Start your countdown clocks folks, because the VMAs are officially on the horizon. Set to air on Sunday, August 28th from Madison Square Garden in New York City, we’re waiting with baited breath for every show-stopping performance, juicy celeb-feud, and Kanye-interrupted speech. But aside from all the #drama we’ve come to expect, we also can’t wait to learn which new performer will take home the title of Best New Artist.
We’re having a tough time choosing between the diverse talent that’s made the cut this year. So who are the noms, and what should you know about all the cool things they’ve done so far?
Bryson Tiller is an R&B singer/songwriter straight out of Louisville Kentucky who gained traction when artists like Timabaland and Drake started appreciating his sound. Within the past year, Tiller released his single, “Don’t,” contributed to Tyrant’s “Lime Light” and officially signed with major label RCA, releasing his debut album T R A P S O U L in October 2015. And he’s just getting started.
Desiigner released “Panda” in late 2015 but it wasn’t until Kanye West sampled the tune in 2016 and signed the Brooklyn native to his GOOD Music imprint in 2016 that everyone took note. Soon after, “Panda” skyrocketed to number one in the United States.
Former Jo-bro Joe Jonas teamed up with Korean-born guitarist JinJoo Lee, bassist/keyboardist Cole Whittle, and drummer Jack Lawless to form pop-rock group DNCE in late 2015. Propelled by their catchy beat and some deliciously puzzling lyrics, DNCE released their first single, “Cake by the Ocean” in 2015. Since then, the dancey tune has topped the charts, compelling many to explore some new beach-time treats.
Though Swedish born singer/songwriter Zara Larsson is still young, she’s making a huge impression on the electro-pop scene. After winning Sweden’s regional version of Got Talent in 2008, Larsson signed with Ten Music Group and quickly started climbing the Swedish charts with hits like “Uncover” and “She’s Not Me.” Larsson broke through in 2015, when “Lush Life” hit the top ten in Europe, and “Never Forget You” broke through to both the UK and the United States.
This pop/r&b band from Denmark quickly became sensations in Europe when they released their first album in 2012. Consisting of Lukas Graham on vocals, Mark Falgren on drums, Kasper Daugaard on keys and Magnus Larsson on bass, the group gained international fame after releasing their self-titled second album last year. The group is already enjoying immense success with “7 Years Old” climbing Billboard Hot 100.