There was no better place to be on Feb. 2 than Spotify’s 2023 best new artist showcase. The streaming service put together an irresistible Grammys week party in West Hollywood on Thursday night, ruled by its diverse lineup of the industry’s hottest rising acts: Anitta, Omar Apollo, DOMi & JD Beck, Samara Joy, Latto, Måneskin, Muni Long, Tobe Nwigwe, Molly Tuttle, and Wet Leg, all of whom are nominees for the prestigious best new artist award.
The invite-only event also brought several stars out of the woodwork including Leonardo Decaprio, Jared Leto, Machine Gun Kelly, Baz Luhrmann, Becky G, Trevor Noah and Orville Peck, who spent the first half of the night chatting it up with Trixie Mattel and Bob the Drag Queen.
Also in attendance were former best new artist nominees Kaytranada (2021), Doja Cat (2021), Kid Laroi (2022) and Anderson.Paak (2017), who at one point in the evening took over the decks as his vinyl-spinning alter ego DJ Pee Wee.
“Last year I won two Grammys for this record,” he said as his and Bruno Mars’ “Leave the Door Open” began to play (winner of record of the year and best R&B performance). On the red carpet, .Paak was as smiley as ever, posing alongside Domi and JD Beck, the instrumental jazz prodigies signed under his APESHIT Inc. imprint. The young duo opened the evening with a set of four songs: “Whatup” “Smile,” “Bowling,” and “Not Tight/Sniff,” while .Paak appeared front row, displaying the same enthused energy as a soccer mom watching her kids play.
From there, country artist Molly Tuttle took over the stage with a backing band whose prickly strings echoed throughout the venue’s extended hallway. Samara Joy’s powerhouse jazz vocals did the same, and the 23-year-old Bronx native sounded silkier than ever through her own rendition of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” Muni Long followed up with a sultry performance of “Hrs & Hrs,” which is up for best R&B performance at this year’s awards, and really got the party going as guests began flocking to order Spotify’s Grammy-themed drinks.
All of the performers were roughly 15 minutes apart, just as long as their sets, which made the night an all-live-music affair — minus the bumping DJ sets from Coco and Breezy, who played a mix of R&B and electro hits.
Italian rockers Måneskin appeared on stage in matching white suits (their fashion choices as a band have been the cherry on top of their rockstar appeal) and opened with their rebel tune “Kool Kids,” which instantly made the crowd of party-goers rush to the front of the stage.
Anitta then transported the crowd to Brazil with hits like “Envolver,” “Bola Rebola” and her funk carioca hit “Vai Malandra,” and though she was quick to apologize for her “duck voice” because she had been sick, that didn’t seem to affect her performance much. She had nearly everyone in the room, including Becky G and Joy, up on their feet and singing along.
Rapper Tobe Nwigwe — the only independent artist up for best new artist — hit the stage backed by piano keys and his pregnant wife, who joined him for a duet on the song “Fye Fye.” Draped in a black cape, Apollo appeared as the second-to-last performer and twirled through a performance of “Endlessly,” and his first charting single, “Evergreen.” Apollo arrived just after having performed a similar short set for his label Warner Music’s Grammy week event.
Promptly closing out the night at 11:30 p.m. was indie duo Wet Leg, whose thumping performance of their 2021 single “Chaise Longue” incited an industry mosh pit in the front rows. Singer Rhian Teasdale literally sparkled under the spotlight as she sported a chainmail-inspired look, and strummed on her sticker-covered guitar.
By the time the night came to a close, the satisfaction of having been able to catch all 10 acts was palpable but the conversations shifted back to one question: “Who will win?” Luckily, all will be revealed Sunday night, Feb. 5, when the 65th annual Grammy Awards hit the Crypto.com arena.
You can hear from this year’s best new artist nominees in Spotify’s Mic Check episode.