More L.A. “Times” Writers Try To Predict Best New Artist Noms, Think Voters Will Remember Who Yael Naim Is

Aug 7th, 2008 // 13 Comments

yael.jpgAnother slow news day brings with it another slew of predictions for Grammy nominations, this time from the bloggers at the LA Times‘ awards blog Gold Derby. Times music writer Todd Martens threw out his predictions for the Best New Artist award last month, prompting Dan Gibson to say that Duffy would probably take home the award and solidify her status as the new, blonder, less-blitzed-out-of-her-mind Amy Winehouse. While both writers, David “Guru” Schnelwar and Darrin “DoubleD” Dortch, have Duffy on their short lists, their other picks are somewhat depressing, if only because they speak to the reasons for the album-sales business being in the toilet loud and clear.



Sara Bareilles



The Jonas Brothers

Lady Antebellum

Leona Lewis

Katy Perry



Yael Naim


The Ting Tings

Vampire Weekend

(Long Shots)

Marie Digby

Little Jackie

Ingrid Michaelson

Kate Nash

Justin Nozuka

Charlotte Sometimes

Thriving Ivory


Leona Lewis




Jordin Sparks


Sara Bareilles

Vampire Weekend

(Long Shots)


Katy Perry

Lady Antebellum

What may be saddest about both these lists: The one band who could actually be seen as anything beyond a one-hit wonder is Vampire Freaking Weekend, who at least have critical . (Jordin Sparks might also transcend this label, although the Idol connection puts her on a different level.) But really, Sara Bareilles? Katy Perry? OneRepublic? Yael “30-Second Clip Wonder” Naim, who should really be angling for that jingle award, should it come to exist? Even Leona Lewis hasn’t really had a second monster single yet, although she is still selling albums at a decent clip.

Also, is there any chance that a hip-hop artist might sneak in there, a possibility that hasn’t even been hinted at by any of these predictions? Surely Soulja Boy’s tireless commitment to self-promotion should at least get him some sort of nod.

Grammy predix [Gold Derby]

  1. Al Shipley

    It’s a little premature to look at a group of artists who’ve only been in the public eye for less than a year and say almost none of them “could actually be seen as anything beyond a one-hit wonder.” Everyone’s a one hit wonder until their second hit.

  2. Maura Johnston

    @Al Shipley: A fair point, but I’d think that the momentum behind a lot of the artists who did have big hits (particularly Bareilles and Naim, whose songs were propelled to the mass audience via ads) would have sustained to a second hit, or at least more album sales than they’ve achieved. Especially in this climate, where the audience’s overall attendance span is much shorter, you have to strike while the iron is hot. (It’s very similar to the climate surrounding alt-rock in the ’90s in a way, only with a much more fragmented populace.)

    Also, Leona Lewis? She should have had a second top 20 hit by now — it’s been how many months since “Bleeding Love”? And I saw a song of hers with a verse by Cassidy, of all people, affixed to it on one of the leak blogs I read. If that isn’t a red-alert…

  3. Al Shipley

    @Maura Johnston: Yeah, I’m not saying a few of those artists don’t seem to be headed in that direction. I guess I’m just getting really weary of the “one-hit wonder” tag getting thrown around so liberally, practically anytime an artist has one hit substantially bigger than their others, is still on their first big single, or just isn’t clearly some big consistent career artist.

    This LAT thing really proves that, no matter if I find the music business ten times more interesting than the movie business, it’s just impossible to pretend predicting the Grammys is anywhere near as fun as predicting the Oscars.

  4. Anonymous

    What I’m slightly confused about is why Duffy isn’t also seen as a depressing pick given she’s an ultra-lite version of Amy with one minor hit in Mercy and was hothoused for four years by her record company with a range of writing teams. Does she really deserve the critical support she’s getting in the States (the UK was decidedly sniffy)?

    Of the others if two hit singles is your minimum criterium One Republic’s pastiche of Coldplay/U2/Radiohead has thrown up both Apologize and Stop and Stare. Sparks as you mention may now be on her way to three hits – almost too many for the award! Lewis’ follow up single seems to be moving in the right direction on the charts and is leaping up Pop radio ‘s spin lists at an unseemly rate – she should also pass 1m album sales and 3m of Bleeding Love in a couple of weeks and the Grammys like their numbers. If she gets a second big hit I think she’ll be hard to beat.

    Not sure Vampire Weekend have had enough success to be in the race. It’s ok being critically well received but “leftfield” choices who’ve only sold a wheelbarrow full of CDs rarely take the award.

  5. Maura Johnston

    @UKidol: I think “Stop And Stare” was something of a disappointment, no? It topped out at No. 12 here.

    We’re pretty lukewarm on Duffy around these parts (she’s more “new Lulu” than “new Dusty”), but American critics are always suckers for music with a “good” British pedigree.

    Vampire Weekend may not be selling as much as Duffy and Leona, true (although I think they’ve sold more than Yael Naim), but the Grammys do tend to have one critical darling on their shortlist. It’s not like Ledisi was selling boatloads when she got her nod last yaer.

  6. Nunya B

    Duffy has grown on me in a big way, actually. The album is Bernard Butler’s success story for the year- and he needs one after Partie Traumatic (which will not get any nominations of any kind, and that is just fine with me).

    As far as the rest of the list- Estelle’s first album was a lot better than her second, but “American Boy” is peculiarly brilliant. Little Jackie- well, it seems odd to be nominating Imani Coppola for anything remotely “new”, and as much as I love the JoBros I really loathe the idea of their receiving critical plaudits of any kind.

    I think Hercules and Love Affair deserve it, but whether or not they are going to appeal to the non-gays/non-hipsters is something I am incapable of determining.

  7. Anonymous

    @Maura Johnston: You’re right Maura, there’s always the chance of a Ledisi, Fountains of Wayne or an Imogen Heap. They never come close to winning though and only get nominated in weak years.

    As for Tedder and his chums, I’d have thought #12 would be classified as a hit given the difficulty bands have in breaking into the upper echelons of what has been a very urbanified Hot 100 for many years.

    Nunya – don’t you wish you’d heard McAlmont sing the Butler-composed Duffy songs though?

  8. dippinkind

    i think Lady Antebellum will probably be around and having some htis for awhile, but those hits won’t be on the pop chart and Bobbie gentry’s the only country artist to have ever won the award

  9. Rob Murphy

    I’m still game for a small wager about Miley Cyrus getting a nom here. I know she’s not a “new artist” as far as her fan base is concerned, but she really didn’t hit the radar screens of most NARAS types in a big way until this (eligibility) year. She’s clearly had a very big year and has shown that it may indeed be possible for tween stars to graduate to the “mainstream” of pop. And remember — this is the category with very malleable eligibility criteria. We all know Shelby Lynne wasn’t a “new artist” when she won the award in 2000, and neither was Joss Stone a “new artist’ when she got a nom in 2005.

  10. wakeupbomb

    I like Duffy.

    Vampire Weekend sucks ass. I can’t believe anyone actually likes these pretentious pricks and their shite music.

  11. wakeupbomb

    Oh, and the Grammy’s are just bullshit anyway. Seriously? The Grammy’s? Who gives a f**k.

  12. Chris N.

    I believe it was the great Flavor Flav who once said, “Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy?”

  13. metalkate

    duffy sucks. i’m not even going to bother with a witty well-reasoned explanation. but she’s crap.

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