The Band Perry, Bon Iver, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, or Skrillex will soon join a prestigious list of musical acts that includes the Beatles, Carly Simon, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and — skyrockets in flight! — the Starlight Vocal Band. What list is that? Why, the Grammy Awards’ Best New Artist winners.
The history of the Best New Artist is a complicated one. For every no-brainer (Mariah Carey, Amy Winehouse, Adele, pictured), there are some equally contestable choices (Paula Cole over Fiona Apple, A Taste of Honey over Elvis Costello) and plenty of controversy to spare. (Rule changes still didn’t help artists like Lady Gaga in time; the great Milli Vanilli debacle; Esperanza who?)
So has it proven to be beneficial for a musician or band to walk away with the Best New Artist Grammy, or is the award the kiss of death for a career, as has been rumored in years past? We’ll run down the Best New Artist winners from the past 25 years to see which recipients lived up to their title and what they’ve been up to since their win. The 54th annual Grammy Awards, which determine the fate of the Band Perry, Bon Iver, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, and Skrillex, airs live at 8 p.m. EST on CBS on Sunday, Feb. 12.