Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, Bastille, Haim: Which Best New Artist Grammy nominees will come to Tampa Bay? (2024)

Published Feb. 4, 2015

Welcome to the sixth installment of a Soundcheck Grammy week tradition! Every year, we attempt to guess which of this year's Best New Artist Grammy nominees will be the most likely to perform in Tampa in the next calendar year.

Our thinking is simple: Tampa is an oft-overlooked tour stop by up-and-coming artists, and any time a universally declared "best new arist" comes to town, it's noteworthy -- and can be kind of a pleasant surprise.

Let's recap the last five years:

2010: Winners Zac Brown Band did not grace Tampa Bay fans with their presence in the year after winning, though they've been regular guests here since. Nominees MGMT and Silversun Pickups did perform in Tampa in 2011; the Ting Tings and Keri Hilson did not.

2011: Nominee Drake played Tampa in 2011, but Justin Bieber, Florence and the Machine and winner Esperanza Spalding didn't come here until 2012. We're still waiting for a visit from Mumford and Sons.

2012: Winner Bon Iver and nominee The Band Perry came to Tampa in 2012. Nominees Skrillex and J. Cole came later. Nicki Minaj hasn't performed here since 2010.

2013: A pretty good year! Nominees Hunter Hayes, Alabama Shakes and the Lumineers all played Tampa Bay in 2013. Winners Fun., who've been here several times over the years, have been MIA since December 2012. And Frank Ocean, as expected, is nowhere to be seen.

2014: Nominee Kacey Musgraves performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in May, but that was it. Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran and winners Macklemore and Ryan Lewis came to Tampa in the year or so leading up to their nominations, but haven't been back since. We'd never have predicted that James Blake would be the first of the bunch to come back to Tampa -- he'll be at the Big Guava Music Festival this May.

So! On to this year's nominees, and our just-for-funsies predictions. Of the five nominees, three have played Tampa Bay in the last calendar year, which makes oddsmaking tricky. As always, these odds are for entertainment purposes only; please, no wagering.

Bastille (20-1): The Pompeii mood-rockers played an extremely well-received set at 2014's 97X BBQ, but they may stick to big festivals until their second album comes out. A lot of their current dates are out of the country. We're betting they're the longest shot on this list. Although...

Iggy Azalea (17-1): This one's tough. It's kind of surprising Iggy Ig never came to Tampa during her Fancy reign in 2014. But the Australian rapper is already scheduled to play Orlando's Amway Center and Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena in May. Another trip to Florida this calendar year isn't out of the question ... but we're not itching to get in on that action.

Haim (15-1): They, too, played a well-received festival set in Tampa in 2014, and are working on a new album. A fall tour would make a lot of sense, although if they come to Florida, a big venue in Orlando, like Hard Rock Live or the House of Blues, seems like a likelier destination, especially since they skipped O-Town in 2014. Or, hey, maybe Taylor Swift will bring them to Raymond James Stadium!

Sam Smith (10-1): Call it a hunch. Tampa Bay has seen more bookings of this ilk in recent years, and Smith is overdue for a trip to Florida. He seems to be opting for arenas on his current tour, which might lead him to a venue like the USF Sun Dome. He was just announced as a performer at July's Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Ky., so a U.S. summer tour seems realistic. Our upset special of the day: We predict Sam Smith, this year's likely Best New Artist Grammy winner, will come to Central Florida in 2015.

Brandy Clark (9-1): Considering Tampa's strength as a country music market, you can never go wrong slotting a country singer at the top of this list, even one who just played here last month. Clark opened for Alan Jackson at the USF Sun Dome on Jan. 9, but she's itching to stay back out on the road. As she told us in an interview, "I'm hooked on it now. I have to go out. ... I've already got some shows in this summer, but I don't think I'm at the point where I can go out and do my full headlining tour. So I'd love to get on the right tour and be a support act this summer." Clark is not mentioned on the bills for any of this year's Country Megaticket shows at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, which is kind of a surprise, but we still think an opening slot in Tampa Bay at some point this year makes too much sense not to happen.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, Bastille, Haim: Which Best New Artist Grammy nominees will come to Tampa Bay? (2024)
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