The Best New Artist prize is one of the more divisive categories at the annual Grammy Awards. The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) has been famously hit or miss with their selections, which include a healthy dose of monster talents (Adele, Alicia Keys, Sade) as well as a startling number of embarrassing, wholly forgettable choices (Milli Vanilli, Arrested Development, Starland Vocal Band).
Well, while it’s still a few hours until we learn who the 2012 Grammy nominees for Best New Artist are going to be—we’ll have the nominees for you tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT—we thought we’d pull together a few of the most likely contenders for you. This year, they include:
It’s been Nicki Minaj‘s year to shine, as the young star has been party to high profile collaborations with superstars like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Birdman, Drake and Britney Spears. Not only does she got that boom-ba-doo-doom, boom-ba-doo-doom super bass, this melding of Lady Gaga, Lil Kim and an anime princess is the most exciting thing to happen to hip hop this year.
Yesterday, we introduced you to the upper reaches of our Top 100 Videos of 2011 … So Far list, serving up the #100-51 videos that you’ve been clicking on most so far this year. Although a hefty portion, consider that first installment just an appetizer for today’s first course and tomorrow’s main entree. Going a bit deeper into the list, we now give you #50-11, inching closer and closer to #1.
50. Train, “Hey, Soul Sister”
49. Goo Goo Dolls, “Notbroken”
48. Jennifer Lopez, “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”
47. Jennifer Hudson, “Where You At”
46. Beyonce, “Run The World (Girls)”
45. My Chemical Romance, “SING”
44. Adam Lambert, “If I Had You”
43. Fitz and The Tantrums, “Money Grabber”
42. Kid Rock ft. Sheryl Crow, “Collide”
41. Bruno Mars, “Just The Way You Are”
It’s a new month, so say “Au revoir” to Christina Perri and welcome June’s Posted artist, The Civil Wars. It seems only yesterday the duo was a VH1 You Oughta Know group, but now they’ve come off a successful tour stretch with Adele and later this month will be kicking off a mostly sold-out headlining West Coast tour. (They grow up so fast!)
Don’t forget to check Posted.VH1.com all month long for exclusive updates from the band.
The Civil Wars stopped by our offices a couple of weeks ago for a You Oughta Know Live performance in our lobby, and our co-workers were all struck by the Nashville-based duo’s on-stage chemistry. Not only do John Paul White and Joy Williams lock eyes while singing duets, the two have voices that sound like they were created to harmonize together. This “musical alchemy,” as Joy refers to it, may have helped the pop-folk act top charts on iTunes and Billboard and land an opening spot for Adele, who blogged that they are “the BEST live band i have EVER seen.” VH1 photographer Jen Marigliano spent time with The Civil Wars on their recent trip to NYC, documenting the duo’s style and how the two interact on and off the stage. More images after the jump. — Matt Muro
“Start of the day: Cooper Square Hotel, NYC” — Joy Williams
Fresh off of his appearance on yesterday’s Big Morning Buzz Live, we had the opportunity to sit down with Matt Nathanson, former You Oughta Know artist and the voice behind 2009′s platinum hit, “Come On Get Higher.” The self-proclaimed “music nerd” constantly suggests that his Twitter followers tap into the experience of listening to artists’ full albums, so every morning, he recommends one LP per day via the hashtag #morningrecords. The tune talk doesn’t stop there for Matt Nathanson, though; with a new album coming June 21st, he has his ears to the street, and since he’s a You Oughta Know alumnus, we were curious to know what artists he thinks are “on the rise.”
You Oughta Know artists The Civil Wars may not have been hand-selected by Adele to open her United States shows, but they’ve wasted no time winning her over. The chart-topping British singer gushed about the duo on her blog: “If you’re coming to any of the shows on this trip make sure you get there early to see them. I’ve never been so blown away.” She joins fellow superfan Taylor Swift, who has tweeted about the band, seen them live, and included “Poison and Wine” (also Adele’s favorite track) in a playlist for iTunes.
The Civil Wars performed the song a week ago Friday on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and as part of their set for You Oughta Know Live: Read more…
You Oughta Know artists The Civil Wars wowed the VH1 offices with a heartfelt and observant You Oughta Know Live performance a few weeks back. The duo quickly won the initially skeptical crowd over, but when they closed their set with a haunting (and surprising) cover of The Smashing Pumpkins‘ “Disarm,” the audience was awestruck. Re-imagined as a tragic duet, the song’s angst is all the more touching. Who knew that The Civil Wars were as skilled at arrangement as they are at songwriting?
Check out the whole set, including their single “Barton Hollow,” exclusively at VH1.com. And, don’t forget, one of the best ways to stay abreast of the latest bands that are emerging from the shadows and beginning to claim the spotlight is by frequently checking out the MTV Music Meter, where the Civil Wars currently occupy the #10 spot on the chart.
You Oughta Know artists The Civil Wars wowed the VH1 offices with a heartfelt and observant You Oughta Know Live performance a few weeks ago. After winning over a skeptical crowd with a heartfelt rendition of their single “Barton Hollow”, Joy Williams ducked behind the keyboard for what John Paul White called “the loud version” of their tragic duet “Poison & Wine” (viewable above). White and Williams are not involved with each other?they’re married to other people?but nonetheless when they locked eyes for the refrain “I don’t love you but I always will,” their vocal performance conveyed an emotion that felt just as real.
Watch the exclusive three-song set and stay with us for more on The Civil Wars.
We’re always excited when a You Oughta Know artist comes to our offices and performs an exclusive You Oughta Know Live set, but The Civil Wars particularly enthralled the room (even if the “room” was our lobby). Before they took the impromptu stage, the audience was more hesitant than usual, largely hanging by the elevators or against the back wall.
But the instant they launched their their four-song set with their single “Barton Hollow,” the band’s presence drew in the crowd; Joy Williams and John Paul White are almost instinctual performers. Williams in particular accentuated her vocals by gesturing and dancing, and when, on “Poison & Wine” (“the loud version,” as White called it), she was behind the keyboard, the two locked eyes, not only to “perform” the doomed love of the song but also as a substitute for any rhythmic accompaniment besides White’s strumming (which also allowed them to end on a rather long shared note). These two belong on a stage. No wonder they scored opening gigs for Adele next month.