Morris, Anderson Paak, Kelsea Ballerini

Born: April 16, 1993

From: Chicago, IL

Genre: Hip-hop, R&B

Where are they now?

  • Hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper began his music career by releasing mixtapes 10 Day (2012) and Acid Rap (2013), before releasing his third mix-tape, the critically-acclaimed Coloring Book in 2016. The record earned him three Grammy Awards
  • Coloring Book became the first streaming-only album to win a Grammy Award.
  • Chance the Rapper followed up his success with his debut studio album, The Big Day, in 2019.
  • Aside from his music career, Chance is involved in social activism in his Chicago community.
Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara

2018: Alessia Cara

Nominees: SZA, Khalid, Julia Michael, Lil Uzi Vert, Alessia Cara

Born: July 11, 1996

From: Brampton, Canada

Genre: Pop, Contemporary R&B, soul, indie pop, alternative R&B

Where are they now?

  • Pop and contemporary R&B artist Alessia Cara hit the music scene with her debut single, “Here,” a sleeper hit in the United States.
  • It was the lead single from her debut album Know-It-All (2015).
  • She won Best New Artist in 2018, becoming the first Canadian artist to ever win the award.
  • Cara famously teamed up with rapper Logic and singer Khalid for the meaningful song “1-800-273-8255,” the title being the phone number for the American National Suicide prevention Lifeline (NSPL).
  • Her follow-up album, The Pains of Growing, was released in 2018.

2019: Dua Lipa

Nominees: Dua Lipa, Chloe x Halle, H.E.R., Jorja Smith, Bebe Rexha, Greta Van Fleet, Margo Price, Luke Combs

Born: August 22, 1995

From: London, United Kingdom

Genre: Pop, dance-pop, synth-pop, R&B, dream pop

Where are they now?

  • English singer and songwriter Dua Lipa released her eponymous debut album in 2017, which featured her hit singles “New Rules” and “IDGAF.”
  • The songstress took home two trophies for her album, including Best New Artist and Best Dance Recording.
  • Her self-titled album became the most-streamed female album ever on Spotify, eventually going platinum.
  • Her sophomore album, Future Nostalgia, is set to be released in early 2020.
Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish

2020: Billie Eilish

Nominees: Black Pumas, Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, Maggie Rogers, Yola, Tank and the Bangas, Rosalía

Born: December 18, 2001

From: Los Angeles, California

Genre: Alternative pop, dance-pop, electropop, pop, indie pop

Where are they now?

  • Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell (born December 18, 2001) is an American singer, songwriter, and musician.
  • She first gained media attention in 2016 when she uploaded the song "Ocean Eyes" to SoundCloud. It was subsequently released by the Interscope Records subsidiary Darkroom.
  • The song was written and produced by her brother Finneas, with whom she collaborates on music and live shows. Her debut EP, Don't Smile at Me (2017), reached the top 15 in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.
  • Eilish's debut studio album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019), debuted atop the Billboard 200 and became the best-performing album of 2019 in the U.S.
  • She's set to continue touring and recording new music in 2020.
Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Maggie Rogers

Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Maggie Rogers

© 2020 Rachel M Johnson


Rachel M Johnson (author) on February 02, 2020:

Hi Kelly Ann, I’m glad you enjoyed the article nonetheless!

Kelly Ann Christensen from Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas on February 01, 2020:

There are several of these I do not even know who they are, but there is so much of this stuff I just do not like anymore. I enjoyed your article.