We didn’t know what to expect when we asked our writers one year ago to nominate their favorite new artists of 2012 for our inaugural Newbie Awards. In November, we identified the categories—New Band, Male, Female, Album and Song—and then waited for the nominations to come in. The diversity of the artists blew us away…after all, 2012 had been a great year for new music.
From the list of nominees, we then asked our staff to pick their two favorites in each category. Our 2012 winners were announced last December and we thought you’d like to know what they’ve been doing since and what their plans are for 2014.
Best New Band: Tame Impala
The Aussie psych rockers seemingly came out of nowhere to earn our inaugural Best New Band Newbie Award. And the accolades keep on coming: earlier this month, Tame Impala recently earned four West Australian Music Festival awards including Group and Album of the Year, for 2012’s Lonerism.
The band had a personnel change in ’13 as bass player Nick Allbrook departed. Cam Avery, formerly of Pond and The Growl, replaced him.
Best New Male Artist: Gary Clark, Jr.
This acclaimed blues-rock guitarist seemingly hasn’t stopped working since the release of his Blak And Blu album (Warner Bros.). He spent the summer doing most of the major festivals and has quickly become a musician’s musician: performing on the Rolling Stones tour, jamming with Eric Clapton, opening for Kings Of Leon’s 2014 US arena tour and for his pals, the Dave Matthews Band in Australia.
Clark is also a much sought-after musical guest on late night TV with multiple appearances on Letterman and Leno, as well as Arsenio and Kimmel. He has two songs—covers of “Freight Train” and “(In The Evening) When The Sun Goes Down”—on the soundtrack to the Oscar buzz-worthy film, “12 Years A Slave.”
Best New Female Artist: Ellie Goulding
The British singer-songwriter has spent much of 2013 touring to promote her breakthrough album, Halcyon (Interscope). Dates ranged from headlining gigs to festivals to the opening slot for Bruno Mars’ arena tour. In between, our former Featured Artist has appeared on a slew of national TV appearances (Queen Latifah, Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel, to name a few). A new song, “How Long Will I Love You,” featured in an upcoming short film—Tom & Issy—that the 26-year-old is in, is also being used as this year’s Children In Need single for the annual UK charity event.
Goulding has another new song, “Mirror,” on the new Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack. She has some 2014 European concerts but still, no official word yet on a follow-up album.
Talk about a nice start to a career… Ocean’s debut album, channel Orange, netted the performer six Grammy nominations including Album of the Year, Best New Artist and Record of the Year (for “Thinkin’ Bout You”), tying him for most of any artist last year. (He won for Best Urban Contemporary Album.)
Nearly a year later, it’s been reasonably quiet on news from Ocean. Earlier this fall, it was reported that he responded to a fan’s inquiry about his follow-up album on his tumbler account with: “when summer comes round again.”
Best New Song: Passion Pit’s “Take A Walk”
The band from Cambridge, Mass. spent much of 2013 touring the US, Canada, South America and Australia. Included in those 100+ gigs was a headlining date at New York’s Madison Square Garden last February. The four-piece indie pop band also issued a three-song EP in September, Constant Conversations, to sate their fans’ appetites until their next full-length.