Scroll To See More Images
For many, Grammys are a sign of success in the music industry, but for some who believe in the Grammys Best New Artist winners curse, the awards are a reason to worry. The Best New Artist category has been at the Grammys since its first ceremony in 1959. Many of its winners have gone on to incredible success, but some have faded into the background—hence the curse. According to believers, the Grammys Best New Artist curse is an act’s inability to recreate their success from their debut year. Essentially, beginner’s luck but the stakes are times a 1,000.
One such believer is Taffy Danoff of Starland Vocal Band, who took home the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1977. In a 2002 interview for VH1’s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders, Danoff explained how the award overhyped the band and led their fallout. “We got two of the five Grammys—one was Best New Artist. So that was basically the kiss of death and I feel sorry for everyone who’s gotten it since,” she said.
However, not every Best New Artist winner has had a similar fate to Starland Vocal Band. In fact, many have become the household names we know today. Ahead are the Grammy winners who beat the Best New Artist Curse.
The Beatles – 1965
It should come as no surprise that The Beatles was the Best New Artist winner in 1965 (and, TBH, the century.) The band, who beat artists like Petula Clark and Morgana King, went on to win a total of seven Grammys in their decade-long career. They also received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and have the most Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles of all time with 20. Their most successful single is “Hey Jude.” Safe to say, they weren’t a victim of the Best New Artist curse.
Carly Simon – 1972
Simon beat artists like Bill Withers and Chase for Best New Artist in 1972. The singer, who was best known for her songs “You’re So Vain” and “Nobody Does It Better,” went on to win another Grammy in 1990. She also has an Oscar, as well as a Golden Globe for her song “Let the River Run” from Working Girl.
Bette Midler – 1974
Midler won Best New Artist in 1974 over artists like Marie Osmond and Barry White. Since then, Midler has gone on to win two more Grammys, as well as two Emmys in 1992 and 1997. She’s also the winner of a Tony Award for her performance in Hello, Dolly! in 2017, which means that she’s one award away from an EGOT. Though she doesn’t hold an Oscar, Midler has been nominated twice.
Cyndi Lauper – 1985
After her win for Best New Artist in 1985, Lauper, who beat artists like The Judds and Corey Hart, went on to score 15 more nominations. The singer, who was best known for songs like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “True Colors,” won her second Grammy in 2014 for her musical Kinky Boots. She also has an Emmy and a Tony.
Sheryl Crow – 1995
Crow is one of the most decorated female Grammy winners of all time. She won Best New Artist in 1995 over acts like Green Day and Counting Crows. Since then, Crow, who’s known for songs like “All I Wanna Do” and “Soak Up the Sun,” has scored a total of nine awards and 32 nominations.
LeAnn Rimes – 1997
Rimes became one of the youngest Grammy winners in 1997 when she took home the award for Best New Artist and beat artists like Jewel and No Doubt. She also won a Grammy for her song “Blue” that year. Since then, Rimes has become a country icon, as well as has transitioned to film in cult-favorite movies like Coyote Ugly.
Lauryn Hill – 1999
Hill beat artists like the Backstreet Boys, Natalie Imbruglia and Dixie Chicks to win Best New Artist in 1999. The artist, who was first known as a member of the Fugees, is known for tracks like “Doo Wop” and “Ex-Factor.” She’s also regarded as one of the most influential female rappers to shape hip-hop.
Christina Aguilera – 2000
Aguilera’s Best New Artist win came in 2000. The singer, who beat artists like Britney Spears and Kid Rock, went on to win four more Grammys. She’s also scored four number-ones on the Billboard Hot 100, has been a coach on The Voice and been nominated for a Golden Globe.
Alicia Keys – 2002
Keys is the fourth most decorated woman in Grammys history. The singer won Best New Artist in 2002 and beat acts like Nelly Furtado and Linkin Park. She has a total of 15 awards from 21 nominations and scored two number-one singles and four number-one albums on the Billboard charts.
Maroon 5 – 2005
Maroon 5 took down artists like Kanye West and Joss Stone to win Best New Artist in 2005. The band, who is known for songs like “She Will Be Loved” and “This Love,” went on to win two more Grammys. But most of the band’s success is on the radio. The group has four number-ones on the Billboard Hot 100 and multiple top 10 singles. Their lead singer, Adam Levine, was also a longtime coach on The Voice.
John Legend – 2006
Legend beat acts like Ciara, Fall Out Boy and Keane for his Best New Artist win in 2006. The singer, who is known for songs like “Ordinary People” and “All of Me,” went on to win nine more Grammys for a total of 10. He’s also won two Emmys, an Oscar and a Tony, making him one of the few EGOTs in the entertainment industry.
Amy Winehouse – 2008
Winehouse learned about her Best New Artist win at a concert in London in 2008. The ceremony streamed her reaction, which showed shock on her face as she discovered that she won multiple awards in 2008, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. She beat artists like Taylor Swift and Paramore for Best New Artist that year. The singer died of alcohol poisoning in 2011, but her legacy lives on as one of the most beloved Best New Artist winners of all time.
Adele – 2009
Adele is another Grammys record holder. The singer, who is known for songs like “Chasing Pavements” and “Hello,” has a total of 15 awards from 18 nominations. She beat artists like the Jonas Brothers and Lady Antebellum for Best New Artist in 2009. Since then, Adele has won a Golden Globe and an Oscar and scored three number-one albums.
Sam Smith – 2015
Smith beat acts like Iggy Azalea, Bastille and Haim for Best New Artist in 2015. The singer has since gone on to win three more Grammys, as well as an Oscar and a Golden Globe. He also has had five number-ones on the Billboard Hot 100 and has collaborated with artists like Normani, Calvin Harris and John Legend.
Dua Lipa – 2019
Lipa may be one of the most recent Best New Artist winners but her career is promising. She won the award in 2019 and beat artists like H.E.R., Bebe Rexha and Chloe x Halle. Lipa, who won a second Grammy that year for Best Dance Recording, has had two number-one singles in the U.K. and multiple top 10 hits.