Nestled among a list of pop culture phenomenons like Billie Eilish and Lizzo, the 62nd Grammy Awards nomination announcement on November 20 included a local surprise. Austin soul-funk duo Black Pumas are among those vying for the Grammy's best new artist trophy.
Black Pumas is comprised of singer Eric Burton and producer-guitarist Adrian Quesada, one of Austin’s best-known musicians and a fixture of the local music scene. Throughout his decades-long career, Quesada has performed with a diverse array of artists including Prince, Los Lobos, and GZA. In 2011, he nabbed his first Grammy for best Latin rock album for his work with Grupo Fantasma.
Though less than two years old, Black Pumas has quickly garnered an Austin fanbase, regularly selling out venues like The Mohawk. And the rest of the world is starting to take notice, beginning with an October appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
In an interview with CultureMap this summer, Quesada spoke of the band's seemingly meteoric rise, saying, "I knew we had something special right after the first show we played. I didn’t realize it would catch on worldwide at the rate that it has, but I knew the music was good, soulful, and sincere."
The Austin band joins some of 2019’s biggest names in the new artist category. In addition to Eilish and Lizzo, Maggie Rogers, Tank and the Bangas, Yola, Rosalía, and “Old Town Road” sensation Lil Nas X also got nods. The winner will be announced January 26, 2020, during a ceremony aired on CBS.
Those wanting to congratulate the band in person, however, will only have to wait a few days. Black Pumas is currently breezing through the United Kingdom before returning to Austin for a free show at the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium November 29 as part of Longhorn City Limits.