The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) released its “Class of 2022” list Wednesday night, celebrating 39 young artists whose records went gold or platinum in the past calendar year. The news was mixed, though — although 39 is a healthy crop of newcomers to break through with singles, none of these artists have had an entire album achieve gold status, and Gayle was the only performer on the list to have a single go multiplatinum.
Gayle’s Atlantic Records release “Abcdefu” was certified triple platinum last year, surpassing any of her newer competitors; Platinum was as high as any of the others got with a single. Homegrown newcomer Bailey Zimmerman also had a good reason to pop the champagne cork, though. The Warner Music Nashville/Elektra singer-songwriter was the only new artist to have two singles reach platinum status, “Fall in Love” and “Rock and a Hard Place.”
Only Mooney Long is represented among the 10 artists nominated for Best New Artist at the 2023 Grammys, a platinum award for her single “Hours and Hours.” Other artists nominated for Grammys were not eligible for this RIAA list either because they had a record reach gold status in the previous year (like Maneskin) or because they did not reach the 500,000 sales plateau.
If you’re wondering why last year’s breakout star, Jack Bryan, isn’t on the RIAA Class of 2022 list, it’s because he already came into the year with a gold single. His song “Going South” was released in 2019 and was certified gold in 2021 before reaching platinum status last year. (Brian added a second platinum single to his collection with “Something in Orange” in 2022)
The RIAA created its annual “Class of” list by looking at artists who received their first gold or platinum certification in 2022 for recordings released in 2021 or 2022.
The thinness of this year’s list suggests that there weren’t many newcomers in 2022 who have become as culturally ubiquitous as Gayle and Brian (neither of whom, surprisingly, received a Best New Artist Grammy nomination). That’s in contrast to the RIAA’s Class of 2021, where Olivia Rodrigo claimed one double-platinum album and three multiplatinum singles, and Pooh Shiesty received one triple-platinum single on top of one gold album. The overall number of artists represented on the list was 43 for 2021 and 53 at the end of 2020.
As mentioned earlier, the column for gold or platinum albums from newcomers in 2022 is a blank space, and Gayle is the sole inhabitant of the category for multiplatinum singles. But there are seven singles that have reached the platinum mark — the aforementioned two by Zimmerman and Mooney Long, plus “Build a Beach” by Bela Poyer, “Numb Little Bug” by M. Beihold, “Sleezy World Go” by Sleazy Flow and “I’ll Find You” by Stephen Sanchez. until found”.
The list of new artists earning their first gold singles is even longer, including Akrage, Ann Wilson, Armani White, Avery Anna, Benson Boone, Boywithhook, Chase Matthew, Clinton Kane, Corey Kent, D4VD, Dax, Amy Meli, Fireboy. DML, FL Dusa, Gloriala, Jax, Jessia, Jesse Murph, JVKE, Lauren Spencer Smith (who had two cut golds), Leah Kate, Marreux, Nate Smith, Nessa Barrett, PGF Nook, RealestK, Rema, Ramble, Sara Cothran , Smiley, Dubar and Warren Ziders.
The full list can be explored here.