Grammy Nominations Snubs & Surprises: David Bowie, Kanye West Shut Out of Top Awards
It’s certainly no surprise that, as many predicted, Adele and Beyonce dominated the 59th Annual Grammy Awards nominations, announced Tuesday morning by the Recording Academy.
Beyonce lead the way with nine nominations. She’s up for Album of the Year (“Lemonade”), Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Music Video (all for “Formation”), Best Pop Solo Performance (“Hold Up”), Best Rock Performance (“Don’t Hurt Yourself” feat. Jack White), Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best Rap/Sung Performance (“Freedom” feat. Kendrick Lamar), and Best Music Film (“Lemonade”).
Adele received five nominations this year; for Album of the Year (“25”), Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance (all for “Hello”), as well as Best Pop Vocal Album.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, in this year’s nominations was the omission of David Bowie’s “Blackstar” in any of the night’s biggest categories. The late rocker did end up receiving four nominations overall: for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song (for the song “Blackstar”), Best Alternative Music Album (for the album “Blackstar”), and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. Jonathan Barnbrook also received a nod for art direction on “Blackstar.”
The Recording Academy opted instead to honor more mainstream pop fare with Justin Bieber having a surprisingly strong showing with nods for both the Album of the Year (“Purpose”) and Song of the Year (“Love Yourself,” with Bieber, Benjamin Levin and Ed Sheeran as songwriters).
Drake’s “Views” received an Album of the Year nomination and the Canadian rapper received eight nominations overall. He’s also up for Record of the Year for being featured on Rihanna’s infectious “Work” (which is also up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance), Best R&B Song for being featured on PartyNextDoor’s “Come See Me,” Best Rap Performance for “Pop Style” (feat. The Throne), Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Hotline Bling” (which is also up for Best Rap Song), as well as Best Rap Album.
Newcomers Twenty One Pilots (“Stressed Out”) and Lukas Graham (“7 Years”) round out the Record of the Year Category, facing off against Adele, Beyoncé, and Rihanna. Graham’s four songwriters are also nominated for Song of the Year for “7 Years,” as is Mike Posner for “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” which face off against Adele, Beyoncé, and Bieber.
Although the big surprise out of all of the major four categories might be in the Album of the Year category where country artist Sturgill Simpson’s “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” edged out albums by more well-known contenders including Bowie, Radiohead, Sia, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Coldplay, Paul Simon, and many more. Sturgill will be Nashville’s strongest representation this year on music’s biggest night, which is perhaps not a surprise at all to country music fans; his album debuted last March to huge critical acclaim.
Over in Best New Artist, it’s a wide open field this year, with two country newcomers leading the way – Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris. American electronic music duo The Chainsmokers have some a long way since 2014’s “#Selfie,” snagging a nod on the heels of hit singles “Closer” and “Don’t Let Me Down.” Chance The Rapper was no surprise choice, as he’s expected to play a big role overall in this year’s honors (with 4 overall nominations). Surprise nominee Anderson .Paak rounds out the often controversial category, which saw its rules changed this year to attempt to to more accurately reflect its often contested title.
Rihanna was well-recognized for her 2016 comeback, receiving six nominations overall, along with two more peripherally. In addition to Record of the Year — she was a featured artist on Drake’s “Views” album — she’s up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Work,” Best R&B Performance for “Needed Me,” Best R&B Song for “Kiss It Better” (which goes to the songwriters), Best Urban Contemporary Album for “Anti,” as well as Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance for being featured on Kanye West’s “Famous.” “Anti” is also up for Best Recording Package and producer Nineteen85 is up for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical for producing (amongst other tracks) Drake’s “Too Good,” in which Rihanna was also featured.
Like Bowie, Kanye West did not get a single nod in the general categories. However, the rapper isn’t going unrecognized this year. He’s up for a producing credit for Album of the Year for Drake’s “Views,” Best Rap Performance for being featured in ScHoolboy Q’s “That Part,” and Best Rap Album for “The Life of Pablo.” Kanye also will face off against himself for Best Rap/Sung Performance where his aforementioned “Famous” (feat. Rihanna) will face off against his “Ultralight Beam” (feat. Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream).
In some of the more obscure amongst the Recording Academy’s 84 categories, comedian Amy Schumer received two nominations this year, for Best Spoken Word Album and Best Comedy Album. She’s joined in the latter by David Cross, Margaret Cho, Tig Notaro, and Patton Oswalt.
After winning the 2014 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album for its Broadway production, “Kinky Boots” is up for the award again, this time for its West End production. It’ll compete about the new Broadway productions of “The Color Purple” and “Fiddler On The Roof,” as well as “Bright Star,” and a Sara Bareilles led “Waitress.”
This year’s Grammy Awards will be hosted for the first time this year by “The Late Late Show” host James Corden and will take place on Sunday, February 12th, 2017, at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, at 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT.