Who Is Courtney Barnett? The Grammy Nominated Singer-Songwriter Is This Year's Biggest Surprise

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 07: Singer Courtney Barnett poses at the 29th Annual ARIA Nominations Event on October 7, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Source: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When the 2016 Grammy nominations were announced Monday morning, Dec. 7, we heard a bunch of familiar names: Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Meghan Trainor, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, etc. But there was one name that stood out. Under the category for Best New Artist is a name you might not of heard before. Who is Courtney Barnett, the singer-songwriter nominated alongside Tori Kelly, Sam Hunt, James Bay, and Meghan Trainor? She's this year's biggest surprise, but maybe she shouldn't be.

After all, the 28-year-old Sydney, Australia native has been performing, and receiving praise in the music press, for over six years now. But it was her double EP release in late 2013 that really put her on the map. Aptly called The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, Barnett combined her two previous releases, I've Got A Friend Called Emily Ferris (2012) and How To Carve A Carrot Into A Rose (2013) into Split Peas. Rolling Stone reported that Split Peas got "rave reviews" and was admired enough to earn her a spot on the 2014 Coachella roster. It was her song "Avant Gardener" that listeners quickly latched onto. As of now, it has 2.15 million views on YouTube. 

Which, no, isn't a lot compared to fellow Best New Artist nominee Kelly, whose song "Should've Been Us" is closing in on 18 million. Does this hurt Barnett's chances at bring home the gold? Not really, the Grammys are also all over the place when it comes to awarding the winner. In 2012, indie and little known artist Bon Iver beat out Nicki Minaj, but last year, the award went to crowd-favorite Sam Smith over indie artists Brandy Clark and Haim.

Before we roll out predictions for Barnett and the rest of the Best New Artist nominees, let's get to know her, shall we?

This Is Her Biggest Hit

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Boston's NPR news station named it the song of the week in Nov., 2013 and Pitchfork said the song builds "on the wordy irreverence of mid-'60s Bob Dylan" and is a "Byrds-ian blend of psychedelia, folk and country." One listen, and you're hooked. 

She Was In A Couple Bands

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She was a guitarist in Rapid Transit from 2010 to 2011, then joined Immigrant Union from 2011 to 2013. The Australian bands didn't especially take off. In 2012, she released that first EP Emily Ferris to rave reviews. 

She Started Her Own Record Label

In 2012, Barnett started her own record label, called Milk! Records. It was on that label that she released her first two EPs, then the double EP in 2013. The label plans on releasing new music soon. Barnett runs the label with her partner, Jen Cloher. Which leads us to ... 

She's In Love

In April, 2015, Rolling Stone spotlighted Barnett and reported that she has been living with Cloher, her romantic and business partner, for four years. 

She Performs All Over

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Before Paris, she was in Liverpool and Bristol.

Image: MilkRecordProjects

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