It’s one of the most coveted Moonman of the night.
No, it’s not Video of the Year (even though that’s a really big deal too) — it’s Artist To Watch, the category that highlights up-and-coming musicians who are making waves, creating conversation and doing something that hasn’t been done before. The 2015 class of nominees are doing just that. In fact, it’s so hard to predict who will win the award because each nominee — Fetty Wap, FKA Twigs, James Bay, George Ezra and Vance Joy — deserves it.
So get to know your Artist To Watch nominees and find out why they all could walk away with their very first Video Music Award on Sunday, August 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Why You Know Him: For the past several months you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing this New Jersey native’s hit, “Trap Queen.” It’s been a topic of conversation, whether people are trying to figure out what the lyrics mean, or discussing how amazing Ed Sheeran’s cover of the song was, all while it was sitting pretty on top of the charts.
Why He Could Win: Fetty Wap, the only hip-hop artist in the category, is no one-hit wonder, he has some serious staying power. Since “Trap Queen” he’s released a slew of new songs, including his most recent “Why You Mad.” He has jumped on a track with Gucci Mane and he’s heading out on tour with Chris Brown…and this is all without a debut album.
Fun Fact: When he was first getting started, Fetty would head down to south Jersey and sell his EPs out of the trunk of his car….100,000 copies to be more accurate.
Famous Friends: He’s gotten love from Kanye, Drake and Rihanna. Plus, Jay Z and Beyonce saw him in concert and were caught dancing in the crowd. I would say that’s pretty good company.
Why You Know Him: The 6-foot-3 Australian singer, with seriously fabulous curly hair, burst onto the scene with his incredibly catchy indie-folk hit, “Riptide,” which is featured on his debut album, Dream Your Life Away.
Why He Could Win: He’s quirky, edgy and cool and he’s not slowing down anytime soon. He just released a kick-ass new song and video for “Fire and Flood” and has a track, “Great Summer,” on the Paper Towns soundtrack. Both are featured on the special edition release of his album and are a true reminder that this artist is someone that we should continue to pay attention to.
Fun Fact: Vance Joy is actually not his name; it’s James Keogh. Because people couldn’t pronounce his last name, Vance wanted to put a new name to his songs, so he was going through an Australian book called “Bliss” by Peter Carvey, and Vance Joy happened to be the character. Oh, he also dreamt of becoming a lawyer…my how things have changed.
Famous Friends: NBD he’s just on the 1989 World Tour with the Taylor Swift, the same girl who just so happened to do this amazing cover of his song.
Why You Know Her: You may instantly recognize FKA Twigs (Tahliah Barnett) by her staple septum nose piercing, but it’s her haunting, dark and jarring music that must be recognized. Her LP1 album was a critics’ dream and gave us three amazing singles, including “Video Girl” and “Pendulum.”
Why She Could Win: The lone female contender in the group, FKA Twigs is a groundbreaking pop star who is avant-garde in everything from her style to her music and especially her videos. She directed her video for “Pendulum,”which has her hanging from the ceiling by her hair, but portrays it in an imaginative and oh-so beautiful way.
Famous Friends: As I’m sure you are well aware, FKA Twigs is Robert Pattinson’s fiance. She has appeared in videos for songs by Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue and Taio Cruz.
Why You Know Him: No, he’s not a model (even though he looks like one); he’s an English singer/songwriter with a bit of a soulful, country twang. His first single, “Hold Back The River,” was written after he was missing his family while on the road and is featured on his debut album Chaos and the Calm.
Why He Could Win: Gaining comparisons to Sam Smith and Damien Rice, Taylor Swift’s other 1989 tour opener is a guitar-playing cool kid whose style and sound is unique, raspy and rare. He’s also put in the work, releasing three successful EPs before his big debut album.
Fun Fact: He’s actually a really good artist and really into drawing. The first thing he drew was his cat, Dancer, a sketch that his mom still proudly has.
Famous Friends: James has hung out with Hozier as the opening act on his tour, has said that Ed Sheeran is a big fan of his music and just recently, Ellie Goulding covered his song “Let It Go”…in the shower.
Why You Know Him: That 22-year-old in the picture is the man behind the hit song, “Budapest.” You may have thought that someone much older was singing on the bluesy soulful track, but nope, it’s just that adorable blonde that hails from England.
Why He Could Win: His voice is something that you’ve never quite heard before. It’s light and airy, but also extremely deep and soulful. Also, he made up a word, “petan,” to help him bond with his fans on Twitter, so that, alone, should give him extra points, right?
Fun Fact: He’s actually never been to Budapest. In 2011 he traveled Europe for a month, where he wrote most of the material on his debut, Wanted on Voyage, but when it was time to head on over to Budapest, he didn’t, because of a really bad hangover.