In a thread over on Facebook, one of my friends was lamenting that alt-rock darlings Mumford and Sons (who I think are awesome) didn’t win the Best New Artist Grammy, and complaining she’d never even heard of the winner, Esperanza Spalding. I commented that while I’d have been happy to see Mumford take the prize, it’s no crime for Spalding to win, because she’s utterly amazing, and encouraged her to check Spalding out before dismissing her.
Someone else in the thread replied, “It’s probably just as well. The Best New Artist Grammy is the Kiss of Death™ for your career.”
Now, that’s received wisdom. Everyone knows its true. Win Best New Artist, and collect your free ticket to Obscurityville. And it struck me to wonder, is it true? I mean, everyone KNOWS that it’s true, but is it, you know, factually true?
So, in one of those flashes of inspiration that always seem like a good idea at the time, I decided to find out.
Below the cut, you will find my exhaustively researched (read: I just spent the last three and a half hours on Wikipedia) report on every winner of the Best New Artist Grammy since the establishment of the award in 1959, with an eye towards determining if, in fact, the myth of career-destroying doom was justified.