Some music fans scratched their heads when Bon Iver won the Best New Artist trophy last night at the 2012 Grammy Awards. The band is growing in popularity, thanks to work with Kanye West and their self-titled debut album, but they're still not as well known as, say, Rihanna or Katy Perry.
Need proof of that? Twitter exploded with questions like "Who is Bonnie Bear?" when the Wisconsin-based band won.
Lead singer Justin Vernon was pretty confused with his band's win, too. He took the stage to accept the award with a hipster's favorite accessory: Irony.
"It's hard to accept because when I started to make songs, I did it for the inherent reward of making songs, so I'm a little bit uncomfortable up here," he said. "I want to say thank you to all of the nominees, to all of the non-nominees that have never been here and never will be here, all the bands I toured with, all of the bands that inspired me."
Will Bon Iver make it for the long haul? It's hard to say. Sure, Mariah Carey, Adele and The Beatles have won, but the Best New Artist Grammy has gained a reputation over the years for also awarding flash-in-the-pan hit makers like Milli Vanilli or Christopher Cross.
Singer Paula Cole rocketed up the charts in the mid '90s with songs like "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone" and "I Don't Wanna Wait," the theme song from Dawson's Creek. The Grammys awarded her with the Best New Artist trophy at the height of her success, but she disappeared from the charts just as quickly as she arrived.
Cole is still making music, albeit on a much smaller level. The singer released an album in 2010 comprised of the same sort of music that made her famous.
"I have just been everywhere," Cole told the New York Post in 2010. "Living in New York for a few years with my daughter, Sky, then in Massachusetts where I am now with my parents. They are helping me, supporting me, with everything going on with my album, and my girl starting third grade. It's a lot."
No word if she ever starting shaving her underarms, though.
Alt country rocker Shelby Lynne won a Best New Artist Grammy Award in 2001 for her brand of painful country songs. However, she never quite caught on in the mainstream and switched up her record labels several times over the years.
Lynne is still making music, but she's not on a label. Instead, she's funding her own projects and doing whatever endorsing she can to make cash — and she has no regrets.
"I think I know exactly where I'm going. I've taken the trip," she said in 2010. "It's just now I'm writing the checks. I'm happy with the decision. I don't have a problem making all the decisions. The only difference is I don't have to wait on somebody to return my calls. That is a good thing."
Who doesn't love to sing along to Men at Work's one hit, "Land Down Under" with a Vegemite sandwich in hand? The group from Australia won the Best New Artist trophy in 1983 and soon fell off the musical landscape.
Rickie Lee Jones won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1980 over bands like The Knack and Dire Straits. The jazz and blues singer was a weird choice over such successful mainstream bands, but she's still making music 32 years later. She doesn't get a lot of attention, mostly because she hates doing interviews.
"Doing interviews about ME-ME-ME," she told Salon.com in 2000. "[It's] not what I consider part of my job."
The singing Duo Taste of Honey broke onto the scene in the late '70s with their song "Boogie Oogie Oogie." The popularity helped Hazel Payne and bassist Janice Johnson win the Best New Artist Award in 1977 over such heavyweights as Elvis Costello and The Cars.
Now? Costello and The Cars are still making music, while A Taste of Honey broke up in the early '80s. Awkward.
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