Most-nominated artists who have never won a Grammy

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April 5, 2022
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Most-nominated artists who have never won a Grammy

The 64th annual Grammy Awards, held April 3, 2022, featured several firsts, a few sweeps, and a handful of slights after being delayed by rising cases of the COVID-19 variant Omicron. A majority of the awards were announced prior to the telecast and no single performer or group dominated the victories.

The awards show took place in Las Vegas for the first time ever and featured Jon Batiste and Silk Sonic scooping up Grammys for every category they were nominated for—five and four, respectively. Nineteen-year-old newcomer Olivia Rodrigo took home three Grammys this year. And, perhaps most newsworthy: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the audience amid the continued Russia-Ukraine conflict via a prerecorded video message, urging performers to “fill the silence with your music.”

But for all the winners, other artists with decades-long careers and myriad hits—from Snoop Dogg to Avril Lavigne—have never touched the golden gramophone. Stacker compiled a list of the most-nominated acts who have yet to take away the big prize, using data from the official Grammy website. Musicians were ranked according to the number of nominations they received during their careers, up to and including 2021, and must not have had a single win by April 2022. Artists with an equal number of nominations were sorted by most recent nomination year and then alphabetically. Some are industry veterans, others are newcomers who have taken the music industry by storm. Will their luck ever change?

The Grammys have faced its share of controversy, especially after nominees have been revealed and during the actual awards ceremony after the winner has been announced. Artists and musicians alike have protested over the Grammys’ lack of recognition for artists of color and dated selection process. Despite boycotts in previous years, many may agree that a Grammy win is a musician’s career milestone.

Read through the list to see which industry titans and more obscure acts are still chasing the golden statue.

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#37. 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. Their song “Bring the Noise” was nominated for the Best Metal Performance Grammy in 1994.

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#36. 2Pac

- Nominations: 6
- Most recent nomination: 1999

2Pac, also known as Tupac Shakur, rose to fame rapping about social injustice in his 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.

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#35. 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, though she’s yet to secure a Grammy Award for her canon.

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#34. 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 repacking 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.

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#33. 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.

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#32. Queens of the Stone Age

- Nominations: 7
- Most recent nomination: 2017

Formed in the mid-’90s, California outfit Queens of the Stone Age is known for their heavy riffs and occasional collaborations with fellow rockers like Dave Grohl. “Villains” was nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award, but the band went home empty-handed.

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#31. Khalid

- Nominations: 7
- Most recent nomination: 2022

Hit singer Khalid 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 to date 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. He received an Album of the Year Grammy nomination for his appearance on Justin Bieber’s “Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe)” album in 2022.

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#30. Avril Lavigne

- Nominations: 8
- Most recent nomination: 2003

Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne was just 16 years old when she signed a two-album deal with Arista Records. What followed was a wildly successful string of hits, amounting to more than 40 million albums sold by 2013. Lavigne’s infectious pop-punk sensibilities have earned her plenty of recognizition as well as her fair share of awards, but no Grammy.

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#29. Backstreet Boys

- Nominations: 8
- Most recent nomination: 2018

At the height of the boy band craze came the Backstreet Boys, a group of five singers and dancers who churned out hit after hit. In 1998, they received a key to the city of Orlando, Florida, where they were first discovered. They also have multiple Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, and MTV Video Awards. Despite these accolades, the band has yet to add a Grammy to their haul.

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#28. Janelle Monaé

- Nominations: 8
- Most recent nomination: 2018

Acclaimed actress and singer Janelle Monáe is no stranger to the Grammy Awards. In 2008, she received her first nomination, for Best R&B Performance, and together with Bruno Mars, made her stage debut at the show in 2011. Her latest album “Dirty Computer” and music video “PYNK” are both received nominations but failed to earn the artist a Grammy win.

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#27. Blake Shelton

- Nominations: 8
- Most recent nomination: 2019

While Blake Shelton today is better known for his role as a judge on NBC’s hit “The Voice,” he is also a highly prolific country artist who holds the record for the most consecutive #1 singles on the Billboard Country Airplay charts. Among a few other artists on this list, Shelton’s eight previous Grammy nominations that failed to earn him a win feel like an oversight that deserves to be addressed.

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#26. Sia

- Nominations: 9
- Most recent nomination: 2017

Besides recording her own popular music, Australian singer-songwriter Sia pens hit singles for fellow artists like Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Beyoncé. According to legend, it took Sia all of 14 minutes to write Rihanna's hit song “Diamonds.” As if all that wasn’t enough, Sia is also an acclaimed video director and performance artist.

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#25. Alice in Chains

- Nominations: 9
- Most recent nomination: 2018

Seattle grunge rockers Alice in Chains have racked up nine Grammy nominations since Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney formed the band back in 1987. Shortlisted for Best Hard Rock Performance for the single “Man in the Box” in 1992, the band left the awards ceremony empty-handed.

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#24. Post Malone

- Nominations: 9
- Most recent nomination: 2020

Post Malone, born in Syracuse, New York, 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, find 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.

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#23. Travis Scott

- Nominations: 9
- Most recent nomination: 2022

Self-releasing his first mixtape in 2013, Travis Scott broke onto the scene. With “Rodeo,” his first studio album—his third release—Scott was well-received by the hip-hop community. His single “Sicko Mode” from his third studio album, “Astroworld,” earned his first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2018. Scott was most recently nominated for Album of the Year for his work on Kanye West’s album, “Donda,” in 2022.

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#22. Nicki Minaj

- Nominations: 10
- Most recent nomination: 2015

Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj hit the Billboard #1 spot with her debut 2010 album “Pink Friday,” and has been a pop culture mainstay ever since. Besides her slew of Grammy nominations, Minaj was the inspiration for a limited-edition Barbie Doll auctioned off for charity. Sadly, her influence in rap and pop music has yet to earn her the coveted Grammy.

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#21. Wiz Khalifa

- Nominations: 10
- Most recent nomination: 2015

Cameron Jibril Thomaz, better known as Wiz Khalifa, once claimed to spend $10,000 a month on marijuana. That didn’t stop his native city of Pittsburgh from declaring Dec. 12, 2012, “Wiz Khalifa Day,” however. Wiz Khalifa has recorded tons of hit songs, earning him 10 Grammy nominations.

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#20. Eric Church

- Nominations: 10
- Most recent nomination: 2020

CMT Award winner Eric Church has been topping the country charts with singles like “Drink in My Hand” and “The Only Way I Know.” Credited as giving Taylor Swift her big break, Church has been a mainstay in country music for nearly 15 years. Church’s latest album, “Desperate Man,” was released in 2018.

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#19. Elly Ameling

- Nominations: 11
- Most recent nomination: 1990

Most of those tuning in to watch the Grammys aren’t watching for the classical categories. For that reason alone, Elly Ameling may not ring a bell. However, the Dutch soprano carved out a highly respectable career, recording more than 150 albums of classical works. Ameling was knighted in the Netherlands in 1971.

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#18. Vanessa Williams

- Nominations: 11
- Most recent nomination: 1997

One has to remember deeply to recall that Vanessa L. Williams—the first African American to win the Miss America crown—was an acclaimed singer. An actress, television personality, and fashion mogul, her 1988 debut album, “The Right Stuff,” paled in comparison to her follow-up albums, “The Comfort Zone” and “The Sweetest Days,” which saw critical and popular acclaim. With her last album, “The Real Thing,” released in 2009, Williams is largely retired from music.

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#17. Connie Smith

- Nominations: 11
- Most recent nomination: 2010

Country legend Connie Smith may not rank alongside contemporaries like Lynn Anderson or Dolly Parton, but that’s not for lack of talent or success—quite the opposite, in fact. Smith has enjoyed a long and rewarding career with plenty of awards and 11 Grammy nominations to show for it.

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#16. R. Carlos Nakai

- Nominations: 11
- Most recent nomination: 2014

If you’re into yoga or meditation, there’s a reasonable chance you’ve heard R. Carlos Nakai without even knowing it. The revered Native American flutist is a veritable institution in the genres of New Age and instrumental. In 1989, Nakai released “The Canyon Trilogy,” a trio of works that became the only Native American albums to achieve platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America.

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#15. Lenny Gomulka

- Nominations: 12
- Most recent nomination: 2006

Not only has polka artist Lenny Gomulka racked up 12 Grammy Award nominations throughout his career, but he also penned “Say Hello to Someone in Massachusetts,” the Bay State’s official polka song.

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#14. Keith Jarrett

- Nominations: 12
- Most recent nomination: 2010

A prodigy, jazz pianist Keith Jarrett started playing the piano before he was 3 years old. He received his first nomination in 1971 for Best Jazz Performance By A Group and his last in 2010 for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. Unfortunately, Jarrett was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 1996, forcing him to curtail his career.

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#13. Busta Rhymes

- Nominations: 12
- Most recent nomination: 2011

Rapper Busta Rhymes, born Trevor George Smith Jr., made sure his music stayed raw in the ’90s. These days, he’s expanded his horizons with occasional guest appearances on shows like “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Master of None,” and serving as inspiration for a small island named after him. Busta Rhymes’ most recent Grammy nomination was for a feature on Chris Brown’s song “Look at Me Now,” which earned Grammy nods for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 54th ceremony.

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#12. Diana Ross

- Nominations: 12
- Most recent nomination: 2012

As a founding member of The Supremes and an indisputably successful solo artist, Diana Ross may seem like a shoo-in at any given Grammy Awards ceremony. Nevertheless, she’s a 12-time runner-up. To make up for such blatant oversight, Ross was honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

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#11. Spyro Gyra

- Nominations: 13
- Most recent nomination: 2009

Jazz fusion outfit Spyro Gyra has over 30 albums to its name, but no Grammy wins to-date. The band still tours after 40 years and occasionally records—meaning hope isn't entirely lost.

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#10. Katy Perry

- Nominations: 13
- Most recent nomination: 2014

Katy Perry’s 2008 hit single “I Kissed A Girl” launched a meteoric pop career that’s still going strong. Assuming she keeps those continual hits coming, Perry’s 13 Grammy Award nominations could increase soon, along with her chances of winning.

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#9. Musiq Soulchild

- Nominations: 13
- Most recent nomination: 2018

With a career spanning 20 years, Musiq Soulchild continues to seduce audiences with elements of funk, blues, jazz, gospel, and hip-hop. The artist’s 2017 release, “Feel the Real,” was nominated for Best R&B Album but failed to take the prize.

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#8. Toshiko Akiyoshi

- Nominations: 14
- Most recent nomination: 1994

Now 89 years old, Japanese jazz pianist and bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi first appeared on vinyl in 1954 and released about one album per year in the decades that followed. Along the way, Akiyoshi racked up plenty of acclaim and 14 Grammy Award nominations.

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#7. Martina McBride

- Nominations: 14
- Most recent nomination: 2011

Martina McBride developed her passion for country music singing in her father’s band as a child, the beginning of a long and fruitful career that saw McBride tackle a range of themes and styles with consistent success. Through her music and her charitable endeavors, McBride has been a tireless and pivotal figure in the fight against domestic violence.

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#6. Dierks Bentley

- Nominations: 14
- Most recent nomination: 2016

Dierks Bentley’s first Grammy Award nominations came in 2006 for his top-selling track “Every Mile A Memory.” The popular country singer has garnered 12 more nominations since, the most recent of which came in 2016.

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#5. Joe Satriani

- Nominations: 15
- Most recent nomination: 2007

If rock fans aren’t readily familiar with guitar legend Joe Satriani, it’s because he doesn’t write hit singles. Accordingly, most of Satriani’s 15 Grammy Award nominations fall in the category of Best Rock Instrumental Performance. And while he does indeed shred his guitar with gusto, he’s also no stranger to catchy melodies: Just ask Coldplay.

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#4. Björk

- Nominations: 15
- Most recent nomination: 2018

While Icelandic singer Björk has always been synonymous with eccentricity and experimentation, she’s delivered a surprising amount of accessible work over the years. Early albums like “Homogenic” were rife with catchy hooks and electronic textures.

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#3. Fred Hersch

- Nominations: 15
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch’s first Grammy nod was a nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, which came in 1993, and was followed by two more in 1995 and 2006. Hersch rebounded from health issues in 2008 with eight more Grammy nominations. Shortlisted this year for both Best Improvised Jazz Solo and Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Hersch may still walk away with a win.

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#2. Snoop Dogg

- Nominations: 16
- Most recent nomination: 2015

Snoop Dogg has remained a pop culture icon for over two decades. These days you’re just as likely to find the rapper hosting game shows or throwing dinner parties with Martha Stewart as you are to see him performing music.

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#1. Brian McKnight

- Nominations: 17
- Most recent nomination: 2004

Known primarily as an R&B crooner, Brian McKnight is also a multi-instrumentalist, writer, and producer. Raised a Seventh-day Adventist, McKnight frequently infuses religious themes into his work, and as of late, those themes dominate. His last Grammy Award nomination, meanwhile, came in 2004 for the song “What We Do Here.”

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