7 Detroit Artists Who Have Never Won a Grammy

ou know their names and music very well, but you've never seen any of these artists take to the stage and thank everybody, their mama and God for a Grammy award. Why? They've never won one – and some have never been nominated. As we head into Grammy night tonight, let's take a look at some hometown favorites who have never won music's highest honor.

1. Diana Ross

Detroit divas have no shortage of Grammy win; Aretha Franklin has 18, Anita Baker has eight. But the grand diva of them all, Ms. Ross, has no Grammys on her mantel despite breaking girl-group ground with The Supremes and, of course, selling millions of records as a soloist. One of Ross' most notable losses was a Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Grammy to Stephanie Mills in 1981 (for "Never Knew Love Like This Before," by the way). Just a few years earlier, Ross starred in the movie version of "The Wiz," a role Mills originated on Broadway.


2. Big Sean

All could change tonight if "One Man Can Change the World" wins the gold for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, but despite three albums and countless features on big hits, this Cass Tech grad has yet to take home a Grammy. Two of his three nominations were for "Mercy," the collaboration between him, Kanye West, 2 Chainz and Pusha T, but Sean himself has missed out on big categories like Best New Artist and Best Rap Album.

3. J. Dilla

Though heralded as one of the best contemporary hip-hop producers of our time – maybe even the best, if we're being real – Dilla never got his flowers while he was living. He has two nominations to his credit – one for Erykah Badu's song "Didn't Cha Know" and one for Common’s album, "Like Water for Chocolate" – but that's it. Expect some kind of posthumus honor in the next few years once the Recording Academy realizes his greatness.


4. Slum Village

Eight albums deep, and a Grammy nomination remains elusive for one of Detroit's great hip-hop collectives. Lineup changes and Dilla's absence aside, Detroit hip-hop has had a bigger hill to climb when it comes to getting noticed by the Grammys, which are usually dominated by New York and Atlanta acts.

5. Kem 

Despite being an adult R&B staple, rivaling only Charlie Wilson in terms of radio play, Kem's string of hits, including "I Can’t Stop Loving You," "Share My Life" and "It’s You" have gone unrecognized by the Grammys. But considering Kem's output, we feel a nomination is coming sooner rather than later.



6. Dwele

He's a star singer in his own right and counts a Kanye West collab, "Flashing Lights" on his resume. Nevertheless, the "What’s Not to Love" singer has no Grammys on the shelf. Save for Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and a few other Motowners, male R&B singers from the Motor City haven't had the best luck in recent years.


7. Kierra Sheard

A scion in gospel royalty, Kierra's mom and aunts – you know, The Clark Sisters? – have two Grammys in the family vault. But Sheard, who has been carrying the torch with five gospel albums that marry contemporary R&B with the word of the Lord, not unlike her aunties, has yet to bring home a Grammy of her own despite being recognized by other Christian-based awards committees.




All photographs courtesy of artists' social media except J. Dilla, courtesy of the J. Dilla Foundation.

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