The Grammy nominations are here and Beyoncé leads the pack with nine nominations, followed by Drake, Rihanna, and Kanye West with eight apiece and Chance the Rapper with seven.
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Tradition will take on innovation — accompanied by plenty of pop-diva razzle-dazzle — when two of music’s most powerful superstars face off at the 59th annual Grammy Awards.
In nominations announced Tuesday, Adele and Beyoncé are competing against each other for three of the major prizes — record, song and album of the year — to be handed out Feb. 12 in a ceremony at Staples Center.
The work they’re being recognized for reflects a stark contrast in how each thinks about sound, style, function — even how a musician should make music available at a moment when streaming is changing the way we listen.
Lightning-rod pop-R&B superstar Beyoncé has scored a field-leading nine Grammy Award nominations for her provocative “Formation” single and “Lemonade” album, the Recording Academy announced Tuesday morning. R&B and hip-hop artists Kanye West, Drake and Rihanna are hot on her heels with eight apiece. And Chance the Rapper is right behind them, with seven nominations his first year in the running.
At the same time, the year’s biggest blockbuster album, Adele’s “25,” yielded five nominations for the British singer-songwriter, with nods in all three of the general categories for which she’s eligible — album, record and song — recognizing her unequaled reach across age, gender and stylistic boundaries with the broad-based appeal of her traditionally rooted pop songs of romantic heartbreak and recovery.
Launching the 2017 awards season with the unveiling of hundreds of nominations over 84 award categories, the Recording Academy cast barely a glance into the rearview mirror of pop music.
The nominations have been revealed for the 2017 Grammy Awards. Beyoncé leads the pack, with a total of nine nominations including album of the year. Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West all earned eight nominations apiece, while Chance the Rapper picked up seven. The artists competing in the album of the year category are Adele, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Drake and Sturgill Simpson.
The Grammy Awards will air live on CBS on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. ET. James Corden will host the event, which will take place at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
See the complete list of nominees:
Album of the year:
“25” — Adele | Review
“Lemonade” — Beyoncé | Review
“Purpose” — Justin Bieber
“Views” — Drake | Review
“A Sailor's Guide to Earth” — Sturgill Simpson | Interview
Record of the year:
"Hello" — Adele
"Formation" — Beyoncé
"7 Years" — Lukas Graham
"Work" — Rihanna featuring Drake | Review
"Stressed Out" — Twenty One Pilots
Song of the year:
"Formation" — Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé)
"Hello" — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)
"I Took a Pill In Ibiza" — Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)
"Love Yourself" — Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)
"7 Years" — Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)
Best new artist:
The Chainsmokers | Interview
Chance the Rapper
Anderson .Paak | Interview
In 2005, Remy Ma landed her first Grammy nomination. The accolade was for “Lean Back,” the inescapable club hit she recorded as part of Fat Joe’s Terror Squad collective.
The Bronx rapper’s solo debut, “There's Something About Remy: Based on a True Story,” dropped a year later. But the album wasn’t the success she hoped for.
Before the rapper could get her career back on track, she was behind bars — convicted on charges of assault, weapon possession and attempted coercion for shooting a friend in a dispute over money.
After six years behind bars, she was released in August 2014 and began plotting a comeback.
Remy hit the studio with Fat Joe to begin work on “Plata o Plomo,” their first joint album. It’s due out in January.
Early in the sessions, the two recorded the single “All the Way Up,” produced by longtime collaborators Cool & Dre.
The record was a smash and continues to be in constant rotation on radio and in clubs. It’s up for the Grammy in rap performance and rap song.
Mike Posner expressed all the usual feelings Tuesday about being nominated for a Grammy Award.
He was honored. He was humbled. He was gratified. But also. he was a little suspicious.
“I’m beginning to think the universe is playing a joke on me,” he said.
That’s because Posner was recognized for “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” his clever pop hit about not wanting to have pop hits.
Believe it or not, until Tuesday morning Memphis soul singer and songwriter William Bell had never been nominated for a Grammy award despite his 60-plus years in the music business.
Given that his now-standard songs — “Born Under a Bad Sign” and “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” issued by Stax Records in the 1960s — have been performed by artists including Brian Eno, Jimi Hendrix, Linda Ronstadt, Homer Simpson and Carole King, the oversight was notable.
His 2016 album, “This is Where I Live,” has changed that.
In a time of political uncertainty, the Grammy nominations offered a clear mandate: innovation over tradition, the future over the past.
In years past, the top categories frequently included career-recognition nominations for veteran stars such as Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock and Steely Dan. But this year’s graying contenders, including Paul Simon, David Bowie and Sting, were snubbed for a slate dominated by millennials.
Beyoncé received nine nominations (making her, at the ripe old age of 35, the eldest top nominee). Kanye West, Rihanna and Drake each got eight and Chance the Rapper seven.
Music by definition is very inclusive, very diverse, and those who make music tend to have greatly opened their minds to diversity.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more surprised by the general album of the year Grammy nomination for Sturgill Simpson’s “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” than Simpson himself.
“In terms of what happened today, this never even crossed my mind,” the Kentucky-born singer and songwriter told The Times from Nashville on Tuesday. “When we came off the road at Thanksgiving, I really thought, ‘Well, that’s it for this one. We’ve done everything,’ and I started thinking about what to do for the next record. This has all been slightly surreal to say the least.”
The nomination puts his critically lauded album up against pop blockbusters such as Adele’s “25,” Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” Drake’s “Views” and Justin Bieber’s “Purpose.” Surreal indeed.
I can get pretty intense in the studio. I get lost in it, and I’m probably not easy to be around.
The biggest songs at the Grammys this year are about breakups, black womanhood and taking pills in Ibiza. All very up-to-the-minute topics for our era in pop music.
But then there’s the little piano ballad about slowly growing older and finding comfort in your family as some friends get left behind.
The song “7 Years,” from the Danish pop-rock quartet Lukas Graham, is an outlier in this year’s top-category Grammy nominations, which are dominated by the likes of Beyoncé, Justin Bieber and Adele. The single, from an international re-release of the act’s 2015 self-titled album, is in contention for record and song of the year, along with pop duo/group performance.
On the road between tour dates in the Midwest, frontman Lukas Forchhammer sounded thrilled to have his single be so lauded. And not just by fans (the song hit No. 2 on Billboard’s singles chart), but also by fellow writers and artists at the Grammys.
“We knew this was peers voting for peers. It’s not like the other awards shows. If it was just fans voting, we wouldn’t have a chance, because we’re probably the smallest band [in the major categories],” Forchhammer said.
“But this is from people who enjoy the skills of how to write songs. ‘7 Years’ doesn’t have a hook, or maybe it’s all a hook. It doesn’t use a lot of the same formulas in other pop songs. We just use instinct and emotion.”
The single is also striking for its homespun, very un-top-40 topicality.
It essentially follows a man’s life from childhood to old age, over a string of verses that never really resolve to a typical chorus. It’s earned comparisons to the Beatles’ “When I’m 64,” and its production sits right in the Ed Sheeran/Sam Smith axis of lightly soulful, earnest pop rock.
The last four times Gregory Porter was nominated for a Grammy, in both the R&B and jazz categories, he woke up to the good news. On Tuesday, Facebook did the honors.
"Normally, I'm in New York around this time, and I'm just getting home off of tour," the California native said Tuesday on a train bound for London to perform on Jools Holland's TV show, not long after the Grammy nominations were announced. "But today somebody congratulated me on Facebook, and I wondered why."
Why? Because "Take Me to the Alley," his latest album, which The Times' Mikael Wood praised for its "cozy sentiments with modest, small-scale arrangements," is one of this year's most sophisticated listens. Released in May on Blue Note Records, it's a deeper dive into Porter's sensuous take on jazz flecked with elements of R&B, hip-hop, soul and funk.
"Take Me to the Alley" has now earned him a Grammy nomination for best jazz vocal album, the same category he won in 2014 for "Liquid Spirit," after three previous nominations.
"It did open some doors, I'm sure. The accolades and the respect that come with a Grammy win were very important," Porter said. "It's a great honor, but in a way, I think the music has to be fulfilling and touch people and strike right to the heart to be completely satisfying for me as the artist."
He said he doesn't have any attire in mind for the Grammy ceremony in February, though he's considering having a new suit made for the occasion. And will he be wearing his signature cap, the one he dons at every concert and on all four of his album covers?
"Of course, man. That's my thing."
At the 57th Grammy Awards in 2015, Beyoncé was the perceived front-runner for album of the year. The singer had pulled off one of the best-kept secrets in recent music history when she dropped her self-titled visual album by surprise.
She lost to Beck, but judging by the crop of nominations announced on Tuesday, her impact was everlasting.
Beyoncé, again, leads a race for album of the year with a project that didn’t adhere to tradition. She’s got lots of company as records from Radiohead, Drake, Rihanna, Kanye West and Chance the Rapper -- albums that came out on their own terms -- dot the nominations.
In 2013, Beyoncé’s move was considered a game-changer. She broke an iTunes sales record, and the phrase "pulling a Beyoncé" was coined to describe the uptick of high-profile acts releasing bodies of work without fanfare.
“There's so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. … I felt like I didn't want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out,” she said at the time.
With her latest release, “Lemonade, ” which earned a leading nine nods, she turned to HBO to debut its hourlong companion film. Before the special was over, she released the album directly to streaming service Tidal, which the pop star co-owns with husband Jay Z and other A-list musicians including Madonna, Usher and Rihanna.
Tidal remains the only place it can be streamed, though she released it for digital and physical purchase.
Drake leveraged his high-profile deal with Apple Music for his album “Views.” It debuted on his radio show for the streaming service’s Beats 1 station before a one-week exclusive to Apple — selling more than a million copies in less than five days and becoming the first album to hit 1 billion streams on the service.
The rapper’s relationship with Apple has been especially fruitful. Apple sponsored his summer arena tour, and he’s released a number of visuals exclusively to the service, including the short film “Please Forgive Me.”
Last year, Drake released two albums directly to the service — the stopgap mixtape “If You're Reading This It's Too Late” and “What a Time to Be Alive,” a joint record with Future — and owned the summer with “Hotline Bling” and “Back to Back,” non-album singles he pushed out on the streaming service.
“Back to Back” was up for rap performance at the most recent Grammys, held in February of this year, and after including “Hotline Bling” on “Views,” the hit landed two nods today (rap/sung performance and rap song).
Earlier this year, Chance the Rapper disrupted industry tradition when “Coloring Book” became the first streaming-only album to chart on the Billboard 200. The Chicago rapper rebuffs major labels and has yet to make his music available for purchase, releasing it to Soundcloud and for free digital download on the popular mixtape site Datpiff.
For its release he teamed with Apple Music for a two-week exclusive. The mixtape debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, based on 57.3 million streams of its songs, which Billboard equated to 38,000 album units.
Around the release of “Coloring Book,” the indie rapper promoted a petition asking the Recording Academy to change the eligibility rules for Grammy nominations, which required albums to be available for sale at retail outlets during its eligibility window, excluding free and streaming-only projects.
In June, the academy announced a rule change that now allows those releases to be eligible. As a result, Chance scored seven nominations, including new artist and rap album.
“We never want to be in position where music that deserves to be in the mix is usurped by some technicality in the process,” academy President Neil Portnow told The Times on Monday. “The evaluation and judgment of our voting members is always about the music and excellence, not at all about sales or marketing or technology.”
De La Soul’s first record in a dozen years, “And the Anonymous Nobody,” completely eschewed a traditional record business model by being funded through Kickstarter. The pioneering rap group raised more than $600,000 from fans — a little more than five times the original goal.
A decade after jolting the industry with the “pay-what-you-want" rollout of its seventh album, “In Rainbows,” Radiohead gave fans two days notice for “A Moon Shaped Pool,” simply tweeting out the album’s release time while withholding the title.
David Bowie’s final album, “★” (pronounced Blackstar), arrived on his 69th birthday — and two days before his death.
Bowie recorded the album, which landed multiple nominations including alternative music album, in secret. Though his death shocked the world, he apparently planned out his final work as a parting gift, with its packaging littered with hidden surprises that are revealed through black light or exposure to sunlight (the artwork is nominated for recording package).
West and Rihanna had two of the year’s splashiest surprise releases, and they are each up for eight Grammys.
Rihanna worked with Samsung to create an immersive mobile experience called the ANTIdiary, in which users explore multiple rooms that trace the pop star’s life story. The collaboration between the pop star and the tech giant culminated in the gift of download codes for “Anti,” which was supposed to be a surprise release but mistakenly went up on Tidal a few hours early.
Despite giving 1 million copies away for free, which wouldn’t count toward chart placement per Billboard’s rules, and the technical glitch that saw Tidal leak its own exclusive, “Anti” hit No. 1.
Shortly after Rihanna's release, West used Tidal for the unconventional launch of album, “The Life of Pablo.”
He debuted the album at a chaotic listening party/fashion show in a sold-out Madison Square Garden that also served as the debut for his Yeezy Season 3 clothing line. The event was also beamed to movie theaters around the globe.
After Tidal's live stream -- which at one point crashed under the weight of some 20 million viewers -- West announced digital copies of the album were for sale via his personal website and for streaming on Tidal before the album became a Tidal-only exclusive. He later revealed he'd never release it on Apple, although he later changed his mind.
West then pulled down the commercial version of "The Life of Pablo," and those who had already shelled out $20 for the album complained that it had a glitch that excluded the record's final track and instead repeated the song right before it.
Because of "The Life of Pablo's" exclusivity to one streaming site, people acquired West’s album in great numbers -- even if they refused to sign up for Tidal. More than 500,000 people had downloaded pirated versions of the album in the week after the album was released.
Further testing convention, West started tinkering with "Pablo" in real time, declaring it a "living, breathing, changing creative expression.” West updated vocals, altered mixes, changed lyrics and added tracks without notice.
The blues were why I started to play guitar. I saw a lot of these great blues artists, like Memphis Minnie and B.B. King, and I knew I had to play guitar. And I knew I wanted to write songs that had a bluesy vibe. I knew I wouldn’t be a traditional blues singer, but it would be a big influence on my songwriting.
Pick up an album by Gaby Moreno and you’re liable to find some songs that echo Latin American folk, others that channel gritty blues and a voice that aches with sweet melancholy. Think a pop Madeleine Peyroux singing in Spanglish. (The Telegraph in London described her as “rather like a Guatemalan Edith Piaf.”)
Today, the Recording Academy bestowed the singer with her first Grammy Award nomination for “Ilusión” — in the category of Latin pop album.
In this lightly edited conversation (which took place before the Grammy nominations had been announced), Moreno chats about her wide-ranging influences, how her work celebrates the immigrant experience and how American-style blues helped her to understand English.
Though baby boomer dominance has recently waned in the major categories, the album of the year roster often has contained a mid- or late-career, critically acclaimed artist whose current work hadn’t registered on the pop charts but who nonetheless had built an enduring catalog. Think Herbie Hancock’s “River: The Joni Letters,” Robert Plant & Alison Krauss’ “Raising Sand” and Beck’s “Morning Phase.”
This year, two artists were expected to compete for that role: Paul Simon for his “Stranger to Stranger” and the late David Bowie for his “Blackstar” swan song.
Simon was ignored altogether; Bowie earned nominations in the rock categories, as well as for the “Blackstar” package design.
Country singer-songwriter Brandy Clark had been nominated for four Grammys prior to Tuesday morning's announcement that she could add two more to her tally. But the Washington state native said that the recognition is not getting old.
"I had told myself that I wasn’t going to get nominated," she said with a laugh during an interview by phone. "Because you always hope that you will but you can’t ever count on it."
Clark was nominated for best country album for her sophomore release, "Big Day in a Small Town," and best country solo performance for "Love Can Go to Hell."
"I definitely didn’t expect two nominations, and the one I was really, really wanting was that album nomination," she said of the category in which she'll compete with Maren Morris, Keith Urban, Sturgill Simpson and Loretta Lynn.
"This record means a lot to me. And I feel like I took some artistic chances and tried to grow and push myself. So just to get one is huge, and the other one I didn’t see coming at all. It just feels amazing to have that group of peers recognize you."
Clark plans to be in Staples Center for the big show set for Feb. 12. but she'll be back in Los Angeles much sooner. On Sunday she's set to play the Theatre at Ace Hotel as part of "A Tribute to the Music of Linda Ronstadt," a benefit for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research. The star-studded salute also includes Jackson Browne, Dawes, Grace Potter, JD Souther, and Gaby Moreno, among others.
Nestled near the end of the list of 84 Grammy nominations amid the hundreds of musicians is one particular artist whose appearance likely will surprise many who lived through the 1980s metal scene. A certain “C.F. Kip Winger” is nominated in the contemporary classical recording category for “Winger: Conversations with Nijinsky.”
That can’t be the same Kip Winger, can it?
Charles Frederick “Kip” Winger channeled his creative energy toward learning composition and writing a ballet. He studied with teachers at the University of New Mexico and Vanderbilt before being introduced to composer Richard Danielpour, who teaches at the Manhattan School.
“Over a period of about 12 years, I learned what you would if you went to conservatory, and just really stuck with it,” Winger said.
“Winger: Conversations with Nijinsky” compiles his orchestral work.
The new artist category has advanced the careers of musicians such as Mariah Carey, John Legend, Amy Winehouse and — who could forget — Milli Vanilli. This year’s best new artist roster is dense with could-be superstars who landed the nod via boutique imprints. Chicago breakout rapper Chance the Rapper could have written his own major label check, but for “Coloring Book” he, instead, charted an independent course that has paid huge dividends.
The rising country-pop artist Kelsea Ballerini earned attention through her hit “Love Me Like You Mean It,” which was issued by the independent label Black River. And the Oxnard-born .Paak, best known for his work on Dr. Dre’s “Compton,” first issued his “Malibu” via the small Steel Wool Entertainment. Two other acts, EDM team the Chainsmokers and country singer Maren Morris — got their nominations via Sony/Columbia.
On Tuesday morning, Beyoncé became the lead nominee for next year’s Grammy Awards. The accolades came just a few months after “Formation” caused national outrage.
The single — in which she proudly sings “I like my Negro nose” — sparked controversy with its provocative music video. The artist was shown atop a submerged police car, and a young boy was seen dancing in front of officers with the words "stop shooting us” spray-painted on the wall behind him.
And then there was her performance at the Super Bowl.
On one of the world’s biggest stages, she delivered the black power salute, paid homage to civil rights leader Malcolm X and dressed in a militant leather ensemble inspired by the Black Panthers and Michael Jackson.
Nearly 112 million viewers saw Beyoncé upend her public persona.
It was the rare political statement from an artist who until that moment had spent most of her career striving for pop perfection with audacious anthems of female empowerment and sexuality. Critics accused her of being anti-police and condemned her ensemble; a Tennessee sheriff even blamed her for shots fired outside his home.
Months later, she dropped “Lemonade," a bold personal work that explored pain and rage through the lens of black womanhood. The album and its hourlong companion film are nominated for nine Grammys, including album, record and song of the year (the latter two for “Formation”).
From the confrontational approach of Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to the jubilant gospel of Chance the Rapper and the simmering introspection of Solange, this year’s Grammy nominations are peppered with modern black protest music — works that provided the soundtrack for a new generation of young black men and women during a renewed time of racial unrest.
Some are thrilled, some are in shock, but everyone's just happy to be nominated. Check out some of the biggest and best social-media reactions to Tuesday morning's Grammy nominations, including Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Chance the Rapper.
Margaret Cho, Tig Notaro and Amy Schumer made a little bit of Grammys history when nominations were announced Tuesday morning. For the first time ever, the comedy album category recognized more projects by women than those by men.
Cho, Notaro and Schumer also have a shot at joining the very short list of women who have won Grammys for comedy. Only three women have won the award in its present incarnation: Lily Tomlin in 1972, Whoopi Goldberg in 1986 and Kathy Griffin in 2014.
Before that, Jo Stafford and Elaine May won comedy performance Grammys with their respective partners in the 1960s.
Cho, who received a nod for “American Myth,” has previously been nominated three times, while Notaro's nomination for “Boyish Girl Interrupted” marks the comedian's second overall. Schumer is a first-time nominee for “Live at the Apollo.”
David Cross' “… America … Great …” and Patton Oswalt's “Talking for Clapping” round out the category.