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The 8 most surprising first-time Grammy nominees

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Lizzo, Maggie Rogers, and Billie Eilish are all nominated for Grammys this year. Steven Ferdman/Getty Images, Taylor Hill/FilmMagic, and Michael Kovac/Getty Images The 2020 Grammy Awards will air live Sunday, January 26, 2020, from Los Angeles' Staples Center on CBS at 8 p.m. ET. Among the musicians nominated this year are Lizzo, Maggie Rogers, Billie Eilish,…
The 8 most surprising first-time Grammy nominees

lizzo maggie rogers billie eilish_edited 1lizzo maggie rogers billie eilish_edited 1

Lizzo, Maggie Rogers, and Billie Eilish are all nominated for Grammys this year.
Steven Ferdman/Getty Images, Taylor Hill/FilmMagic, and Michael Kovac/Getty Images

The 2020 Grammy nominations were announced on Wednesday and included some surprising first-time nominees. 

Even though musicians like Lizzo, Maggie Rogers, and the Cranberries have been making music for years, this was their first time receiving Grammy nominations. 

Singers like Rosalía and Billie Eilish were also nominated for awards. But although they seem like newcomers to the industry, they have both been making and recording songs for several years — proof that it can sometimes take a while to get noticed by the Recording Academy. 

The 2020 Grammy awards will air live Sunday, January 26, 2020, from Los Angeles’ Staples Center on CBS at 8 p.m. ET. Here are eight of the most surprising first-time nominees. 

Lizzo is the most-nominated artist at this year’s Grammy awards, but she’s been making music since 2013.

lizzo in concert

Lizzo released her latest album, “Cuz I Love You,” earlier this year.
Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

The “Truth Hurts” singer is nominated for numerous awards, including record, album, and song of the year, and, interestingly, best new artist. 

Her nominations aren’t a surprise to her loyal fans, who’ve been following her since she released her debut album “Lizzobangers” in 2013, and “Big Grrrl Small World” in 2015. And even though “Truth Hurts” is nominated for record and song of the year, among others, it was actually released in 2017 originally — and is only eligible because it was included on Lizzo’s recent album “Cuz I Love You,” released in April 2019. 

Considering she’s been active in the industry since 2013, it’s surprising that Lizzo is just now getting nominated — especially for awards like best new artist.

Meek Mill has released four albums and five EPs over the course of his career, but is just now being nominated for a Grammy.

Meek Mill

Rapper Meek Mill poses for a portrait in support of his latest release “Dreams Worth More Than Money” at Atlantic Records, on Thursday, July 2, 2015 in New York.
Dan Hallman/Invision/AP

Mill released his first album, “Dreams and Nightmares,” in 2012, and has gone on to have a successful career as a rapper, despite being incarcerated for several years. 

Following his incarceration and release from prison, Mill has also become an outspoken activist, cofounding a criminal justice nonprofit with Jay-Z in 2018. Mill released his latest album, “Championships,” in November 2018. 

Even though his work is critically acclaimed, and all of his albums are either certified gold or platinum by the RIAA, Mill’s nomination for best rap album this year is his first. 

Maggie Rogers is also nominated for best new artist, but first went viral in 2016.

maggie rogers

Maggie Rogers is a folk-pop singer from Maryland.
Rebecca Sapp/WireImage for The Recording Academy

Rogers first gained popularity in 2016, after a clip of Pharrell Williams becoming visibly moved after listening to her song “Alaska” went viral — even though the singer had already released two albums and an EP.

Since then, Rogers has played sold-out shows across the US, and appeared on numerous late-night talk shows to promote her work. Considering her latest album, “Heard It in a Past Life,” is her third, it’s strange that she’s just now getting a Grammy nomination — for best new artist. 

Billie Eilish released a successful and critically-acclaimed EP in 2017 — nearly two years before being nominated for numerous Grammys.

billie eilish

Billie Eilish is known for her songs like “Bad Guy.”
Gary Miller/Getty Images

Eilish broke records with her numerous Grammy nominations, but the singer has been releasing music since 2016, when she was 14 years old. 

Eilish’s 2016 single “Ocean Eyes” became a viral hit on SoundCloud when it was released that year, and she followed it up with her successful EP “Don’t Smile At Me” in 2017.

Of course, Eilish’s latest album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” is undoubtedly her biggest hit to date, but it’s still worth noting that the singer has been making music for several years now, despite not earning any Grammy nominations before this year. 

Ty Dolla $ign is nominated, along with Skrillex and Boys Noize, for best dance recording.

ty dolla $ign sign

Ty Dolla $ign is known for his collaborations with other artists.
Christopher/Getty Images

The rapper has released several albums and a slew of singles throughout his career, but is only just now getting nominated for a Grammy. 

Recently, Ty Dolla $ign collaborated with rapper Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj for Megan’s hit “Hot Girl Summer,” released earlier this year. 

The Cranberries were a successful Irish rock band in the ’90s and early 2000s, but have never been nominated for a Grammy until now.

the cranberries

Dolores O’Riordan was the lead singer of the Cranberries.
Alan Singer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The Irish rock band released five albums from 1993 to 2001, and another three from 2012 to 2019, after they reformed. Still, their nomination for best rock album at the 2020 Grammy Awards is their first. 

Tragically, the lead singer of the Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan, died in 2018. While she’d already recorded her vocals for the band’s 2019 album “In the End,” the remaining members decided to disband in the wake of her death — meaning that this is the first and last Grammy nomination for the Cranberries. 

Rosalía is nominated for best new artist, but has been a hit in her native Spain for several years now.


Rosalía released her second album in November 2018.
Erika Goldring/FilmMagic

The Spanish singer has released two albums and countless singles in the last few years, and has even picked up some awards along the way, including five Latin Grammys, two in 2018 and two in 2019. 

However, despite her prolific output and recognition in her home country of Spain, this is the first Grammy nomination Rosalía has received. 

Gucci Mane released two successful albums in the eligibility period, but only received a nomination for his collaboration with Lizzo, “Exactly How I Feel.”

gucci mane

Gucci Mane released two albums this year.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation

Mane has spent over 15 years as a successful rapper, and has released 15 albums, seven EPs, and 84 singles throughout his career. However, his collaboration with Lizzo is the first project of his to earn him a Grammy nomination — for best R&B performance. 


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