Anitta, Omar Apollo, Wet Leg, and More Showcase Their Grammy-Nominated Talent at Spotify’s Best New Artist Party
It couldn’t get bigger than this. The Spotify Best New Artist red carpet was buzzing all night as artists like Tove Lo, Shawn Mendes, and Doechii strutted their way into one of the biggest Grammy week parties, and A-list surprise guests like Leonardo DiCaprio, Trevor Noah, and Jared Leto joined the party Thursday night to celebrate the nominees for one of the Grammys’ most coveted awards.
The West Hollywood Pacific Design Center proved to be the ideal venue for the streaming service’s marquee event, as the celebration welcomed 15-minute performances from all 10 of the nominees for the award this year: Maneskin, Muni Lung, Tobe Nwigwe, DOMi & JD Beck, Samara Joy, Latto, Anitta, Molly Tuttle, Wet Leg and Omar Apollo hit the stage.
Throughout the night, and as performers hit the stage, the event was a revolving door of celebrities, as stars came and went. A few even met each other for the first time — Sabrina Carpenter and Ice Spice hugged and kikied on the red carpet — while others snapped selfies by the bar (Tove Lo took a pic with fellow “royalty” drag queen Gottmik and “Brrr” queen Kim Petras).
The standout of the event was, of course, the performances, some of which started as soon as the red carpet opened up. But a sultry set from Muni Long — who was seen mingling with other artists and meeting fans throughout the night — truly kicked off the party. After Muni, the party was treated to a surprise appearance from booked-and-busy Anderson .Paak’s alter ego, DJ Pee Wee, as he mixed R&B throwbacks with today’s hits. He also surprised the crowd with a drum solo on stage.
The drinks were flowing, and attendees grubbed on food items like New York-style pizza, dumplings, burgers, and hors d’oeuvres. Maneskin matched in all-white suits as the Italian group brought rock vibes to the night for a performance of tracks, including Rush‘s “Kool Kids” and their breakthrough “Beggin’,” as they declared they’re “addicted to rock ‘n’ roll.”
Despite being sick, Anitta — who said she was thankful that Grammy votes were already counted, so this performance was just for fun — got the crowd shaking their behinds as she opened her show with her viral “Envolver” dance before turning the venue into a Brazillian nightclub thanks to “Bola Rebola” and her 2017 hit “Vai Malandra.” As Anitta closed her set with “Boys Don’t Cry,” Becky G, dazzling in a silver dress, could be seen singing along to her fellow Latin pop star’s lyrics with a wide grin.
Then arrived rap star Tobe Nwigwe, who pointed out that he was the only “independent artist nominated” for the Best New Artist award. (Honestly, quite commendable!) He welcomed his pregnant wife on stage for a duet. “I never thought I’d be in this position,” Nwigwe told the crowd before surprising the audience with a soulful (yep, soulful) cover of Soulja Boi’s “Crank Dat.”
Then came el zorro with his infectious smile and heartthrob looks: Omar Apollo. Wearing a black cape and an unbuttoned top, Apollo serenaded the crowd as he twirled onstage during “Go Away.” Apollo, who arrived at the venue after performing at his label Warner Music’s party, interacted with his friends in the audience and seemed to have a blast onstage. He played “Endlessly” and “Invincible” before getting the crowd (which included Bonus Jonas Frankie) in their feels as he finished his set with his breakthrough hit, “Evergreen.”
And who better to end the night than Wet Leg? The duo hit the stage with a full band to close out the night with some rock bangers. “Wet Dream” had everyone bumping as Rhian Teasdale strummed a colorful, stickers-covered guitar reminiscent of Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour cover. (Maybe it’s a way of manifesting winning the award?) At one point, two guys in the crowd made an attempt at a mosh pit. That’s just how good Wet Leg is live.
With a high number of nominees in the Best New Artist category, Spotify accomplished the difficult feat of fitting so many talented performers into a single night — and impressively got them all on stage by 11:30 p.m., partially thanks to their turntable-style stage. The only catch: perhaps starting the party a tad later in the evening would have kept the energy going for all 10 of the performers and kept the party going even later into the night. But then again… it was a Thursday!