From Anitta To Wet Leg, Get To Know The Grammys Best New Artist Nominees
The coveted Best New Artist award at the Grammys has the power to catapult a relatively obscure if not entirely unknown artist to great heights. Some of the biggest names in music history have had their careers transformed by this accomplishment. Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5, Chance the Rapper, and Megan Thee Stallion have each won in this category, and their respective success speaks for itself.
This year, an astonishing 10 artists are competing to be included in that illustrious list. Anitta, Omar Apollo, DOMi & JD Beck, Samara Joy, Latto, Måneskin, Muni Long, Tobe Nwigwe, Molly Tuttle, and Wet Leg are all up for Best New Artist, and they come from all corners of the globe. Who will make history? Tune into the 2023 Grammys on February 5 to see. In the meantime, here is what you need to know about the nominees.
Her real name is Larissa de Macedo Machado, but she is better known as Anitta. The Brazilian-born Latin pop star is known for her versatility as a singer and songwriter as well as her ability to fuse disparate elements of pop, reggae, and R&B. Though she debuted in the early 2010s, Anitta is riding high on the success of her April 2022 album Versions of Me, which showcases a woman unafraid to reveal her strength and vulnerability, as she displayed with a memorable performance at the 2022 VMAs. She is raw and candid on tracks such as “Envolver,” “I’d Rather Have Sex,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” and “Gimme Your Number.” These songs all earned 1 billion streams on Spotify, a feat recognized by Guinness World Records.
Omar Apollo is a real rags-to-riches story. Born in Mexico and raised in Indiana, he came of age working a regular job by day and, at night, honing his skills by listening to Prince to Paul Simon. The end result of all that studying is his debut album Ivory, which was released in April 2022. It is a uniquely multifaceted labor of love that blends everything from traditional Mexican folk to electro-pop and funk. He also taps into sparse R&B and alternative/indie music on tracks such as “Evergreen.” “I’m just trying not to waste the opportunity,” Apollo told MTV News in 2022 about his success. “I’m trying to honor it.”
Domi & JD Beck
After first meeting at the 2018 National Association of Music Merchants Show, French pianist Domi Louna and American drummer JD Beck linked up and began making music together, backing up folks like Thundercat and Anderson.Paak. Now on their own, the young duo is looking to keep jazz alive with the Zoomer and TikTok generations. Their artistry is a combination of wholesomeness and silliness as demonstrated by their 2022 debut, Not Tight. An innocent longing for love is expressed in their song “Take a Chance,” which features Paak, and a particular strand of goofiness is on display in “Sniff.” They’ve worked with Grammy favorites like Snoop Dogg, Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande, and more, so they certainly keep good company.
In the tradition of Etta James, Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughn, and Ella Fitzgerald, the Bronx’s Samara Joy possesses the vocal skills and presence of an incomparable jazz and blues artist. Her 2022 release Linger Awhile follows her 2021 self-titled debut album with even more soul and pays homage to Black women singers who paved the way for her. She channels all the greats with covers of Wilson’s “Guess Who I Saw Today,” Ronnell Bright’s “Sweet Pumpkin,” and Nina Simone’s “Can’t Get Out of This Mood.” Able to connect with audiences of all ages, you can find her on both TikTok and the Today show.
Atlanta rapper Latto, born Alyssa Michelle Stephens, has made it abundantly clear that she is here to stay. In the historically male-dominated world of hip-hop, she has become a force to be reckoned with since her breakout in 2019, one of the most outspoken and vibrant artists working today. In the tradition of Missy Elliott and Megan Thee Stallion, she has forged her own path with her creativity, envelope-pushing, and authenticity. After the release of her 2019 smash “Bitch from Da Souf,” she has only gotten stronger. Her growth culminated in her 2022 album 777, which channels pop and R&B while staying true to hip-hop. She embodies her hit track “Big Energy” to perfection.
Italian glam-rock group Måneskin is looking to bridge the gap with music between the seedy past of classic rock and a bold new future. In 2017, they made their mark on Italy’s X Factor and won second place with a rendition of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons classic “Beggin’”. Since then, the quartet’s snaky riffs, gender-bending, and indie style have made them a hit — including on the 2022 VMA stage. Their recent album Rush proves that they have cemented their place in a musical climate where rock and roll is here to stay.
Songwriters and producers don’t always have an easy transition from behind the scenes to the main stage. But don’t say that to Muni Long. After garnering a Grammy nomination in 2022 for her production on H.E.R.’s Back of My Mind — and for building a résumé of songs with Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, and Fifth Harmony — she is letting her voice be heard. Last year’s project Public Displays of Affection is a compilation of a decade’s worth of songs, including the sensational and sensual R&B/soul hit “Hrs and Hrs.”
Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but sometimes things end up working out for the better. Houston-born rapper Tobe Nwigwe originally had aspirations to make it in the NFL. While playing football at the University of North Texas, he suffered a foot injury that sidelined him from the game permanently. He then picked up a microphone and started rapping with his kids and wife Ivory. He posted videos online and hit the ground running. From 2017 until now, he has released nine acclaimed EPs. His latest work, 2022’s moMINTS put his hometown in the spotlight in a way that would make Scarface and the Geto Boys proud. Tracks such as “Destruction,” “Lord Forgive Me, “and “Catfish Blackened” showcase a body of work that is authentic, community-based, and family-oriented.
Bluegrass artist Molly Tuttle is looking to place herself among the greats in the genre’s storied tradition. A student of the Berklee College of Music, she can write songs and play banjo and guitar. Her 2022 project Crooked Tree is a touching homage to her humble roots and appreciation for music. She even went back to her family farm near San Francisco to draw inspiration for the album. Its title track, made with the band Golden Highway, is storytelling through song at its best.
The tandem of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers like to spice things up as Wet Leg. With the release of their self-titled debut album last year, (one of MTV News’s favorite albums of 2022) the British duo have leaned all the way into the fun and free-spirited, best showcased on “Chaise Lounge,” which has become their signature tune. Its Little House on the Prairie-themed video, which was set in the duo's native Isle of Wight, is part and parcel of their style. Sometimes a song doesn’t have to be about anything. Pretty in keeping for a group that began while riding on the Ferris wheel.