Grammys Best New Artist nominees are already accomplished


Rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis are the first duo in Billboard history to take their first two singles to number one.


This year's nominees for best new artist are also some of the year's most talked about musicians - proving that although they may be new to the scene, they're already raising the bar.

British musician Ed Sheeran may be in the Best New Artist category, but this is his second year as a Grammy nominee. Last year, his first single "The A Team" was up for song of the year.

The 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Halifax, England, released his first album "Plus" in 2011 and thanks to his friendship with country superstar Taylor Swift, who he opened for on tour last year, Sheeran has picked up a passionate fan base, including 8.68 million twitter followers and 4.3 million likes on Facebook.

“I think the internet and Youtube and Twitter, and people being able to see stuff instantly and get stuff instantly on iTunes has really helped my career,” said Sheeran. “I don't know where I'd be without social media.”

Another Brit up for the award is electronic singer and producer James Blake, who is literally a one-man band.

"I think when you've allocated all the jobs to yourself, from writing the songs ... coming up with everything on it, I'm just focusing on so many things that by the end of the process I'm exhausted,” said Blake.  

His second album "Overgrown" won Britain's prestigious Mercury Prize in October and as for his Best New Artist nomination, Blake joked that it was “rubbish.”  

“I'm not complaining because it means I get to be nominated for an award,” he said. “But yes, I've already released two albums."

Official Grammy rules state that an artist must have released "at least one album but no more than three" to be a Best New Artist nominee.

Also, another nominee, country singer Kacey Musgraves has already won the CMA’s Best New Artist award.

Up for four Grammys in all, the 25-year-old Texan, has been praised for taking country music into new lyrical territory.

"It's still nothing controversial - nothing any different than George Jones or Willie Nelson was singing about back in the day or Loretta Lynn,” said Musgraves. “I just feel like I'm doing my job taking things that really have made an impression on me and put me in my music."

She spoke to CBS News’ Anthony Mason about her writing process.

"We usually take a day or two and just throw out ideas until something sticks and then we kinda pack it down until it's something,” she said.

Musgraves told Mason it’s almost like making a “snowball,” and then “you throw it at somebody and see if it works.”

Her song “Merry Go ‘Round” snowballed into a top 10 country hit and Rolling Stone called it "fierce and unblinking."

Rapper Kendrick Lamar is also one of the category's most critically acclaimed new writers. His major label debut "Good Kid Mad City" tells the story of a day in the life of a teenager in Compton, Calif., which is a reflection of the life Lamar, now 26 years old, has escaped thanks to his music.

“My pops was a realist but my mother always gave me the opportunity to be a dreamer, to know something else around and outside of Compton,” he said. “My mother said 'Yeah, you're right here, but there's a whole other world out there, Kendrick.’”

Lamar has been releasing underground mix-tapes for the past 10 years, but he's found a new gratification.

“Fulfilling for me is knowing I'm reached a level where the people I respect, they call the greats - Jay Z, Nas, Eminem - they're actually giving me respect,” he said.

The last nominees, rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis, are the only group of the Best New Artist category.

Arguably the year's biggest hit makers, they are the first duo in Billboard history to take their first two singles to number one.

No matter who takes home the Grammy, Macklemore's "Can't Hold Us" may be the most fitting anthem for the best of music's new artists.

Kendrick Lamar and the duo of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are also among the most nominated musicians of the night. They're each up for 7 awards.

The Grammy Awards will be broadcast Sunday night, at 8:00 p.m. ET on CBS.