Sometimes it takes a while for the Recording Academy to wake up to a deserving act, leading to nominations in the Best New Artist category that are, well, puzzling.
Look no further than Lizzo or Tank and the Bangas, both of whom released their first albums all the way back in 2013. (Better late than never, we guess.)
But when it comes to Black Pumas, another of this year’s nominees for the coveted trophy, they truly are new.
The Austin, Tx.-based duo comprised of singer Eric Burton and guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada only formed in 2017, releasing their debut self-titled album on June 21, 2019 after a breakthrough performance at South by Southwest just months prior. And while the easy way of describing their sound would be “funk-soul,” one listen to the LP reveals that it’s a bit more complicated than that. The group also takes cues from Latin music and hip-hop to elevate themselves into a sound that’s uniquely their own.
Not surprisingly, it caught the attention of the Academy and landed them a nomination at the 2020 Grammys, held on Sunday, Jan. 26 in Los Angeles, against the likes of the aforementioned pair of acts, as well as Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Rosalia, Maggie Rogers and Yola.
Get to know Black Pumas a little better before their big night on Sunday with their answers to our exclusive Best New Artist Nominee Questionnaire!
Melissa Herwitt / E! Illustration
What was the first thing you did after learning about your nomination?
Adrian: We got a beer at a pub in London to celebrate and called our families.
Eric: The first thing we did was we had a huddle as a band, exchanged a few words and had a group hug.
What was the song or album that made you want to make music and why?
Eric: I grew up raise by my uncle who was recording a religious album called Jesus Love, and I remember being a young kid, visiting the studio with him and seeing the process for the first time.
Adrian: Watching Guns N’ Roses live at the Ritz, and I remember watching them—I think I was 10 years old—and thinking, “Wow, I want to be like them.”
What artist are you dying to collaborate with?
Excluding your own, what was the one song you couldn’t stop listening to this year?
Eric: “Me and My Shadow” by Peggy Lee
Adrian: “Pais Nublado” by Helado Negro
Where will you put your Grammy if you win?
Eric: If we win, I’ll put my Grammy at my mom’s house.
Adrian: If we win, I’ll put it in my studio.
Watch E!’s Live From the Red Carpet 2020 Grammy Awards coverage Sunday, Jan. 26 starting at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT followed by the Grammys telecast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS. And for a recap of music’s biggest night immediately following the show, don’t miss the E! After Party special at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT, only on E!