Going for Grammy gold with first-time nominees

A Grammy is the music industry's biggest prize and being nominated is no small fete. Explore the music of 21 first-time nominees below.

Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny

"I Like It"

Record of the Year: "I Like It"

The lyricism and infectious beat of Cardi B’s “I Like It” made it one of the most popular songs of 2018. Sampling Pete Rodriguez’s 1967 song “I Like It Like That,” you hear three musicians combining their rap and singing talents, and one of those is Bad Bunny.

Considered to be an integral voice in Latin trap, Bad Bunny pays homage to his roots with clever lyrics and swagger. After listening to his verse on “I Like It,” it’s easy to understand why some have said he is the next big thing in Latin music.

If you like trap music artists such as Migos, Gucci Mane or T.I., Bad Bunny is a good fit.

Chloe x Halle

Chloe x Halle

"The Kids Are Alright"

Best New Artist

Best Urban Contemporary Album: "The Kids Are Alright"

“So amazingly talented” is how Beyoncé described these two young women when they did a cover of “Pretty Hurts” on YouTube.

Fast-forward five years, and the duo has landed roles on the hit TV show “Grown-ish” (they wrote the theme song), opened for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “On the Road II” tour, and earned two Grammy nominations for their debut album, “The Kids Are Alright.”

Infusing trap music and R&B, Chloe x Halle have a creative, soulful sound with melodic beats and vocal prowess. After listening to “The Kids Are Alright,” it’s clear why Beyoncé signed them to her music label.

Luke Combs

Luke Combs

"Hurricane"

Best New Artist

Luke Combs’ platinum-selling debut album, “This One’s For You,” was Billboard’s top country album of 2018 and spent 16 weeks at No. 1, which likely helped secure his nod in the best new artist category.

Combs’ sound, reminiscent of Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton with an R&B influence, points to his versatility as an artist with a promising path ahead.

Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet

"Highway Tune"

Best New Artist

Best Rock Performance: "Highway Tune"

Best Rock Album: "From the Fires"

“From the Fires” is an aptly named title to describe Greta Van Fleet’s success in the world of rock.

With Led Zeppelin and blues influences, along with strong vocals and rifting guitar work, Greta Van Fleet has been hailed in music magazines as the modern savior of classic rock. (If you like Guns N’ Roses, the White Stripes or the Black Keys, you’ll love “From the Fires.”)

H.E.R.

H.E.R.

"Best Part"

Best New Artist

Album of the Year: "H.E.R."

Best R&B Performance: "Best Part"

Best R&B Song: "Focus"

Best R&B Album: "H.E.R."

H.E.R., an acronym that stands for Having Everything Revealed, packs a punch in the R&B genre. Her Grammy-nominated album, “H.E.R.,” a mashup of previous EPs “H.E.R. Vol. 1” and “H.E.R. Vol. 2,” features hits such as “Focus” and “Best Part” with Daniel Caesar. Over beats encompassing pianos and drums, she longingly croons about the complexities of love. (If you like Bryson Tiller, Daniel Caesar or SiR, listen to H.E.R.)

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa

"Electricity"

Best New Artist

Best Dance Recording: “Electricity”

Spotify stream-queen Dua Lipa can add two Grammy nominations to her list of achievements. Her sound is a mix of techno and pop, making the track “Electricity” a standout collaboration with Silk City.

Dua Lipa’s vocals especially shine on slower ballads such as “Homesick.” (If you like dance/electronic artists such as Calvin Harris or pop musicians such as Selena Gomez, Dua Lipa is in your wheelhouse.)

Margo Price

Margo Price

"All American Made"

Best New Artist

Margo Price sings about pay equality, farming and everyday struggles of life in America on her second album, “All American Made.”

(If you like Lillie Mae or Dolly Parton, you will like Price, and if you prefer music with a message such as J. Cole’s KOD, “All American Made” will resonate.)

Bebe Rexha

Bebe Rexha

"Meant to Be"

Best New Artist

Best Country Duo/Group Performance: "Meant to Be"

Stepping away from the studio to pick up a microphone, Bebe Rexha ensures she’s heard and here to stay on her debut album, “Expectations.”

Her sound spans the genres of R&B, hip-hop, pop and country, such as her hit collaboration on “Meant to Be” with Florida Georgia Line. (Like Alessia Cara and Dua Lipa, Bebe Rexha delivers music and lyrics that ring true.)

Jorja Smith

Jorja Smith

"Blue Lights"

Best New Artist

Jorja Smith might be familiar for those who’ve listened to Drake or the “Black Panther” soundtrack.

But on her debut album, “Lost & Found,” Smith proves she is more than the girl who had an interlude on Drake’s “More Life.” With a sultry sound, her album is a mixture of jazz, R&B and hip-hop. (If you like Kehlani, Jhene Aiko or Lauryn Hill, you’re going to love Jorja Smith.)

Post Malone

Post Malone

"Rockstar"

Record of the Year: "Rockstar"

Album of the Year: "Beerbongs & Bentleys"

Best Pop Solo Performance: "Better Now"

Best Rap/Sung Performance: "Rockstar"

Post Malone’s “Beerbong’s & Bentleys,” with hits such as “Rockstar” and “Better Now,” went double platinum days after its release.

Malone’s sound is influenced by hip-hop, rock and trap music. Critics have called him a “culture vulture” and a “one-hit wonder,” but Malone’s popularity, along with a string of successful collaborations, have earned him an undeniable spot in the world of hip-hop. (If you like artists such as Juice WRLD, Rae Sremmurd or 6LACK, Malone may be your man.)

Ella Mai

Ella Mai

"Boo'd Up"

Song of the Year: "Boo'd Up"

Best R&B Song: "Boo'd Up"

Ella Mai’s summer-love ballad “Boo’d Up” was a global smash. With relatable lyrics and a sound reminiscent of ‘90s R&B, this young singer had a major breakout year in 2018. (If you like Kehlani, H.E.R. or SZA, you need to listen to more Ella Mai.)

Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes

"In My Blood"

Song of the Year: "In My Blood"

Best Pop Vocal Album: "Shawn Mendes"

At just 20, Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes has already had a string of pop hits such as “Stitches.” But his single “In My Blood” showcases a deeper, more soulful sound for Mendes -- the heir apparent to John Mayer or Ed Sheeran. He’ll take the stage to perform at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.

21 Savage

21 Savage

"Rockstar"

Record of the Year: "Rockstar"

Best Rap/Sung Performance: "Rockstar"

21 Savage lends his talents on Malone’s “Rockstar” the only way that 21 Savage can -- with sound rooted in trap and Southern rap. 21 Savage’s verse on “Rockstar” changes the song’s energy with lyrical cadence. (If you like Lil Uzi Vert, Kodak Black or Migos, 21 Savage and his new album should be on your playlist.)

Camila Cabello

Camila Cabello

"Consequences"

Best Pop Vocal Album: "Camila"

Best Pop Solo Performance: "Havana (Live)"

After her departure from music group Fifth Harmony in 2016, Camila Cabello went solo and found even more success. She is among the most-streamed artists on Spotify, with her tune “Havana” boasting 140 million streams and counting.

Cabello’s debut album is a mix of pop and R&B, infused with her Latin roots. Her vocals shine on the melodic ballad “Consequences.”

Mac Miller

Mac Miller

"Self Care"

Best Rap Album: "Swimming"

Months after his sudden death, Mac Miller earned his first Grammy nomination. Featuring themes of growth and healing, “Swimming” was the late rapper’s fifth studio album. (If you like artists such as Anderson .Paak or Chance the Rapper, you will enjoy Miller’s album.)

Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle

"Dedication"

Best Rap Album: "Victory Lap"

One word comes to mind when describing Nipsey Hussle: unapologetic. Hussle’s “Victory Lap” is a crowning culmination of his growth as an artist -- West Coast rap, reminiscent of Ice Cube or NWA with some new school flavor. (If you like CyHi the Prynce or YG, take a “Victory Lap.”)

FEVER 333

FEVER 333

"Made An America"

Best Rock Performance: "Made An America"

“Made An America” is a political statement about oppression against people of color. The song, a mix of rap, metal and rock music, sounds like a blend of Fort Minor and Papa Roach. (If you like Yelawolf or Slaughterhouse, check out the group’s new album, “Strength in Numb333rs.”)

Dan + Shay

Dan + Shay

"Tequila"

Best Country Duo/Group Performance: "Tequila"

“Tequila,” from their self-titled third album, propelled Dan + Shay into the country stratosphere and on to the list of Grammy nominees. A mournful ballad with sharp lyrics and beautiful vocals, “Tequila” is a shot of emotion and the country duo’s first Top 40 single. (Dan + Shay will perform live at the Grammys.)

Florida Georgia Line

Florida Georgia Line

"Meant to Be"

Best Country Duo/Group Performance: "Meant to Be"

Florida Georgia Line’s collaboration with Bebe Rexha on “Meant to Be” delivers a contemporary country sound. (If you like Jon Pardi or Thomas Rhett, then give Florida Georgia Line a listen.)

J Balvin

J Balvin

"I Like It"

Record of the Year: "I Like It"

Colombian artist J Balvin had a couple of firsts in 2018: He received his first No. 1 single with Cardi B’s “I Like It” on Billboard’s Hot 100, and with it, he secured his first Grammy nomination.

Similar to Bad Bunny, Balvin offers his own sound and swagger to “I Like It,” giving the song the finishing touches on a killer collaboration between three Latin artists. (If you like Alexis & Fido, Reykon, or Zion & Lennox, you’ll be into Balvin’s album “Vibras.”)

Ashley McBryde

Ashley McBryde

"Girl Going Nowhere"

Best Country Album: "Girl Going Nowhere"

Ashley McBryde’s first single took the country world by storm and secured her a record deal. A year later, her debut album scored McBryde her first Grammy nomination.

“Girl Going Nowhere” is classic country from a strong singer-songwriter. (If you like Lady Antebellum or Miranda Lambert, you’ll like McBryde.)

Photos: Getty Images