Burlington Hawk Eye
February 26, 1995
Whatever happened to …
And then there are the fun ones like Best New Artist, home to some of the more interesting names over the Grammysâ€™ ears. From the legendary (The Beatles ’64, Bette Midler â€™73) to the luckless (Bobbie Gentry â€™67, Rickie Lee Jones â€™79) to the â€œwhy?!â€ (Starland Vocal Band â€™76,
Debby Boone â€™77), best new artists have come in all shapes and styles.
Hereâ€™s how the last decadeâ€™s winners are faring:
â– 1984 – Cyndi Lauper. The quirky singer/actress hasnâ€™t duplicated the success of her â€œSheâ€™s So Unusualâ€ splash, but sheâ€™s managed to loiter in the corner of the public eye. Lauper appeared last season on an episode of NBCâ€™s â€œMad About You,â€ and her greatest hits record â€”â€¢ an overseas smash that debuted in the Japanese Top IO last week â€” will be released stateside in May. Her last full-length album was shrugged off by press and public after its 1993 release.
â– 1985 – Sade. The Nigerian-born jazz-soul singer has been a fixture on the scene since â€œDiamond Lifeâ€ put a sparkle on her name. Sheâ€™s never quite hit superstar status in the United States, but she and her jazz combo have garnered a sizable mainstream audience with consistently quality releases, including 1992â€™s triple-platinum â€œLove Deluxe.â€ A greatest hits album peaked recently at No. 9, and theÂ outfit is up for this yearâ€™s best group R&B performance Grammy.
â– 1986 – Bruce Hornsby & the Range. The Range-less â€œHarbor Lightsâ€ (1993) garnered modest sales and provided Hornsby with a couple of adult-contemporary chart nits. The virtuoso pianist toured extensively with the Grateful Dead in 1990 and has played on albums for artists from Bob Dylan to Stevie Nicks. Hornsby probably wonâ€™t relive his chart heyday, but donâ€™t look for him to just disappear, either.
â– 1987 – Jody Watley. Ex Shalamar vocalist and Soul Train dancer Watley had six straight Top IO hits through 1990 â€” then virtually disappeared. The ballad heavy “Intimacyâ€ (1993) was greeted with yawns, if at all. She rapped â€” or was dropped â€” from MCA Records last year, and an official at her Los Angeles attorneyâ€™s office recently said the firm hasnâ€™t heard from Watley â€œin j some time.â€
â– 1988 – Tracy Chapman. Her self-titled debut album took the rock, pop and folk worlds by storm. Her sophomore release wiggled into the Top IO before plummeting off the chart. Sheâ€™s now on the college-club circuit after a couple of dormant years, and though sheâ€™s still got a place on the Elektra Records roster, there are no current plans for new product.
â– 1989 – No award.
â– 1990 – Mariah Carey. If you really need to ask, Manahâ€™s jamming. â€œMusic Box.â€ still riding the upper track of the charts IV* years into its release, has sold 8 million copies. Shes had eight No. l â€™s, and her â€œMerry Christmasâ€ album just sold 3 million copies in three months. Sheâ€™s in the studio putting together a new album for year-end release, meanwhile busying herself with various nonprofit causes. Yeah, thatâ€™s jamming.
â– 1991 – Marc Cohn. Discovered by Carly Simon (herself the new-artist winner in 1971), this guy had his moment in the sun with â€œWalking in Memphis.â€ Though his follow-up didn t exactly make the mark, Cohn has maintained his insider status within the New York song-writingÂ community (he appeared on Simonâ€™s latest album). Heâ€™s recorded two songs for â€œThe Cureâ€ film soundtrack (due in April) and the lead single for an upcoming Atlantic Records tribute album, all while toiling on a solo piece tentatively slated to hit in late â€™95.
â– 1992 – Arrested Development. These earthy-Southern-rap forefathers stumbled big-time with last yearâ€™c scattershot â€œZinJalamaduni,â€ but donâ€™t expect the Atlanta crew to drop away. Theyâ€™re now in a Georgia studio hammering away at various projects, including a tune for theÂ upcoming â€œPanthersâ€ soundtrack. A new full-length may be out by New Yearâ€™s Day.
â– 1993 – Toni Braxton. â€œToni Braxtonâ€ is at 5 million in sales and counting. And the sultry soul diva is up for this yearâ€™s best femaleÂ R&B performance award, for â€œBreathe Again.â€ Sheâ€™s doing just fine, thanks.