From Busking to Best New Artist Contender: Black Pumas Talk Grammys

Black Pumas
Frank Hoensch/Redferns

Black Pumas performs live on stage during a concert at the Frannz on Nov. 12, 2019 in Berlin, Germany.

A Grammy Award nomination for best new artist was cause for Black Pumas to "shed a few tears" in London, where the soulful rock duo was playing as part of its current European tour.

And, of course, it was a good reason to hit a nearby pub to celebrate.

"We even got free tequila shots as the bartenders learned about (the nomination)," the group's Eric Burton told Billboard. Nevertheless, Burton and musical partner Adrian Quesada were duly overwhelmed by the news, which was texted by management.

"I went through every range of emotions," Quesada, who's been in the Grammy chase before with Grupo Fantasma and others, said. "First the adrenalin came out; I felt like I had just dunked in the NBA finals and went to Eric right away. I eventually sat there and shed some tears, too. It was wild."

For Burton, a street busker in L.A. and Austin, where he and Quesada formed Black Pumas two years ago, being nominated for one of the top Grammys is "quite a surreal experience for me. I'm just excited to be part of the conversation, generally. Coming from busking on the street to this...I can't believe it, man. It's crazy."

Black Pumas released its self-titled debut album in June, after winning a pair of Austin Music Awards, best new band and song of the year, shortly before. The set debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and No. 5 on the Vinyl Album survey.

Touring is Black Pumas' focus right now, including North American and European dates during early 2020. Meanwhile, Quesada said, the duo is "trying to find time to make some new music," which is atop Burton's agenda as well. "We're constantly creating," he said. "All I know is writing music. Being on tour has taken us out of it a little bit 'cause we don't have access to the studio every day. But being who we are we're constantly making voice memos and jamming at sound checks. I'm so focused on writing the music; If I get too far out of that I'll be lost."

2020 Grammy Awards