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2017 Grammy nominations: The nominees, reactions and how Beyoncé and Chance the Rapper made history

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.

We’ll be updating with Grammy news all day long.

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How Adele and Beyoncé's nominations reflect the Grammys’ conflicting impulses

Adele, left, and Beyoncé are competing against each other for three of the major Grammy prizes — record, song and album of the year.
(Valerie Macon / AFP / Getty Images)

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.

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Remy Ma on the ‘surreal’ nature of her first Grammy nod in 11 years

Remy Ma
(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

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.

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Mike Posner says his ‘I Took a Pill in Ibiza’ nomination feels like a cosmic joke

Mike Posner
(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

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.

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After six decades, Memphis soul legend William Bell lands his first nomination

(Ginette Callaway)

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.

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Grammy nominations look to the future of music

Chance the Rapper and Beyonce
(Evan Agostini / Invision )

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.

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow

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Sturgill Simpson on his Grammy honor: ‘That nomination sort of let you know it’s not all in vain’

Sturgill Simpson, shown at the 2015 Stagecoach festival in Indio, received two Grammy Award nominations for his latest album, "A Sailor's Guide to Earth."
(Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times)

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.

Sturgill Simpson

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Lukas Graham grows up and finds Grammy acclaim with ‘7 Years’

Singer Lukas Forchhammer of Lukas Graham performs onstage during 102.7 KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2016 presented at Staples Center on Friday.
( (Mike Windle / Getty Images for iHeartMedia))

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.

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Fifth time could be another Grammy charm for jazz artist Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter won the 2014 Grammy for best jazz vocal album, the same category he's up for at the 2017 ceremony.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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.”

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Surprise albums, exclusives, untraditional rollouts populate Grammy nods

Chance the Rapper performs at the Greek Theatre earlier this year.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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.

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Latin pop album nominee Gaby Moreno talks genre bending, her Bowie tribute and the blues

Gaby Moreno performs in Hollywood last year.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

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.

Gaby Moreno

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.

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Album of the year nominations skip over ‘legends’

Paul Simon performs on Nov. 17.
(Ander Gillenea / AFP/Getty Images)

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.

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More Grammy nominations, and more joy for country singer-songwriter Brandy Clark

Brandy Clark is nominated for two Grammys, for best country album and best country song.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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.

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Hard-rock guitarist Kip Winger discusses his contemporary classical recording nomination

Kip Winger, the composer and founder of the rock band Winger, has been nominated for a contemporary classical Grammy.
(Kip Winger)

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.

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New artist nominees didn’t need a major record label

Country-pop artist Kelsea Ballerini was nominated for a Grammy in the new artist category.
(Charles Sykes / Associated Press)

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.

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From Beyoncé to De La Soul, modern black protest music got plenty of attention from the Grammys

Beyoncé performs during the Super Bowl at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Feb. 7.
Beyoncé performs during the Super Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Feb. 7.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

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.

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Shock and thrill -- and one yawn -- on social media after Grammy noms announced

Kanye West, seen performing at the Forum last month, was among Grammy nominees announced Tuesday.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

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.

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Women dominate comedy album category because they can be funny, too

Tig Notaro, left, Margaret Cho and Amy Schumer.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times; Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images; Jordan Strauss / Invision/Associated Press)

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.

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Will Flume or the Chainsmokers define dance music this year?

(Chadd Cady / San Diego Union-Tribune)

In the EDM categories, it’s Flume versus the Chainsmokers -- and the winner defines the state of the genre at the Grammys.

Of all the EDM acts to break through to pop music in recent years, few are as adored and loathed as the Chainsmokers. Some critics were turned off by their fratty antics and the transparent tech-culture ideology behind their pivots to modern sounds. Others loved “Closer” and its Halsey duet so much they kept it at the top of the pop charts for months (until “Black Beatles” did them in). They’re up for best new artist, pop duo/group performance and dance recording.

On the other end, the Australian producer Flume had the year of his life with “Never Be Like You,” a hook-laden but defiantly trippy hit that worked like “Closer” turned inside out, dragged across a sweaty club dance floor and laid to bed with some properly sexy singing. He’s up for dance recording and dance/electronic album and looks like the most promising contender for each.

There’s a lot of great stuff in these categories -- Bob Moses, Tycho and Underworld put out some of the year’s most thoughtful, emotional electronic records that expanded the definition of Grammy dance music. But will voters reward the crossover (if divisive) hit or the smaller but acclaimed sleeper story?

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Patton Oswalt, jokingly, gives his fellow Grammy nominees a hard time

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A look at the Grammy nominated composers behind the eerie, period-perfect music of ‘Stranger Things’

Winona Ryder, Charlie Heaton and Natalia Dyer star in Netflix's "Stranger Things."
(Netflix)

The hits just keep on coming for Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

Earning a Grammy nomination for both volumes of its soundtrack in the visual media category, the series continues to earn accolades for its ability to capture a certain early-'80s brand of creepiness. In this case, it’s for the synth-heavy score composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the Austin, Texas, instrumental-electronic group Survive (or, as the band prefers, S U R V I V E).

How did the duo land on the buzziest show of the summer? Dixon sounded as uncertain as anyone else when he spoke to The Times in July. “I’m not sure how they found us, and they are not really sure how they found us either,” he said, referring to series creators the Duffer Brothers.

The brothers were familiar enough with Survive to use the group’s music in an early trailer, and that led to Dixon and Stein’s getting the opportunity to pitch music for the series, which is set in 1983 and stars Winona Ryder as the mother of a child who goes missing under mysterious circumstances.

Working with the Duffers, the composers tried to stay within the period while evoking some of the soundtrack style of director John Carpenter in movies like “Halloween” and “The Fog” but taking care not to go too far. “They just didn’t want the music to really put it over the top and make it too much,” Stein said.

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Country music nominations: Major category recognition, the ladies represent and one curious snub

Up for best new artist, Kelsea Ballerini is among the female stars leading the charge for country Grammy nominations.
(Timothy Hiatt / Getty Images)

Country music received some well deserved love in the all-genre general field categories Tuesday morning, with Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini securing slots in the best new artist race and Sturgill Simpson’s “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” scoring a nod in the album of the year category, squaring off against Beyoncé, Adele, Drake and Justin Bieber.

In a year when much was made of the lack of female representation in the format, women were definitely recognized by the Recording Academy.

Notably, four of the five nominees in the country solo performance category -- Morris, Carrie Underwood, Brandy Clark and Miranda Lambert -- are women. Keith Urban is the lone male contender.

The numbers also favored women in the best country album race with Morris, Clark and veteran Loretta Lynn receiving nods alongside Simpson and Urban.

While Morris’s “My Church” and Underwood’s “Church Bells” got nods, one Church was definitely missing from the country nominations: Eric Church.

It’s a curious omission given that Church’s critically acclaimed “Mr. Misunderstood” -- a surprise release last November -- took the album of the year trophy at last month’s CMA Awards.

The Recording Academy snubbed Eric Church in the Grammy country categories this year.
(Larry D. Smith / EPA)

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John Doe’s unconventional memoir, ‘Under The Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk,’ earns a Grammy nomination

John Doe onstage with X in West Hollywood in 2014.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Often relegated to the shadows of the well-documented punk rock histories of New York and London, the raucous Los Angeles music scene of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s received its due right from the source with this year’s “Under The Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk.”

Written by X guitarist John Doe and Tom Desavia and interspersed with essays from others around the scene -- including Henry Rollins, Mike Watt and Doe’s bandmate Exene Cervenka, among others -- the audio version of the book received a Grammy nomination in the spoken word category this morning.

The category is a far-reaching field that includes high-profile readings of work by Amy Schumer, Carol Burnett, Elvis Costello and Patti Smith. So, depending on who you favor, the book’s chances could seem like a long shot.

Arguably, that means these chroniclers of a vital, relentlessly inventive period in L.A. music history have Grammy voters right where they want them.

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Questlove is not impressed with the Grammy nominations

At least that’s what the Roots drummer (and frequent pop commentator) appeared to be saying Tuesday morning with a tweet that suggested the nominations don’t reflect his taste.

In response, the Recording Academy, which hands out the Grammys, urged Questlove to make his voice heard.

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And the Grammy nominees for best music video are...

Beyoncé, “Formation”

Leon Bridges, “River”

Coldplay, “Up & Up”

Jamie XX, “Gosh”

OK Go, “Upside Down & Inside Out”

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David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ among works nominated for a Grammy for visual artistry

David Bowie's 'Blackstar' cover.
David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ cover.
(Columbia)

For obvious reasons, the musicians get all the Grammy glory, but one category amid the dozens, recording package, celebrates the designers who set the visual tone of an album.

An impossible category to predict, the variety each year is notable. In the last five years, the winning designers got their trophies for albums by Asleep at the Wheel, Pearl Jam, Reckless Kelly, Bjork and Arcade Fire.

This year’s nominees feature designs from albums that cross genre and pay-grade. Rihanna’s striking red, white and black cover for “Anti,” which features the work of Israeli-born artist Roy Nachum, is being honored alongside New York indie rock band Parquet Courts. The band didn’t commission a fancy artist; rather Parquet Courts’ singer-guitarist Andrew Savage did it himself.

Both will contend with Jonathan Barnbrook’s already iconic cover for David Bowie’s “Blackstar.”

Since the album was released, the seemingly minimal album sleeve has revealed hidden images that only surface until particular circumstances — through sunlight, under black light and elsewhere.

Also nominated is Bon Iver’s mod-looking jacket for “22, A Million” (designed by Eric Timothy Carlson) and Sarah and Shauna Dodds’ work on Reckless Kelly’s “Sunset Motel.”

For the record: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Parquet Courts’ singer-guitarist Andrew Savage as Andrew Gilbert.

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‘American Idol’ launched Kelly Clarkson to pop stardom — and could get her another Grammy

While Kelly Clarkson might only have three Grammys on her mantel, the inaugural “American Idol” winner is a perennial favorite amongst the Recording Academy — consistently scoring nods since her 2003 debut.

In 2013, Clarkson made Grammy history as the only act to be awarded pop vocal album more than once. At 2016’s awards held in February, a potential third win in the category — for 2015’s “Piece By Piece” — was thwarted by Taylor Swift’s blockbuster “1989,” but Clarkson’s nomination today in pop solo performance gives her a shot at winning from an album that already lost.

And she could win with a hit she earned from the show that launched her to worldwide fame 14 years ago.

This year the singing competition welcomed back its former winner for two performances: a rendition of “Piece By Piece” and a hits medley.

The lyrics, which juxtaposed her father’s abandonment with the promise she and her husband made to never leave their daughter, led to an emotional performance, with Clarkson struggling to finish and receiving a standing ovation that lasted longer than a minute.

Her showing went viral, and Clarkson recorded the softer, piano-driven version she performed on the show and dubbed it the “Idol Version” for a rush release.

The record became the singer’s biggest hit in four years with combined sales of the original mid-tempo version and the “Idol” take propelling the single to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

And now it’s up for a Grammy, nearly two years after its original release.

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Grammy FAQ: What’s the eligibility period and the difference between record and song of the year?

What was this year’s eligibility period?

Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016. So if your favorite artist, album, or song wasn’t nominated, check their release date.

What is the difference between song and record of the year?

Both honor a single recording, but song of the year is awarded to the songwriter(s) and record of the year is given to the recording artist, producer(s), recording engineer(s) and/or mixer(s).

Who votes on the Grammys?

The roughly 13,000 members of the Recording Academy who represent all facets of the industry, including recording artists, songwriters, producers and engineers.

What’s the deal with best new artist?

Sometimes an artist who already has released singles, or even multiple full albums, is nominated in this category. The latest guidelines are that an artist “must have achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and impacted the musical landscape during the eligibility period.”

Will the Grammys air live on the West Coast?

Yes, in 2016, for the first time, CBS decided it was time to do as most of the other major awards shows do and air live across the country.

When does it air?

The Grammys will air live from the Staples Center on CBS at 5 p.m. PT on Feb. 12, 2017.

Who’s hosting?

“Late Late Show” host James Corden is taking over the emcee duties from network-mate LL Cool J.

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Kanye West can’t catch a Grammy break

Kanye West, seen performing at the Grammys in 2015, has a complicated history with the awards show.
(Lester Cohen / WireImage)

The polarizing rapper Kanye West has won nearly two dozen Grammy awards in his career, but he’s never taken home a major-category trophy. Instead, and much to his dismay, West’s critically acclaimed work has earned its victories in the genre categories.

This year is no different.

Music from West’s “The Life of Pablo” was nominated eight times, but the only major nod came for his production work on Drake’s album of the year nominated “Views.” Which is to say: West could be invited onto the prime-time stage not as the result of his own achievement but because of Drake’s more commercially successful one.

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Is it time for America to ‘Ooh-Wah-ah-ah-ah’ all over again?

One of the surprises that popped up in this year’s best rock performance category is a band, Disturbed, that some rock fans had consigned to the guttural, meme-able intro hook from their 2000 hit “Down With The Sickness.”

But the group got a fresh wind at their backs with a live performance of, yes, Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” on Conan O’Brien’s show that, while a bit silly in its gruff earnestness, won over enough voters to land them a Grammy nomination.

Right now the official, Grammy-nominated live version is clocking in at more than 37 million views on YouTube.

Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised. Disturbed has been a consistent touring force for a decade and a half, and was a previous Grammy nominee in 2009 for best hard rock performance.

Given that their nu-metal peers Korn also got a metal category nomination this year, maybe it’s finally time to acknowledge this oft-maligned era in rock is still a major cultural force. If there’s a sickness here, it’s one that Grammy is still definitely down with.

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The yin and yang of Sturgill Simpson and Justin Bieber

Sturgill Simpson performs at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio last year.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Few major category nominees are more different than Simpson and Bieber, who will be competing for album of the year alongside Beyoncé, Adele and Drake.

The country singer Simpson is 38, came up in Kentucky and paid his bills working for Union Pacific Railroad before moving to Nashville and sweating his way to the top. Bieber’s vehicle wasn’t a train but rather YouTube, which he conquered as a teenager.

Now 22, he shares his “Purpose” nomination with a list of collaborators a few dozen people deep. By comparison, Simpson self-produced his “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,” and his collaborators included a quartet of recording engineers.

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Neil Portnow on the rule change that led to Chance the Rapper’s seven Grammy nominations

Chance the Rapper at the Greek Theatre in September
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Chance the Rapper’s seven nominations, including for new artist, in part resulted from a rule change that opened the door for music not available in more traditional forms.

His debut album, “Coloring Book,” which was issued in May only as a music stream rather than as a physical CD, old-school mix-tape or digital download, would not have been eligible for a Grammy in previous years.

“We never want to be in position where music that deserves to be in the mix is usurped by some technicality in the process,” Recording 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.”

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The Grammys have finally embraced Justin Bieber. But is this progress?

Justin Bieber performs this month at KIIS-FM's Jingle Ball concert in Los Angeles.
Justin Bieber performs this month at KIIS-FM’s Jingle Ball concert in Los Angeles.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision/Associated Press)

In December 2012, Ellen DeGeneres had Justin Bieber on her talk show to discuss the pop star’s latest tattoo (a wise owl), what he likes to do on his days off (sneak into movies) and whether he was bummed not to have been nominated for a Grammy Award.

“It’s definitely something that I was looking forward to,” he said of being recognized for his blockbuster album “Believe,” which failed to pick up a nod that year for music’s highest honor. “But I know that it’ll happen one day. I’m so young.”

Four not-so-long years later, Bieber is tasting sweet vindication with Tuesday’s announcement of nominations for the 59th annual Grammys. The polarizing singer whose manufactured sound and tabloid shenanigans once put him beyond consideration is up for four awards, including the coveted album of the year with “Purpose.”

And at 22 he made it happen while still a baby, at least by Grammy standards.

Indeed, Bieber may be the most surprising nominee in a category crowded with young artists. The Recording Academy is notorious for giving its flagship prize to past-their-prime veterans like Steely Dan and Herbie Hancock.

But this time all of Bieber’s competitors are under 40. Also nominated for album of the year are Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” Adele’s “25,” Drake’s “Views” and “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” by the roots-music maverick Sturgill Simpson.

Youngsters dominate other major categories too, such as record of the year (with nominees including Rihanna’s “Work” and Twenty One Pilots’ “Stressed Out”) and song of the year (in which Bieber’s “Love Yourself” will battle Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” among others).

But if the famously fusty Grammys appear to be aging down, perhaps as a way to attract new viewers to a telecast whose ratings keep sliding, it’s not quite the case that the academy has shaken its old loyalties.

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Beyoncé continues creating Grammy history

Beyoncé
(Evan Agostini/AP: | Theo Wargo/Getty Images | Andrew Harnik/AP | )

Beyoncé, with her nine nominations, has more nominations than any other female artist in Grammy history.

The 62-time Grammy nominee has 20 awards, and can become the winningest female in Grammy history if she wins in all of the categories that she is nominated in this year. Alison Krauss, who has 27 Grammys, is the leader.

Her nominations:

Album of the year: “Lemonade”

Record of the year: “Formation”

Song of the Year: “Formation”

Best pop solo performance: “Hold Up”

Best urban contemporary album: “Lemonade”

Best rap/sung performance: “Freedom” featuring Kendrick Lamar

Best rock performance: “Don’t Hurt Yourself” featuring Jack White

Best music video: “Formation”

Best music film: “Lemonade”

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Fantasia had to push her label to release her Grammy-nominated single

Fantasia has returned with her new album, "The Definition Of ..."
Fantasia has returned with her new album, “The Definition Of ...”
(RCA Records)

Fantasia had to convince her label to release “Sleeping With the One I Love” as a single.

“They didn’t want [it] to be the next single. ‘It’s too churchy,’ they said,” the 32-year-old singer recalled over the summer.

The song landed a nomination for traditional R&B performance. “I said, ‘No, it’s the next single. I’m the one out here on stages and connecting with the people.’”

The singer took matters into her own hands, going to radio stations and bringing the smoldering, jazzy ballad that was written and produced by R. Kelly along with the breezy mid-tempo song the label preferred, “When I Met You.” She had listeners call in and vote. Her pick was the winner.

“You have to take control over your own destiny,” she continued. “You can’t put it in other people’s hands.”

After a year of creative differences stalled the album, the singer sought a fresh start by switching up her team and restarting the project with veteran label executive and producer Ron Fair.

“I feel like I’m just getting started. I’ve been doing it for 12 years, but I haven’t been doing it the way I wanted to,” she admitted. “I’ve got a long way to go. And I’m not going to allow the industry or people to take me out.”

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Can ‘Waitress’ outshine a ‘Bright Star’ or ‘The Color Purple’? Grammy nominees in musical theater

"Waitress" star Jessie Mueller, flanked by Keala Settle, left, and Kimiko Glenn. The original Broadway cast recording is nominated for the musical theater album Grammy.
( (Joan Marcus))

In a “Hamilton”-less year, the Grammy nominees announced Tuesday for musical theater album are an eclectic lineup: “Bright Star,” “The Color Purple,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Kinky Boots” and “Waitress.”

For “Bright Star,” actor-musician Steve Martin and indie songstress Edie Brickell wrote an old-fashioned bluegrass score. With a book by Martin and Brickell about a young man returning home to North Carolina after World War II, the show struggled to find an audience on Broadway but nonetheless earned five Tony Awards nominations, including best musical, score and book. Times theater critic Charles McNulty called the music “luscious” and “uplifting” in a 2014 review.

“The Color Purple,” based on Alice Walker’s novel about African American women living in rural Georgia in the 1930s, ended its first Broadway run in 2008. A more recent production directed by John Doyle and starring Jennifer Hudson won the Tony for best musical revival, and Cynthia Erivo took home honors for lead actress in a musical. McNulty called the performances heart-stirring and profound.

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John Beasley, Brad Mehldau lead the nominees in the Grammy jazz categories

Pianist Brad Mehldau, shown in 2011, earned two Grammy nominations.
( (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times))

In a year that lacked some of the breakout narratives that have marked the jazz category in recent years — see Gregory Porter, Cecile McLorin Salvant — Grammy voters once more leaned on veteran or otherwise familiar talents for the bulk of the nominations field.

Porter, who won the Grammy for jazz vocal album in 2014, returns to lead the nominees in the same category for his follow-up, “Take Me to the Alley,” which was his second release for Blue Note Records. It will be competing against Tierney Sutton’s album-length salute to the Sting songbook, “The Sting Variations,” along with recordings by René Marie, Catherine Russell and Branford Marsalis, who teamed with Kurt Elling on “Upward Spiral.”

Thirteen-year-old piano prodigy Joey Alexander, whose 2015 debut earned two Grammy nominations, is nominated in the improvised jazz solo category for his performance in the song “Countdown,” which appeared on his sophomore album of the same name. The category also includes nominations for fellow pianists Fred Hersch and Brad Mehldau along with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and guitarist John Scofield.

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Grammy nominees get by with a little help from (many) friends

Justin Bieber at 102.7 KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2016 on Dec. 2.
(Getty Images)

Just how does the hyper-collaborative nature of making contemporary R&B, hip-hop and pop records impact Grammy Award nominations?

Consider the album of the year nominees. If country-Americana musician Sturgill Simpson’s “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” should win, six trophies will be handed out: two to the Kentucky native himself as the artist and producer, and four additional statuettes would go to the album’s engineers and mixers.

But if the award goes to nominated albums by Drake, Adele, Beyoncé or Justin Bieber albums, a basketload of more than 30 Grammys will be distributed to the bevy of featured performers, producers and engineers involved in each.

Adele’s “25” would generate 29, Drake’s “Views” would trigger 34, Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” comes in at 32, while Bieber’s “Purpose” would yield a whopping 35 Grammys for the village that helped make it.

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How did Beyoncé receive nine Grammy nominations but Adele only five?

Beyoncé performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on Feb. 7.
(Matt Cowan / Getty Images)

Going into the Grammy announcement, the presumption was that the two superstars would compete for the most awards, but that’s not the case. Beyoncé nearly doubled Adele’s tally.

How’d it happen?

Even though both earned nominations in three of the four major categories, as well as the pop solo performance, Beyoncé advanced her count with, among others, a wildcard rock performance nomination for her collaboration with Jack White, “Don’t Hurt Yourself.”

She also earned two video nominations for work from “Lemonade.” Adele didn’t.

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Low-wattage star power and jumble of styles in Grammys’ Latin categories. Can the mish-mash be saved?

Diego Torres, seen here with Julieta Venegas at the 2015 Latin Grammys, is up for Latin pop album at the 59th Grammy Awards..
(Chris Pizzello / Invision)

At the Latin Grammy Awards last month in Las Vegas, there were fireworks when Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony sang the 1980s breakup tune “Olvídame y pega la vuelta.”

Do not expect similar pyrotechnics at the Grammy Awards in February. While the nominations for Latin pop album traditionally deliver some star power to the Latin music portion of the ceremony, the nods this year went to quieter acts such as Diego Torres, Jesse & Joy and Gaby Moreno. In this way, the Grammy nods mirror this year’s Latin Grammys, in which the highest number of nominations went to lesser-known pop balladeers.

Brother and sister duo Jesse Huerta and Joy Huerta — better known as Jesse & Joy — are nominated for Latin Pop Album.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The remaining Latin categories combine a mish-mash of styles that acknowledge myriad musical genres in awkward fell swoops.

Nominees for tropical Latin album (covering everything from salsa to vallenato to Cuban son) include Grupo Niche, Formell y Los Van Van, La Sonora Santanera and Fonseca — a collection of stalwarts with a younger singer (Fonseca) who leans pop.

Likewise, the Mexican regional music album category brought nominations for legendary balladeer Vicente Fernandez, as well as norteño newcomer Joss Favela and the popular Banda El Recodo de Cruz Lizarraga (the latter of whom took home the Banda Album trophy at the Latin Grammys).

Los Angeles folk rockers La Santa Cecilia are nominated for a Grammy in the mish-mash Latin rock, urban or alternative album category.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

But the most whiplash-inducing line-up comes in the awkward Latin rock, urban or alternative album category — which features nominations for L.A. folk rockers La Santa Cecilia, Bay Area hip-hop act Los Rakas and indie vocalists Ile and Carla Morrison.

It’s a line-up that gives short shrift to hot reggaeton acts like J Balvin — which means it may be time for a stand-alone Latin urban category, or something that better reflects what’s on the charts.

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Qui est Gojira? The act scored two impressive Grammy noms

France is known for its cheese, its wine and its Daft Punk, but heavy metal? Not so much.

Yet like a behemoth rising from beneath the Seine, the progressive metal band Gojira has loudly stomped through France, overtaken Europe and, with its first Grammy nominations, landed in America.

The band earned two nods for work from its sixth studio album, “Magma,” a gymnastically constructed metal album that was four years in the making.

Founded by Joe Duplantie and his drummer-brother Mario, the band’s work on “Magma” was interrupted by the death of their mother, and Gojira (the original name of Godzilla) harnessed that grief-stricken fury in service of the record.

The nod in the best metal performance was expected. More impressive, the album is also in the running for rock album, where it will compete against a mix-and-match batch of U.S. dude bands including Weezer, Panic at the Disco, Blink 182 and Cage the Elephant.

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So who is this Grammy breakout Lukas Graham?

Lukas Graham
(Adam Bettcher / iheartRadio)

It’s a question that one of this year’s Grammy breakouts must be extremely sick of answering by now. Short answer: It’s actually four Danish guys, and only one of them is named Lukas (last name: Forchhammer).

But they have a song, “7 Years,” that could make them this year’s equivalent to last year’s surprise Meghan Trainor win for best new artist.

“7 Years” is a big, if not especially inventive, crossover pop-soul-rock hit from a band well outside the echo chamber that debates pop-culture relevance.

But the song scored major nominations for record of the year, song of the year and pop duo/group performance. Fans of similar acts like Maroon 5 and Ed Sheeran helped send it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (bested only by Rihanna and Drake’s “Work”), where it’s spent 20 weeks.

It doesn’t have the searing political ramifications of “Formation” or the world-beating triumph of “Hello,” but like Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” it’s one of those songs that sneaks into American life from every corner – pop radio, TV syncs, retail outlets – where music plays.

And in a Grammy year dominated by women so powerful they only need one name, here are four Scandinavian guys who don’t even go by their real full names at all.

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Get to know local Grammy-nominated trio King

Amber Strother, from left, Paris Strother and Anita Bias of the L.A.-based R&B trio King.
Amber Strother, from left, Paris Strother and Anita Bias of the L.A.-based R&B trio King.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

No one rules the members of King.

Based in Los Angeles, this crafty R&B trio writes, performs and produces its own music, a rare instance of artistic autonomy in a world defined by behind-the-scenes direction.

This morning, the act was nominated for best urban contemporary album Grammy for its “We Are King.”

Twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother and their friend Anita Bias handle the business side of their band as well. When King was ready to release its debut album — the tender and spacey “We Are King,” recorded at the group’s own pace at Paris Strother’s home studio — it didn’t turn to an established label or even a tech giant like Apple, as singer Frank Ocean did recently with his long-awaited “Blond.” Instead, the women put the record out themselves, through their company King Creative.

“We’re just doing what comes naturally,” said Paris Strother, who plays instruments and produces while her sister and Bias sing. “I mean, who knows what we want better than us?”

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Grammys’ pop vocal album field pits Barbra Streisand versus Bob Dylan

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

There are many tough -- and, in some cases, head-spinning -- choices among the just-announced 2017 Grammy Award nominations. One especially tricky one facing voting members of the Recording Academy will be the decision for traditional pop vocal album.

In that category they’ll have to choose between Barbra Streisand or Bob Dylan. Unless they opt for Willie Nelson, Josh Groban or Andrea Bocelli.

It’s a field few rock fans might ever have expected to see Dylan’s name pop up in, but he’s in contention for his second album of pop standards largely associated with Frank Sinatra, “Fallen Angels.”

It collected generally enthusiastic reviews for the way Dylan has “uncovered” (his word) such Great American Songbook classics as Johnny Richards and Carolyn Leigh’s “Young at Heart,” Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark” and Mercer and Harold Arlen’s “Come Rain or Come Shine.”

Streisand is nominated for “Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway,” while Nelson is vying for his “Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin,” Groban is up for “Stages Live” and Bocelli is in for his “Cinema” album.

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The rise of best new artist nominee Anderson .Paak was a decade in the works

California-born singer-rapper Anderson .Paak breaks a move while visiting one of his favorite bars in Koreatown on Jan. 27, 2015.
( (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times))

Anderson .Paak’s ascent this year might appear to have happened overnight, but the genre-stretching R&B singer-rapper-drummer-producer has spent the last decade working toward a break.

A turbulent upbringing in Oxnard saw the new artist turn to music. He matter-of-factly speaks of his father going to prison for drug possession and beating his mother, and not seeing him until his funeral -- and then later seeing his mom and stepdad sent to prison.

“That kinda threw a wrench in everything. It was a domino effect. I don’t know how jaded you could be at 18, but I didn’t really trust that you could make it in music at that point,” he said while being interviewed ahead of his debut at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the announcement that he’d been signed to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath imprint.

He worked as a home healthcare aid, endured a quickie marriage to his church crush and spent a few weeks in culinary school before he finally got the nerve to relocate to Los Angeles.

Anderson enrolled at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, adopted the moniker Breezy Lovejoy and struggled to stay afloat while playing his records at pay-to-play gigs on the Sunset Strip. It didn’t last, and he took a job on a pot farm in Santa Barbara before the money ran out and he wound up homeless.

Things picked up for him when he started working the L.A. hip-hop scene and focused on developing his artistry, dropping his admittedly embarrassing pseudonym for a moniker that flips his last and middle name — with the all important piece of punctuation, which serves as a personal reminder to never abandon detail and a brazen way to make others pay attention.

“I mean, I spent six, seven years making music and nobody cared,” Anderson said as we drove to a Koreatown bar. “And now some of those same people care, and they are going to have to put the dot. It says a lot to me when people don’t do it.“

One of his earliest singles, a minimalist banger called “Drugs” that he released in 2014, took off, becoming a YouTube hit and getting play at Low End Theory, a flagship club night for L.A.'s beat scene.

“Venice,” his 2014 album, and first as Anderson .Paak, helped him establish an underground following. He started collaborating with an array of producers, including Tokimonsta and the Philadelphia-based Knxwledge, whom he met on Twitter. That collaboration turned into a duo, NxWorries, whose soulful single, “Suede,” became a viral hit and caught the attention of the team working on Dre’s “Compton” album. (NxWorries released its debut in October.)

“I thought, ‘How dope would it be if I did the most underground [stuff] and the most mainstream [stuff].’ I had no clue then that I would eventually meet Dre,” he said. “In the back of my head, I wanted to be this dude that could be in the center of the L.A. scene and have tentacles to everything, whether it’s Stones Throw or Brainfeeder or Dr. Dre and Aftermath or Odd Future or the radio scene with Ty Dolla and DJ Mustard -- I wanted to be able to be a common thread.”

The “Compton” sessions helped Anderson determine the direction for his breakout album, “Malibu.” Released in January, the album sounds like the vision of a church-raised soul singer, hip-hop purist and free-spirited musician.

“Malibu,” which is up for the urban contemporary album Grammy, crisscrosses everything from ’70s-era soul and psychedelic funk to jazz, rock, classic hip-hop, beat-driven electronic music and contemporary R&B. The work is held together by his sharp songwriting, which traces the highs and lows of his life with uplifting positivity and stirring grit.

“Growing up I just wanted to get out of the town and do something bigger,” Anderson said. “I wanted to make music that mattered. I felt like I was a big fish in a small town.”

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2017 Grammy nominations: complete list

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:

Kelsea Ballerini

The Chainsmokers | Interview

Chance the Rapper

Maren Morris

Anderson .Paak | Interview

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Beyoncé earns nine Grammy nominations, Kanye, Rihanna and Drake get eight and Chance the Rapper makes streaming history

Beyonce at Dodger Stadium in September.
(Frank Micelotta / Parkwood Entertainment)

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.

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Beyoncé, Adele, Mike Posner and more nominated for song of the year Grammy

Adele
Adele
(Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

Beyoncé’s “Formation,” Adele’s “Hello,” Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” and Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” are the nominees for song of the year at the 59th Grammy Awards, to be held Feb. 12 at Staples Center. The song of the year is a songwriter’s award.

Nominees in the top categories were unveiled on “CBS This Morning,” with the full list expected to be released at 5:45 a.m.

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Kelsea Ballerini, the Chainsmokers, Chance the Rapper and more nominated for best new artist Grammy

Andrew Taggart of the Chainsmokers performs recently in Del Mar.
Andrew Taggart of the Chainsmokers performs recently in Del Mar.
(Chadd Cady / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Kelsea Ballerini, the Chainsmokers, Chance the Rapper, Maren Morris and Anderson .Paak are the best new artist nominees for the 59th Grammy Awards, to be held Feb. 12 at Staples Center.

The top categories were unveiled on “CBS This Morning,” with the full list expected to be released at 5:45 a.m.

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Rihanna, Adele, Beyoncé, Lukas Graham and Twenty One Pilots nominated for record of the year Grammy

Rihanna performs at Barclays Center of Brooklyn, N.Y., in March.
Rihanna performs at Barclays Center of Brooklyn, N.Y., in March.
(Kevin Mazur / Getty Images)

Adele’s “Hello,” Beyoncé’s “Formation,” Lukas Graham’s “7 Years,” Rihanna’s “Work” featuring Drake and Twenty One Pilots’ “Stressed Out” are the nominees for record of the year at the 59th Grammy Awards, to be held Feb. 12 at Staples Center. Record of the year is a production award, given to the artist and the producing/engineering team.

Nominees in te top categories were unveiled on “CBS This Morning,” with the full list expected to be released at 5:45 a.m.

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Beyoncé, Adele, Justin Bieber score album of the year Grammy noms

Beyoncé performs April 27 at the opening of her Formation World Tour in Miami.
( (Frank Micelotta / Parkwood Entertainment))

Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” Adele’s “25,” Justin Bieber’s “Purpose,” Drake’s “Views” and Sturgill Simpson’s’ “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” are the album of the year nominees for the 59th Grammy Awards, to be held Feb. 12 at Staples Center.

The top categories were unveiled on “CBS This Morning,” with the full list expected to be released at 5:45 a.m.

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This winter’s first major Grammy surprise? James Corden

First Lady Michelle Obama and James Corden, host of "The Late Late Show with James Corden."
(Associated Press)

Nominations haven’t been announced, but the first big Grammy shakeup has already occurred.

CBS has unveiled its host for the 59th Grammy Awards, and for the first time in five years it’s not LL Cool J.

Instead, James Corden, “The Late, Late Show” host and star of the wildly successful “Carpool Karaoke” videos, will lead music’s biggest award ceremony when it airs Feb. 12.

The British comedic actor, who took over his late-night slot from Craig Ferguson in 2015, has become a breakout success, and part of the reason is his unabashed enthusiasm for pop music.

“I am truly honored to be hosting the Grammys next year,” Corden said in a statement. “It’s the biggest, most prestigious award show in music and I feel incredibly lucky to be part of such an incredible night.”

Corden replaces the rapper and actor LL Cool J, whose work on CBS’ hit series “NCIS: Los Angeles,” combined with his success as a Grammy-winning hitmaker who charted with “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Going Back to Cali,” secured his position. The rapper, however, was hardly the most charismatic presence. Ratings for last year’s show, which were even with 2015 but down in the crucial young-adults demographic, proved it.

With Corden, the Grammys get a confident entertainer who can inject joy into the proceedings, as seen in those viral “Carpool Karaoke” clips. In them, Corden loads into a car with famous singers, cruises Los Angeles and sings the artists’ songs with them.

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What to look for with the Grammy nominations? Lots of Adele and Beyoncé

Beyonce performs in 2014 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
( (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times))

One doesn’t need a crystal ball to make this Grammy prediction: Expect Beyoncé's “Lemonade” and Adele’s “25" to go head-to-head in major categories, including album of the year.

Beyoncé, as The Times wrote earlier this year, has become a culture-defining presence who transcends her music.

While wave after wave of pop sensations have risen, crested and washed up in her wake, success has given Beyoncé the freedom to make her career her own, the article continued. Now 34, she’s evolved from a teen managed by her father in the girl group Destiny’s Child to a woman who knows how to manipulate the system that created her.

In an era when many other female pop stars don’t seem to have much say over their destiny, “Lemonade” speaks to Beyoncé's power. It’s set off countless conversations about race, feminism, marital fidelity and beauty.

We were also fond of Adele and her “25.” We wrote:

When Adele sings on her new album, “25,” about an emotional experience so vivid that “It was just like a movie / It was just like a song,” she’s probably thinking of a tune by one of her idols: Roberta Flack, say, or Stevie Nicks.

But for fans of this 27-year-old British singer, such a moment could only be captured by one thing: an Adele song.

With her big hair and bigger voice, Adele broke out in 2008 as part of the British retro-soul craze that also included Duffy and Amy Winehouse.

Her debut album, “19,” spawned a hit single in “Chasing Pavements” and led to a Grammy Award for best new artist. Yet she outgrew any style or scene with the smash follow-up, “21,” which presented Adele as a great crystallizer of complicated feelings, an artist writing intimately about her own life (in this case about a devastating breakup) in a way that somehow made the music feel universal.

Clearly, the pressure is on to duplicate that commercial success with “25,” which comes after a long period of public quiet in which Adele recovered from throat surgery and gave birth to a son (and tweeted no more than a few dozen times). “Hello,” the record’s brooding lead single, set a record when it was released, racking up 1.1 million downloads in a week. But the song’s enthusiastic embrace only underscored the other, more pressing demand on the singer as she returns: that her music still provide its trademark catharsis.

Put another way, Adele’s fans have been waiting for years for new Adele songs to explain their experiences to them. And they get a worthy batch on “25,” an album so full of heavy-duty drama that it makes a more lighthearted peer such as Katy Perry seem like a Pez dispenser.

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Chance the Rapper and the rule change that shows how the Grammy Awards are adapting to the era of streaming music

Chance the Rapper performs in Austin, Texas, in 2015.
((Lenny Gilmore / RedEye) )

Originally published June 16, 2016

Chance the Rapper made music-business history when his album “Coloring Book” became the first streaming-only release to chart on the Billboard 200.

Next year the Chicago hip-hop star could score another first with his acclaimed record that’s available to stream through services like Apple Music and Spotify but not to purchase as a CD or paid download.

The Recording Academy on Thursday announced changes to rules governing the Grammy Awards, including one that allows streaming-only titles to be considered for music’s most prestigious prize. Such releases were previously ineligible to be nominated, but “it’s clear now that streaming is here and probably here to stay,” said Bill Freimuth, a Recording Academy executive in charge of the Grammys.

“As the academy — as all the academies are — we’re often criticized for being out of step,” Freimuth said. “So we strive very much to be of the moment as much as we can. This was one way to do it.”

The rule change means that “Coloring Book” — a gospel-inflected set that’s earned rave reviews and debuted on Billboard’s chart at No. 8 with approximately 57 million streams — could become the first streaming-only title to win at the 59th Grammy Awards, which will recognize songs and albums released between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016. Trophies are to be handed out Feb. 12 in a televised ceremony at Staples Center.

The Recording Academy is following other music-industry gatekeepers in embracing streaming, which last year nearly doubled in use from the year before, according to Nielsen Music. (Spotify, the most popular on-demand streaming service, says it has 30 million paid subscribers; Apple Music, which launched last June, claims 15 million.)

In 2014, Billboard began incorporating streams in the formula that determines its album chart. And early this year the Recording Industry Assn. of America started counting streams toward its gold and platinum awards, which formerly recognized only sales.

Freimuth said it’s important that a Grammy align with other goalposts in the business. But he added that the academy didn’t want to “completely open the floodgates to every 12-year-old singing into a hairbrush on YouTube.”

So the new rule carries some technical specifications: An eligible recording must have audio quality “comparable to at least 16-bit 44.1 kHz,” for instance, and have “a verifiable online release date.”

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Grammy Award nominations are coming — and then, most likely, dissent

Chance the Rapper, seen here performing at the Greek Theatre this year, took his Grammy campaign into his own hands.
Chance the Rapper, seen here performing at the Greek Theatre this year, took his Grammy campaign into his own hands.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The 59th Grammy Awards will kick off the major entertainment awards season when they unveil their nominations Tuesday morning.

And with them will likely come dissent.

The Grammy Awards enjoy a sometimes complicated relationship with the constituency they represent — so much that raising objections is not only expected, it’s something of a yearly pastime, as bankable as slurred acceptance speeches or a bounty of accolades awarded to a vocal talent such as Adele.

This year alone, popular music’s top contenders — Kanye West, Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper — all publicly challenged the Recording Academy in ways that, say, Meryl Streep or Regina King would never dare their various award academies.

Campaigns for Oscars, Golden Globes or Emmys are carefully choreographed affairs, and though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been rankled recently by accusations of a lack of diversity in its major nominations, the music community has long been outspoken about its views toward the Grammys — personal and political.

Ocean, for instance, refused to submit his critically lauded new work, “Blonde,” for award consideration. West, whose “The Life of Pablo” is in Grammy contention, then threatened to boycott the ceremony on Feb. 12 if Ocean isn’t nominated.

Chance the Rapper, meanwhile, took the opposite route. He boldly lobbied for Grammy love in song and a full page Billboard ad titled “Hey, Why Not Me?”

Yet such jockeying for position and personal boycotts are all part of the Grammys’ appeal.

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