Congratulations go out to Fun for winning multiple times at the 55th Grammy Awards. Seriously, the band is awesome, and it deserve all the love coming its way. But winning Best New Artist? The band has been active since 2008, and this award is sort of a slap in the face.
As Nate Ruess said during Fun’s acceptance speech, “We’re so old!” Of course, that could have been a nod to his joke earlier about how people watching in HD would see how old the band members actually are despite their song “We Are Young,” but the point stands: Fun is not new.
The Grammys define a nominee for Best New Artist as “a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist.” We interpret that as, “A new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, their first recording which catches our attention.” Fun’s first album, “Aim and Ignite,” came out in 2009, but it was only with the hit single “We Are Young” from 2012’s “Some Nights” that they became a hit.
This win is reminiscent of when Bon Iver won Best New Artist in 2012. That band, led by Justin Vernon, had also been active for five years before it won its Best New Artist Grammy. “Bon Iver, Bon Iver” was the band’s second album after “For Emma, Forever Ago” made Bon Iver an indie staple in 2007. If the Grammy committee hadn’t heard “Skinny Love” before “Bon Iver, Bon Iver” came out, that’s their own problem.
An even more egregious example of this was when No Doubt was nominated for the Best New Artist award in 1997. That year the title ended up going to LeAnn Rimes, but it’s worth noting that No Doubt had been active since 1986 before they broke into the mainstream. It was 1995’s “Tragic Kingdom” that made them a global sensation, and the Grammys didn’t recognize that album until 1997.
So what do you think? Does the Grammys’ flexible definition of “new” work for Best New Artist, or should it only be for artists who are actually new? Are you as offended by Fun winning as we are? Let us know!