With 18 tracks on Billboard’s Hot 100 list, it’s no surprise that Billie Eilish took home the 2020 Grammy for ‘Best New Artist.’
However, the 18-year-old first gained media attention in 2015 after releasing her song ‘Ocean Eyes’ on SoundCloud. She soon began to take the world by storm after debuting her EP Don’t Smile at Me in 2017.
If Eilish already had prominence prior to her 2019 album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, how was she nominated for the highly sought-after category?
The Recording Academy recently announced changes to the Grammy Award categories, ‘Best New Artist’ being one of them. This category has been controversial in the past, with the guidelines loosening up multiple times in the last decade.
Previously, there was a cap on how much work could be published by the artist- 30 singles/tracks, or 3 albums. Now that cap has been removed, and “screening committees will determine whether the artist had attained a breakthrough or prominence prior to the eligibility year.”
The artist still must have “released a minimum of 5 singles/tracks or one album,” but what qualifies as “new” isn’t so black and white.
“It’s what allowed artists like Chance The Rapper and Dua Lipa to take home ‘Best New Artist’ trophies, despite releasing multiple bodies of work that were widely consumed prior to their victory,” says Charles Holmes from Rolling Stone.
Do you think the new rules for ‘Best New Artist’ are fair? Will the eligibility requirements continue to change in years to come? Only time will tell.