Here at MTV, we’re always looking out for the next big stars, and those artists-on-the-rise are honored with a Moonman at the annual Video Music Awards. Previously we had a category called Best New Artist, and it’s since morphed into Artist to Watch — but the idea remains the same. These are the artists who made a huge impact in their nominated year, and have the potential for superstardom.
The 2015 MTV VMA nominees for Best New Artist are Fetty Wap, FKA Twigs, George Ezra, Vance Joy and James Bay, but we’re taking a look back at the last decade of winners to find out: Where Are They Now?
The Killers (2005)
Their hit single “Mr. Brightside” made The Killers a favorite over Ciara, The Game, John Legend and My Chemical Romance for the Best New Artist trophy a decade ago. Since then they’ve gone on to release three great albums, 2006’s Sam’s Town, 2008’s Day & Age and 2012’s Battle Born. The band is still together and going strong, but it looks lead singer, Brandon Flowers, wants to focus on his second solo album for now.
Avenged Sevenfold (2006)
In 2006, Chris Brown, Rihanna and Panic! At the Disco lost the Best New Artist trophy to Avenged Sevenfold. The heavy metal group got heavy rotation on MTV’s “TRL” countdown after releasing their 2005 album City of Evil, but nine years later they’re definitely flying further under the radar. Their most recent album was 2013’s Hail to the King and it seems like they’ve had some creative differences since then. Just last month, they announced that longtime drummer Arin Ilejay would be no longer be a part of the group. In better news, they recently teamed up with Guitar Hero Live to offer fans some exclusive content.
Gym Class Heroes (2007)
Remember how much people loved “Cupid’s Chokehold”? In 2007 the group, led by Travie McCoy, took home a trophy for Best New Artist over Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Peter Bjorn & John and Carrie Underwood. And although it was hard to avoid them on radio and TV on that point, the group eventually faded out of the mainstream. They took a break in 2009 to work on solo projects and their most recent release was The Papercut Chronicles II in 2011, a sequel to their 2005 album.
Tokio Hotel (2008)
Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift were all nominated in this category back in 2008, and they’ve all gone on to become international superstars. But it was Tokio Hotel who took home the honor of Best New Artist at that point. Since then they’ve released two more albums — Humanoid in 2009 and Kings of Suburbia in 2014 — and their fans are just as passionate as ever.
Lady Gaga (2009)
Kanye West stole the show in 2009 when he famously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, but Lady Gaga’s win for Best New Artist was also very notable. Since then, Mother Monster has only continued to grow her fanbase and expand her musical range, dropping three more albums: 2011’sBorn This Way, 2013’s Artpop, and her 2014 collaborative album with Tony Bennett called Cheek to Cheek. We know that Gaga still has a lot more music and hits left in her. As a matter of fact, she just alerted fans that her fifth project is coming soon.
Justin Bieber (2010)
It’s hard to believe that only five years have passed since Justin Bieber took home a Moonman for Best New Artist. Since then The Biebs has dropped his Christmas album Under the Mistletoe and 2012’s Believe, in addition to doing several big collaborations and getting more than a few tattoos. He’s also earned himself a reputation for being a bit of a badass — but hey, at least he can laugh at himself. He’s getting ready to release a brand new single called “What Do You Mean,” and that might open the floodgates for more music.
Tyler, The Creator (2011)
Tyler and his Odd Future collective made a big impact when they crash-landed on the scene in 2011, and that year Tyler beat out Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Kreayshawn and Foster the People to win Best New Artist. Since then he’s gone on to become an even bigger solo star, launching his own festival and TV show and dropping two albums, including this year’s Cherry Bomb. Sadly, however, it looks like the members of Odd Future have all decided to go their own separate ways.
One Direction (2012)
Remember the good ’ol days, when all of the guys were still together? In 2012, the heartthrobs of One Direction outshined Frank Ocean, The Wanted, fun. and Carly Rae Jepsen to win Best New Artist. Fast forward five years, and things have changed quite a bit since they captured hearts with “What Makes You Beautiful.” Most notably, Zayn Malik left the group this year to pursue a solo career and shattered dreams across the world.
Austin Mahone (2013)
In 2013 Austin Mahone took home the trophy for the newly renamed Artist to Watch category, beating out Iggy Azalea, the Weeknd, Zedd and Twenty One Pilots. The Cash Money signee has yet to release his debut album, but it seems like we’re inching closer by the minute. Late last month he dropped his “Dirty Work” video, and we’re hoping he’ll following that up with way moremusic releases.
Fifth Harmony (2014)
The lovely ladies of Fifth Harmony won Artist to Watch last year, and they’ve been steadily on the move since then. Ally, Normani, Dinah, Camila and Lauren released their debut album Reflection in January and they’re currently on tour with their singles in heavy rotation. Stay tuned.