Who is best new artist Grammy winner Samara Joy?
Samara Joy, a 23-year-old jazz singer from the Bronx, was named best new artist at the 65th Grammy Awards on Sunday night, a rare victory by an artist from a relatively specialized field in a category dominated for years by high-profile pop and hip-hop stars.
The last such musician to win best new artist? Another jazz singer, Esperanza Spalding, who famously defeated Drake and Justin Bieber for the coveted award in 2011. Among the more recognizable acts Joy beat Sunday were rapper Latto, R&B singer Muni Long, Brazilian singer Anitta and the rock bands Wet Leg and Måneskin. Joy also won a Grammy for jazz vocal album on Sunday with “Linger Awhile,” her debut LP for the storied Verve label, which features her stately yet sensual renditions of standards such as “Misty,” “’Round Midnight” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”
“I’ve been watching y’all on TV for like so song,” Joy told the roomful of A-listers gathered at Crypto.com Arena in L.A. as she collected the best new artist prize in apparent disbelief. “All of you are so inspiring to me, so to be here because of who I am … by just being who I was born as, I’m so thankful.”
Joy grew up the granddaughter of Elder Goldwire and Ruth McLendon, who performed with a Philadelphia gospel group, the Savettes. Yet as a kid Joy also sang in school musicals and absorbed the soul and R&B music of Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan. In 2019, while studying at the State University of New York at Purchase, she won the prestigious Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition.
Last year’s best new artist victor was Olivia Rodrigo, who announced Joy’s win on Sunday’s show. Joy is scheduled to perform Saturday at the Soraya performing arts center at Cal State Northridge.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.