Delayed 2021 GRAMMYS: The Nominees

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The Recording Academy announced on 5 January that the 2021 GRAMMYS have been rescheduled from their original air date of 31 January to 14 March. Harvey Mason Jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Academy and Ben Winston, Exec Producer of the GRAMMY Awards, announced in a joint statement the following:

“The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments have all led us to conclude that postponing our show was the right thing to do. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show.” 

The final-round of voting ended on 4 January, leaving a nervous two month-long wait ahead for the nominees of the most prized awards in the music industry. Let’s have a refresh of some of the frontrunners for the major awards, as well any notable British inclusions. 

Who’s Up for the Major Prizes?

The GRAMMYS operates its General Field-open to artists of any genre-in a manner distinct from many other major music awards. Record of the Year is awarded “to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) and mastering engineer(s), if other than the artist”, whereas Song of the Year is “a Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year.” Many of the same tracks are represented in both categories, but mixing, production and mastering will have much more importance in the former category. The latter awards itself based on lyrical and melodic elements.

Thus, for Record of the Year, the nominees are: ‘Black Parade’ by Beyoncé, ‘Colors’ by Black Pumas, ‘Rockstar’ by DaBaby ft. Roddy Rich, ‘Say So’ by Doja Cat, ‘Everything I Wanted’ by Billie Eilish, ‘Don’t Start Now’ by Dua Lipa, ‘Circles’ by Post Malone and ‘Savage’ by Megan Thee Stallion ft. Beyoncé.

‘Black Parade’, ‘Circles’, ‘Everything I wanted’ and ‘Don’t Start Now’ are all represented on the nominations list for Song of the Year; they are joined by ‘Cardigan’ by Taylor Swift, ‘I Can’t Breathe’ by H.E.R., and ‘If the World was Ending’ by JP Saxe Ft. Julia Michaels.

On the album side, up for the prize are some records by aforementioned nominees: Black Puma’s eponymous debut studio album, Dua Lipa’s Future NostalgiaHolywood’s Bleeding from Post Malone, and Folklore, the first of Taylor Swift’s 2020 releases. Alongside these, also standing for contention are Women in Music Pt. III from American trio HAIM; Jacob Collier’s Djesse Vol. 3; Jhené Aiko’s neo-soul record Chilombo, and Coldplay’s eighth studio album, Everyday Life. 

Finishing up the General category is Best New Artist: artists “whose eligibility-year release(s) achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and notably impacted the musical landscape”. Up for contention on a heavily female-dominated list are the likes of indie-pop darling Phoebe Bridgers, Noah Cyrus–the youngest of the Cyrus clan, the aforementioned Doja Cat alongside her Record of the Year rival Megan Thee Stallion, country singer Ingrid Andress, XXL Freshman Class 2020 graduate Chika, and finally 2019 triple-GRAMMY-nominee KAYTRANDA. 

British Nominees

Already, there is substantial British interest from Dua Lipa’s triple nominations in the general field, alongside Coldplay’s and Jacob Collier’s chances for Album of the Year. Harry Styles is nominated for Fine Line in the Best Pop Vocal Album alongside Dua Lipa, facing heavy competition from Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. ‘Watermelon Sugar’ is also selected in the roster for Best Pop Solo Performance of mostly the same lineup; the only change from the album list is Doja Cat, ‘Say So’, replacing Lady Gaga.

Brits receive a plethora of appreciation over in the Dance/Electronic and Rock categories. ‘My High’, Disclosure’s collaboration with Slowthai and Aminé, is selected amongst the Best Dance Recording nominees; their third LP, Energy, also receives a nod for Best Dance/Electronic Album.

Michael Kiwanuka is nominated for his third album, Kiwanuka, on the Best Rock Album roster. These nominees also include Dublin post-punk five-piece Fontaines D.C. for their critically acclaimed A Hero’s Death, as well as The Strokes’ strangely prophetic comeback record The New Abnormal

Highlights from the rest of the list include:

  • Kanye West’s nomination for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album with Jesus is King.
  • Triple nominations for Fiona Apple, Brittany Howard and Tame Impala on the Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Record and Best Alternative Album categories
  • The Beastie Boys Story battling with Beyonce’s Black is King and ZZ Top’s That Little Ol’ Band From Texas in the Music Film category. 

The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast from Los Angeles, California on the 14th March 2021. The Indiependent will have extensive coverage on our site leading up to the event.  

Words by Matthew Prudham


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