Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Most-nominated artists who have never won a Grammy

  • Most-nominated artists who have never won a Grammy

    The old chestnut “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” lends itself nicely to those musical artists who have garnered many Grammy nominations, but never bagged the big prize. While artists will say it's an honor just to be nominated, deep down they feel the sting of defeat and yearn to take home one of those little golden trophies. Alas, for every winner there will be multiple losers. Among all those Grammy losers, no one loses as often as the musicians on this list.

    Using data taken from the official Grammy website, Stacker compiled a list of the most nominated acts that have failed to walk away with a win. Musicians were ranked according to the number of nominations they received during their careers, up to and including 2019, and must not have had a single win by January 2020—except for Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement awards. Artists with an equal number of nominations were sorted by most recent nomination year and then alphabetically.

    Winning is nice, but it isn't everything, and most losers on the list can console themselves with fat bank balances. Some are industry veterans, others are newcomers who have taken the music industry by storm. A select few are current nominees. Will their luck finally change? Tune into the 62nd Grammy Awards Sunday, Jan. 26, to find out.

    In the meantime, read through the list to see which industry titans and more obscure acts are still chasing the golden gramophone.

    You may also like: Women in film, by the numbers

  • #48. Public Enemy

    - Nominations: 6
    - Most recent nomination: 1994

    Consisting of social activist Chuck D and zany cohort Flavor Flav, Public Enemy busted through the industry doors in 1986 and instantly began changing the cultural landscape. With intelligent, political, and controversial lyrics, the famous duo put America's racial misdeeds front and center. To this day, Public Enemy's influence can be seen throughout the hip-hop sphere. That they never won a Grammy feels negligible next to their substantial contributions to music and culture.

  • #47. Tupac Shakur

    - Nominations: 6
    - Most recent nomination: 1999

    Rapper Tupac Shakur rose to fame tackling social injustice through music before succumbing to the dangers of street life. Shakur's legacy remains shrouded in mystery and contradiction. His last Grammy nomination came posthumously in 1999 for the song “Changes,” providing a fitting retread into his earlier days as a thoughtful provocateur.

  • #46. Tamia Hill

    - Nominations: 6
    - Most recent nomination: 2012

    With a career spanning two decades, Canadian singer-songwriter Tamia Hill (better-known as Tamia) is no stranger to comebacks. Her 2012 song “Beautiful Surprise” was her first big hit in six years.

  • #45. Billie Eilish

    - Nominations: 6
    - Most recent nomination: 2019

    For some entries on this list, it isn't entirely fair to highlight that they have not yet won a Grammy, as they are relatively young in their careers. Soon-to-be 18-year-old Billie Eilish, who started her career with the 2017 EP “Don’t Smile at Me,” is an example. However, her 2019 debut studio album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” has impressed critics and fans in the U.S. and abroad.

  • #44. Brothers Osborne

    - Nominations: 6
    - Most recent nomination: 2019

    Despite hitting number 2 on the Billboard Country Airplay charts, the Brothers Osborne has struggled to gain positive attention with the Grammy selection committees. Their single, “Stay a Little Longer,” may break the trend, as it is the pair’s best performing track to date.

    You may also like: 30 best episodes of "Whose Line is it Anyway?"

  • #43. Khalid

    - Nominations: 6
    - Most recent nomination: 2019

    Hit singer Khalid Robinson burst onto the R&B scene in 2017 with “Location,” a song he released while still a senior in high school. All five of Khalid's Grammy nods were for work released in 2017 in connection with his debut album “American Teen.” His follow-up album “Suncity” was well-received when it was released in 2018, but failed to pick up any nominations.

  • #42. Lana Del Rey

    - Nominations: 6
    - Most recent nomination: 2019

    Lana Del Rey is a very controversial persona in American music. While few can deny the magnitude and theatric quality of her sound, many feel that her sudden shift from Lizzie Grant to Del Rey reflects a studio re-packing of the artist and a complete abandonment of authenticity. Yet, it is undeniable that her sad sound has redefined pop, with many artists—including Taylor Swift—becoming loyal fans of the "Summertime Sadness" singer.

  • #41. Lil Nas X

    - Nominations: 6
    - Most recent nomination: 2019

    Lil Nas X is a trailblazer. His single “Old Town Road” achieved Diamond Certification (10 million combined sales and streams) and reached the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 with an entry from the niche genre of country rap was not without its controversies. The only open LGBTQ+ artist to win an award from the CMAs, it is likely that Lil Nas X will grace the Grammy stage sooner than later.

  • #40. Post Malone

    - Nominations: 6
    - Most recent nomination: 2019

    Post Malone, born in Syracuse, N.Y., and raised in Grapevine, Texas, defies labels. A rapper that does not believe he raps, Post Malone has referred to his own music as “genre-less.” Those that follow his music, such as his track “Sunflower” from the “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” soundtrack, finds that it resonates with energy and soul, but also has an embraceable folksy quality to it. This lack of a clear definition, however, has left some in the music industry at unease about Post Malone.

  • #39. En Vogue

    - Nominations: 7
    - Most recent nomination: 1996

    Hailed as one of the best female vocalist groups of all time, En Vogue debuted in 1990 and enjoyed a meteoric rise, peaking in 1996 with their third single, “Don't Let Go (Love).” In 1997, they released their third album, “EV3.” It sold well and earned a Grammy nomination, but also represented a drop in momentum from which the group never completely recovered.

    You may also like: 100 best movies of all time