In honor of the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards on March 14, 2021, Wonderwall.com is checking up on some past best new artist winners to find out what they’re up to now. Let’s start with Lauryn Hill, who won best new artist at the Grammys on Feb. 22, 1999. Keep reading to find out what she’s doing these days…
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Former Fugees member Lauryn Hill hasn’t released another true solo album since 1988’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” which helped win her the best new artist title the following year. So much time has passed that her son Zion — the baby she famously sang about on the introspective album track “To Zion” — graduated from high school in 2015 and welcomed a baby himself in 2017! Lauryn — who in late 2019 released her first new song in five years, “Guarding the Gates” off the “Queen & Slim” soundtrack — dealt with personal drama as the world awaited new music: The mother of six got herself into such serious financial trouble that in 2013, she served three months in prison for tax evasion, doing her time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut — the same facility where reality star Teresa Giudice served time for fraud in 2015 and where the hit Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” is set. In 2019, she hit the road for a “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” 20th anniversary tour.
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Paula Cole won the coveted best new artist Grammy on Feb. 25, 1997.
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Since her big Grammy win, Paula Cole’s released seven more studio albums including “Revolution” in 2019. Her song “I Don’t Want to Wait” — one of her most well-known hits — was the theme song for “Dawson’s Creek” until the show wound down in 2003. She’s been a visiting scholar in performance studies on the faculty at Boston’s Berklee School of Music, where she teaches in the voice department, since 2013. In 2002, she reportedly married musician Hassan Hakmoun, but it wasn’t meant to be: They divorced in 2007 after welcoming daughter Sky.
Norah Jones won the award for best new artist at the 2003 Grammys.
Norah Jones has racked up nine Grammys following the success of her album “Come Away with Me” in 2002. She’s released seven more studio albums including her most recent, 2020’s “Pick Me Up Off the Floor.” She’s also done multiple collaborations with other artists including “Foreverly” with Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong in 2013 and a country band, Puss n Boots, with jazz singer Sasha Dobson and bassist Catherine Popper, a former frequent Ryan Adams, Grace Potter and Jack White collaborator. As for her personal life, the ultra-private star welcomed a son in 2014 and a second child in 2016 with musician Pete Remm, whom she’s since reportedly married.
Hootie & the Blowfish won the best new artist prize at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 22, 1996.
Darius Rucker broke out as a solo artist after his days with Hootie & the Blowfish. He put out an R&B album called “Back to Then” in 2002, but he really found success when he went country with “Learn to Live” in 2008. In 2017, he released his fifth country album, “When Was the Last Time.” The singer-songwriter has three kids: two with ex-wife Beth Rucker (they split in 2020, after which he was linked to comedian Kate Quigley) and an older child from a previous relationship. In 2019, Hootie & the Blowfish — which also includes Mark Bryan, Jim Sonefeld and Dean Felber — reunited and that November released their sixth studio album and first in 14 years, “Imperfect Circle,” which was preceded by their “Group Therapy” tour, which wrapped in October 2019 (and featured another big ’90s band, Barenaked Ladies, as an opener).
Sheryl Crow won the award for best new artist at the Grammys on March 3, 1995.
In the decade after her best new artist Grammy win, Sheryl Crow released hit after hit and made headlines for her high-profile romances with actor Owen Wilson and cyclist Lance Armstrong. But in more recent years, she’s been happily raising her two adopted sons, Wyatt and Levi, as a single parent. The nine-time Grammy winner has had her fair share of health problems too: She underwent a lumpectomy after discovering breast cancer in 2006 and was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor called a meningioma in 2011. She released her 11th studio album, “Threads” — which features collaborations with many of her friends in the industry — in 2019.
Mariah Carey won the award for best new artist at the Grammys on Feb. 20, 1991.
Where do we even begin with Mariah Carey?! She’s become a music icon since getting her best new artist Grammy back in the early ’90s and can boast a whopping 15 studio albums, 19 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, plus five Grammys in 34 nominations. The “Butterfly” singer got engaged to Australian billionaire James Packer in January 2016 when he proposed with a 35-carat diamond ring. The proposal came about a year after she and second husband Nick Cannon — the father of her twins, Moroccan and Monroe — went public with plans to divorce. But like her marriage to Nick, Mariah’s relationship with James didn’t work out: They called it quits in October 2016. But don’t feel sorry for Mimi! As seen on her 2016 reality show “Mariah’s World,” she ended up falling for backup dancer Bryan Tanaka, and they’re still going strong as of early 2021.
Cyndi Lauper was named best new artist at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 26, 1985.
Keeping her 40-plus year career going strong, Cyndi Lauper released her 11th studio album, “Detour,” in 2016. The “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” singer has been nominated for a ton of Grammys over the years, but only won her second in 2014 — in the best musical theater album category: She wrote the music for Broadway’s “Kinky Boots” and also won a best original score Tony for it in 2013 (Cyndi was nominated for a best original score Tony again in 2018 for her work on Broadway’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” musical). The eccentric singer and LGBTQ+ rights activist has been married to actor David Thornton since 1991 and has one son, Declyn. She might be in her 60s now, but she shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Toni Braxton won the best new artist prize at the Grammy Awards on March 1, 1994.
Seven-time Grammy winner Toni Braxton competed on season 7 of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2008 and has starred on the WE tv reality show “Braxton Family Values” since 2011, allowing cameras to chronicle everything in her life — including her struggles with lupus. Due to her health condition, she had to cancel shows on her “The Hits” tour in late 2016 and early 2017. Her eighth album, “Sex & Cigarettes,” dropped in 2018 and earned three Grammys nominations. (Her most recent album, 2020’s “Spell My Name,” didn’t make quite the same impression with the Recording Academy.) Toni was married to Keri Lewis, with whom she shares two sons, from 2001 to 2014. In recent years, she’s been romantically involved with longtime pal Birdman, who proposed in late 2017 or early 2018.
Christina Aguilera won the Grammy for best new artist on Feb. 23, 2000.
Christina Aguilera became a pop superstar after winning big at the Grammys in 2000. Since releasing her seventh album, “Lotus,” in 2012, the five-time Grammy winner has served as an on-and-off coach on “The Voice,” NBC’s singing competition show, and raised her two kiddos: Max, her son from her marriage to music exec Jordan Bratman, and Summer Rain, her daughter with fiancé Matt Rutler. She released her most recent album, “Liberation,” in 2018 and subsequently went on her first tour in over a decade, which wrapped in December 2019. In 2020, the singer-actress, who made her feature film debut in the 2010 musical “Burlesque,” dropped two new songs for Disney’s live-action “Mulan” — “Loyal Brave True” and an updated version of “Reflection” from the 1998 cartoon.
Carrie Underwood was named best new artist at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 11, 2007.
Carrie Underwood, who shot into the spotlight after winning “American Idol” in 2005, now has seven studio albums under her belt, and her eighth — “My Savior,” which will be her first gospel album — is due in 2021. In 2010, the seven-time Grammy winner married hockey star Mike Fisher, who retired in 2018. They’ve since welcomed two boys: Isaiah in 2015 and Jacob in 2019.
John Legend won best new artist at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 8, 2006.
John Legend now has 11 Grammys to his name. He’s also one of just 16 EGOT winners. In addition to his Grammys, he won the first of two Emmys in 2018 for producing and starring in “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” In 2015, he won the Oscar for best original song for “Glory” from the movie “Selma.” And in 2017, he won a Tony for best revival of a play for “Jitney,” which he co-produced. And he’s only just getting started! In 2020, he dropped his seventh studio album, “Bigger Love. (He’s up for two Grammys in 2021!) He’s also continued to work as a film and television producer, served off and on as a coach on “The Voice” and honed his acting chops on projects like “La La Land.” People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2019 married model-turned-cookbook author Chrissy Teigen in 2013. They’ve since welcomed daughter Luna and son Miles.
Alicia Keys won the award for best new artist at the Grammys on Feb. 27, 2002.
Alicia Keys, who’s won 15 Grammys over the years, dropped her seventh studio album, “Alicia,” in 2020. She also served as a coach on “The Voice” for several seasons between 2016 and 2018 and honed her acting skills with roles in “Smokin’ Aces,” “The Nanny Diaries,” “The Secret Life of Bees” and more. In 2010, she married hip-hop artist and producer Swizz Beatz. They’ve since welcomed two sons: Egypt and Genesis.
LeAnn Rimes won the award for best new artist at the Grammys on Feb. 26, 1997.
LeAnn Rimes is set to drop her 13th studio album — and second in two years — in May 2021. Although the two-time Grammy winner continues to make music, her career has been overshadowed by practically ancient drama in her personal life: She infamously married Eddie Cibrian in 2011 after meeting and falling in love on the set of the Lifetime movie “Northern Lights” while she was married to chef Dean Sheremet and he was married to Brandi Glanville, who’s publicly bashed LeAnn countless times over the years, though they’re currently on good terms. In 2012, LeAnn sought treatment for anxiety issues in the wake of the scandal, and in 2014, she and Eddie starred on a VH1 reality show, “LeAnn & Eddie.” In 2018, she returned to acting for the first time in five years with the Hallmark Channel made-for-TV movie “It’s Christmas, Eve.” Two years later, she won the fourth season of “The Masked Singer” as the Sun.
Evanescence, featuring singer and pianist Amy Lee, won the best new artist Grammy on Feb. 8, 2004.
Amy Lee became a first-time mom to son Jack Lion in 2014, seven years after marrying therapist Josh Hartzler. When Evanescence went on a brief hiatus amid a dispute with their record label over royalties, Amy started dabbling in film scores, composing music for “War Story” and “Blind.” She also released her debut album as a solo artist, the 2016 children’s album “Dream Too Much.” In 2017, Evanescence dropped “Synthesis,” their fourth studio album and their first since their 2011 self-titled album. Their fifth album, “The Bitter Truth,” is due in 2021.
Ryan Dusick, Mickey Madden, Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael and James Valentine — who together make up Maroon 5 — won best new artist at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 13, 2005.
Maroon 5 is still alive and kicking. They released their sixth studio album, “Red Pill Blues,” in 2017, and their seventh album is reportedly due in 2021. As for breakout star Adam Levine, the singer served as a coach on “The Voice” from 2011 to 2019. He also had a three-episode stint on “American Horror Story: Asylum” and made his feature film debut in the 2013 romantic dramedy “Begin Again.” In 2014, he married model Behati Prinsloo. They’ve since welcomed two daughters: Dusty Rose in 2016 and Gio Grace in 2017.
Justin Vernon of Bon Iver won the award for best new artist at the Grammys on Feb. 12, 2012.
After winning the best new artist Grammy, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon took quite a break — five years following his last album, in fact — before releasing “22, A Million” in 2016. It debuted to critical acclaim and garnered a nomination for best alternative album at the 2017 Grammys. His most recent album — “I, I” — came out in 2019 and earned three Grammy nominations. But the biggest hit was still to come… Bon Iver collaborated with Taylor Swift on tracks for her back-to-back 2020 masterpieces “folklore” and “evermore.” Their song “exile” from “folklore” is up for best pop duo/group performance at the 2021 Grammys.
Esperanza Spalding was named best new artist at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 13, 2011.
Esperanza Spalding’s surprising best new artist Grammy win ensured that her album “Chamber Music Society” was the bestselling contemporary jazz album that year. She earned two more Grammys two years later and has continued to work steadily since then. In 2017, she was appointed a professor of practice in the music department at Harvard University and released her sixth studio album, “Exposure.” In 2020, she won her fourth Grammy — best jazz vocal album — for her seventh album, “12 Little Spells,” which landed in late 2018.
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