Just seven months after last year’s COVID-delayed ceremony, the Billboard Music Awards took over Los Angeles on Sunday night, hosted by Nick Jonas and featuring performers like AJR, the Jonas Brothers, and BTS. While modern icons like The Weeknd and Taylor Swift unsurprisingly sweeped, there were several winners who hadn’t won a BBMA before. Let’s meet those artists!
AJR’s “Bang!” was virtually inescapable last year, and it earned them their first win for Top Rock Song! They beat the likes of Machine Gun Kelly, All Time Low, and twenty one pilots, who performed at the ceremony. The song peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking the band’s first Top 10 hit and highest-charting single to date.
DaBaby was undeniably one of the biggest stars of 2020, and his hit “Rockstar” became his first song to top the Billboard Hot 100 last summer, even spending seven non-consecutive weeks at #1. He and featured artist Roddy Ricch took home Top Streaming Song and Top Rap Song for the track, which has collected over 1.1 billion Spotify streams.
Between the #1 hit “Say So,” the recently viral “Streets,” and her latest single “Kiss Me More,” which she performed at the show, Doja Cat has made herself a household name and superstar in the past year, earning over 1.3 billion streams on those three songs alone. She went head-to-head with Jhené Aiko and SZA for Top R&B Artist and she emerged victorious!
Elevation Worship is one of the biggest acts in Christian music right now, bringing together several musicians from Charlotte, North Carolina’s Elevation Church. They took home Top Christian Artist, as well as Top Christian Song for their track “Graves Into Gardens,” featuring Brandon Lake.
This year’s trophy for Top Latin Duo/Group went to Eslabón Armado, a trio whose 2020 debut album broke the Top 10 of Billboard’s Latin charts. The group released their first EP in 2019, and if their newer work and this award is any indication, they’re here to stay and keep rising!
Gabby Barrett was the most-nominated female artist of the night, earning 9 nominations thanks to her chart-topping track “I Hope,” which saw even more success thanks to a remix by Charlie Puth. Unsurprisingly, she took home Top Country Song and Top Collaboration for “I Hope,” as well as Top Country Female Artist.
Jhay Cortez is one of the biggest new Puerto Rican artists, and he’s already collaborated with the likes of Mora and Bad Bunny. “Dákiti,” his collab with Bad Bunny, won the award for Top Latin Song, after it hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart.
Karol G has been one of the biggest Latin artists in recent years, finding success with hits like “Tusa” and “BICHOTA,” which she performed at the ceremony. She earned the BBMA for Top Latin Female Artist, beating Becky G and Rosalía for the honor.
Machine Gun Kelly
MGK rocked his way to the top of the charts with September 2020’s Tickets to My Downfall, his first pop-punk album that spawned hits like “Bloody Valentine” and “my ex’s best friend,” featuring blackbear. It hit #1 on the Billboard 200, Top Rock Albums, and Top Alternative Albums charts, so it’s no surprise that he took home the prizes for Top Rock Album and Top Rock Artist.
Maverick City Music
The gospel collective Maverick City Music came together in 2018, and since then, they’ve become a key artist in the modern worship music scene. The group won Top Gospel Album for their April 2020 record Maverick City Vol. 3 Part 1, their first live album.
Megan Thee Stallion
2020 was truly the year of the stallion, with Megan securing hits like “Savage,” “Body,” “Cry Baby,” and “Girls in the Hood.” She won the award for Top Rap Female Artist, beating collaborator Cardi B and Saweetie for the honor. We can’t wait to see what she does next!
Despite being banned from this year’s BBMA ceremony because of a racism scandal, Morgan Wallen managed to take home three awards: Top Country Artist, Top Country Male Artist, and Top Country Album for Dangerous.
It’s been a little over a year since we lost Pop Smoke, and since then, his song “What You Know Bout Love” and album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, have been mainstays on the Billboard charts. He won the awards for Top New Artist, Top Rap Artist, Top Rap Male Artist, Top Rap Album, and Top Billboard 200 Album.
Even with his breakout hit “The Box” topping the Hot 100 in 2020, Roddy Ricch didn’t win a Billboard Music Award until this year. “Rockstar,” his collaboration with DaBaby, earned the awards for Top Streaming Song and Top Rap Song.
Guyanese-American act SAINt JHN saw viral success last year with the Ibanek remix of his track “Roses,” which popped up everywhere from TikToks to TV commercials. He earned the award for Top Dance/Electronic Song, beating two Lady Gaga songs and Surf Mesa’s viral “ily (i love you baby).”
Who’s your favorite BBMA-winning artist?
Award Season Entertainment News Los Angeles Music TREMG news ajr bbmas billboard music awards Dababy doja cat elevation worship eslabon armado gabby barrett jhay cortez karol g Machine Gun Kelly maverick city music Megan Thee Stallion morgan wallen Pop Smoke Roddy Ricch SAINt JHN
Hi! I’m Madison Murray, a pop culture and music writer who also loves writing about lifestyle and fashion. I have credits on sites like TREMG, Young Hollywood, and Audible Addixion, and I’m the founder of Melodic Musings. In addition to writing, I’m a community editor on Genius, lyric curator on Musixmatch, and a playlist curator at VOLUP2. My favorite artists include Taylor Swift, Machine Gun Kelly, BLACKPINK, Elko, phem, and YUNGBLUD. She/her.