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Best New Artists; Are They Cursed?

March 1, 2023 | Ingrid Gruber
The 2023 Grammy season has come and gone, but can the same be said for the past winners of the esteemed Best New Artist award? Some of our favorite artists have received the title of Best New Artist, awarded by the Recording Academy year after year. Samara Joy, an up-and-coming artist and recent graduate of Purchase College, is the most recent winner of this Grammy. Before her came Olivia Rodrigo, Megan Thee Stallion, and Billie Eilish, for all of whom it is too soon to determine whether or not the curse holds true. However, for previous winners including Fun, Evanescence, and Paula Cole, it seems far too real. 

For those who follow “the curse,” it has come to be known as the pattern in which past winners of the Best New Artist Grammy have lost momentum or become (as unfortunate as it is to say) somewhat irrelevant. I mean, how many college students know who LeAnn Rimes or Shelly Lynne are, despite their immense talent? Personally, I have never heard of Shelly Lynne, but LeAnn Rimes’ yodeling in “Blue” is unmatched. Unfortunately, though, this so-called “curse” has no bounds. It has even touched some more well-known names such as Milli Vanilli. In 1989, their Grammy for Best New Artist was revoked after it came out that they did not sing on their debut album, Girl You Know It’s True. If that is not a curse hard at work, I’m not sure what is. 

Does winning Best New Artist destine an individual for failure or a revoked award? Of course not. Many artists who hold the title have gone on to have exceptional careers and produce phenomenal works. Mariah Carey, a five-time Grammy winner, has become a household name. Everybody knows Amy Winehouse and her many hits, including “Rehab” which won three Grammys in 2008, the year she was deemed Best New Artist, and Adele’s music is familiar to all, continuing to win awards, most recently earning a Grammy for best pop solo with her song “Easy on Me.” Why does “the curse” impact some artists and not others? Maybe the pressure was too heavy for some. Now all eyes are on them and more awards are expected to be won. Or, perhaps their goals had been accomplished and they felt their work was finished. What can top winning a Grammy, especially that with the title of Best New Artist? Naturally, some may say that “the curse” simply is not real, but we will have to keep an eye on the most recent winners to be sure. Only time will tell.
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