Capaldi was also bypassed for a performance slot on the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 26.
Lewis Capaldi is having the last laugh. Nearly nine months after the Scottish singer/songwriter was, surprisingly, passed over for a Grammy nod for best new artist, he lands his second top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Before You Go.”
The song follows “Someone You Loved,” which led the chart for three nonconsecutive weeks last November—and received a Grammy nod for song of the year. (Capaldi co-wrote the ballad with Tom Barnes, Pete Kelleher, Benjamin Kohn and Sam Roman.)
Nominations in the Big Four categories—album, record and song of the year plus best new artist—are determined by a nominations review committee which reviews the top 20 vote-getters of rank-and-file voting members. While the initial lists are kept secret, it seems likely that Capaldi ranked high on the voters’ list of favorites for best new artist.
Three of the best new artist nominees have also (like Capaldi) had multiple top 10 hits on the Hot 100. Billie Eilish, the winner, landed her third top 10 hit, “My Future,” just last week. Lil Nas X and Lizzo have each notched two top 10 hits.
None of the five other nominees have yet cracked the top 40 on the Hot 100, much less the top 10. And only one of the five – Rosalía– has made the Hot 100 at all. She reached No. 66 in June with “TKN,” a collab with Travis Scott.
Of course the Grammys aren’t based strictly on chart success, much less only mainstream chart success. Success on other, more specialized genre charts also counts. But the vast majority of best new artist winners, from the first winner, Bobby Darin, to the most recent, Eilish, have achieved mainstream chart success.
So why did the committee pass over Capaldi for a best new artist nod? The committee’s deliberations are confidential, so we can only speculate. They may have questioned whether he’d have a meaningful career in the U.S. beyond his initial smash. His breakthrough into the top 10 this week puts that issue to rest.
The committee may have thought that a song of the year nod was enough recognition. Eilish and Lizzo were the year’s only other new artists who received a song of the year nod. The committee may have decided, at least where Capaldi was concerned, “Let’s share the wealth.”
Or they may simply have bypassed him in the interest of gender and racial diversity.
In terms of the gender mix, the final list of best new artist nominees consisted of five female solo artists, one male solo artist, one male duo and one mixed-gender group.
In terms of the racial mix, the final list of nominees consisted of three Black artists, two white artists, one Latina artist and two interracial groups or duos.
Capaldi was also bypassed for a performance slot on the 62nd annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 26. Alicia Keys, who hosted the show for the second year in a row, performed a parody version of “Someone You Loved” in which she name-dropped more than a dozen artists, including Rosalía, Beyoncé, BTS, H.E.R. and, yes, Capaldi. (“Hey, Lew, Is it cool that I’m using your song right now? Is that all right?” Keys asked. Capaldi gamely gave her a double thumbs up.)
But if Capaldi didn’t get all the nominations, and the performance slot, that he may have hoped for, his fans are keeping him in the forefront. And there’s always next year.