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To the dismay of Directioners everywhere, One Direction never actually earned any Grammy nominations over the years (it’s such a point of fanbase contention that the official Grammy website actually fields a question about it from a curious 1D fan).
And while Zayn Malik could finally earn some Grammy gold in 2017 thanks to his critically and commercially successful solo debut, Mind of Mine, there’s one Grammy award we can safely say he won’t be receiving — best new artist.
True, the nominees for best new artist at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards haven’t been revealed yet, but Zayn can’t be one of them. That’s because, going by the Recording Academy’s rules, he doesn’t count as a new artist thanks to his four-album run with a boy band that starting ruling the world in 2012.
“This was actually pretty clear cut given the international success of One Direction. It’s been a few years since Zayn Malik came to prominence as a member of that group, making him ineligible for the best new artist category this year,” says Bill Freimuth, senior vp of awards at the Recording Academy.
While the Grammy definition of “new artist” can get a little murky (artists are sometimes nominated for the award several years after releasing their debut album), it’s hard to argue with the fact that Zayn has been an internationally recognizable pop star for years now (if he had been a member of a group that hadn’t achieved massive mainstream success, however, it could be a different story). So in that sense, the Zquad shouldn’t be too surprised. And hopefully they can take solace in the knowledge that he could be up for other Grammy categories in 2017.
The 2017 Grammy Awards are set to air Sunday, Feb. 12, on CBS.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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