Singer-songwriter Victoria Monét won best new artist at the 66th annual Grammy Awards.
Monét, 34, won the category against Gracie Abrams, Fred Again.., Noah Kahan, Ice Spice, Jelly Roll, Coco Jones and The War and Treaty. She emerged as a frontrunner early — and reigned in The Associated Press’ Grammy predictions — as the only best new artist nominee also nominated in one of the top three general field categories: record of the year.
Monét thanked the Champagne servers first before adding her team, her fellow nominees and her mother, a single mom “raising this really bad girl.”
“I just want to say to everybody who has a dream. I want you to look at this as an example.”
She said the award represented a 15-year pursuit and she likened herself to a plant. “My roots have been growing underneath ground, unseen for so long. And I feel like today, I’m sprouting.”
The best new artist award, which went to jazz artist Samara Joy last year, is one of the Grammys’ most-anticipated as it is often seen as a bellwether for future success. Recent winners include Olivia Rodrigo, Megan Thee Stallion, Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa. Other winners include Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Amy Winehouse, Adele and Chance the Rapper.
The award goes to an artist who releases, during that year’s eligibility period, the first recording that establishes their “public identity,” according to the Grammys. For Monét, a longtime songwriter for other artists including Ariana Grande and Chloe x Halle, that was her debut solo album: “Jaguar II.” The album’s breakout hit, “On My Mama” peaked at number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was named one of the best of 2023 by The Associated Press.
With seven nominations, Monét tied for the second-most this year, alongside Phoebe Bridgers and behind SZA. Monét’s nominations also made history: Her 2-year-old daughter Hazel became the youngest ever nominee for her appearance on “Hollywood,” nominated for best traditional R&B performance.
“We had like a toddler extravaganza where we had all of her friends from school dressed in like, tuxedos and things, and we had a mock red carpet” Monét told the AP on the carpet at the Black Music Action Coalition dinner ahead of the Grammys. “She hated it,” she laughed. “Hopefully we can get one good shot because I know when we, you know, when she’s older, she’s going to really appreciate it.”
They did, in fact, get their photo, though Hazel turned her face away from the throng of photographers snapping photos Sunday.
While it was Hazel’s first trip to the Grammys, it was not Monét’s first rodeo — just her first as a soloist. In 2020, she was nominated in the album and record of the year categorys as a producer on Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next.”
In a 2020 interview with the AP following those nominations, Monét said: “Naturally when I wrote my goals list, I wanted to be just as successful as Kanye in the Grammy category, or as Bey, or as the greats. I was like, ‘I want 16 Grammys.’ It was a big number.”
Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this report.