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Grammy 2015 Winner Predictions: Best New Artist

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Grammy 2015 Winner Predictions: Best New Artist

There are a few sure bets in life: rain, taxes, and, until recently, a female artist winning the Grammy for Best New Artist. Just over a decade ago, the resistance to testosterone in this category was so potent that even when Heather Headley, the only female solo act nominated that year, lost her bid, it was to a female-fronted band: Evanescence, who, I’d like to note, we predicted when other outlets were naïvely throwing around names like 50 Cent. There’s no shortage of ladies nominated in 2015, so we’d be remiss not to consider critical darlings like country singer-songwriter Brandy Clark or pop-rock trio Haim. (Iggy Azalea is a non-factor, as far more respected rappers—Kanye West, Nicki Minaj—have lost in this race despite less competition.) And the fact that bands have done surprisingly well in this category of late, with fun., Bon Iver, and Zac Brown Band among recent victors, means Bastille shouldn’t be counted out either, though they lack the commercial and critical clout usually required to win here. Which would make this a tough year to predict if not for a clear frontrunner in U.K. soul singer Sam Smith, whose vulnerable performances, powerhouse vocals, and classic R&B flair put him in the same league as past winners Adele, Amy Winehouse, and John Legend. That he’s nominated for six awards, including the Big Four, makes this as sure a bet as snow in winter.

Will Win: Sam Smith

Could Win: Brandy Clark

Should Win: Haim