Just Go Ahead And Give The Best New Artist Grammy To Duffy Already

Dan Gibson | July 1, 2008 10:30 am

Todd Martens of the Los Angeles Times is taking a midseason look at the contenders for the Grammy Awards’ fourth or fifth most prestigious award: Best New Artist, which has been given in the past to such luminaries as Paula Cole, Arrested Development, and A Taste Of Honey. Looking at all the exciting music produced by those who qualify for the award, it’s really anyone’s guess who will take home the prize next February. No wait, the winner’s definitely going to be Duffy, isn’t it?

Things obviously haven’t going so well for last year’s winner, Amy Winehouse. But the award has turned a bit of a corner after a rough run in the ’90s, with recent winners including Carrie Underwood, John Legend, and Maroon 5. Still, the winner often seems to be a little predictable once the nominees are announced (did anyone think Ledisi was going to win in February?), so take your best guess (Duffy) of who will win (Duffy) from this list (Duffy) compiled by Martens.

Leona Lewis

The Ting Tings Katy Perry Vampire Weekend Estelle


She & Him

MGMT Lil Mama Duffy

From that list, I think you can immediately forget about She & Him; Merge probably doesn’t carry the clout to pull of a win in a major category, even if the voters are taken in by what Martens describes as “a ’50s-influenced sound, evidenced by Disneyana in songs like ‘Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?’ ” Leona Lewis is generally the sort of act that does well at the Grammys, but without Clive Davis around to work the system in her favor, her pretty girl/good singer act might not be enough. MGMT, the Ting Tings, and Vampire Weekend are unlikely to stand too much of a chance besides a token nomination between them since one “rock” act usually grabs a nod (2008 example: Paramore).

Perhaps most intriguing is Santogold. Santi White been around the business for awhile and is doing an excellent job of turning her album into this year’s version of Moby’s Play, which can’t hurt executives who are wondering where their next revenue stream might come from. Although Santogold’s record itself seems on the verge of being too edgy for the notoriously stogy Grammy-voting bloc, she might be in the right place at the right time to pick up a few votes from those who want the Grammys to look hip.

Still, Martens hits the mark perfectly when describing Duffy’s chances of taking home the award.

Duffy’s vintage soul should be Grammy gold, if voters don’t shy away from lauding a U.K. soul star two years running. On her debut, “Rockferry,”…Also working in Duffy’s favor is her early success. Nearly two months after the album was released, it’s still in the top 20, which is an impressive feat for a newcomer….

She’s a perfectly inoffensive choice. Like Winehouse, Duffy’s retro-themed tunes recall an era more than stand on their own. There’s a bit more of a vagueness to an act like She & Him, a sense of familiarity that one can’t quite place, but Duffy’s appealingly sweet sense of song-craft works to her advantage.

Familiarity, vagueness, inoffensive appeal? Sounds like someone should clear a place on her mantel back in Wales.

Grammys midway Part 1: Estelle, Katy Perry and an early look at 2008’s notable new artists [LA Times] Grammys midway Part 2: Duffy, Zooey, Santogold and more [LA Times]