Jon Batiste might be the Grammys biggest surprise: The multi-genre performer and recent Oscar winner made such an impression on voters that he scored the most nominations with 11 on Tuesday. Batiste earned an album of the year nod for “We Are” along with record of the year with “Freedom,” a feel-good ode to the city of New Orleans. His nominations span several genres including R&B, jazz, American roots music, classical and music video.
“Oh my goodness. I’m still in a state of astonishment and shock,” Batiste told The Associated Press moments after learning of the nominations. “I’m just really happy that we were able to make something in complete artistic integrity and have it be recognized.”
Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. each came away with the second-most nominations with eight by the time the Recording Academy was done announcing its nominees for its Jan 31 show. Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo both had seven nods.
Along with Batiste’s surprise domination, another shock was The Weeknd nabbing three nominations after the pop star claimed he would not allow his label to submit his music. Earlier this year, he angrily slammed the Grammys, calling them “corrupt” after he received zero nominations despite 2020’s biggest single, “Blinding Lights.”
Even though The Weeknd said he would boycott future Grammys, he still became a nominee for his work on album of the year projects, including Doja Cat’s deluxe edition “Planet Her” and Kanye West’s “Donda.” His third nomination was for his appearance on West’s single “Hurricane,” which also features Lil Baby.
“What I like is the fact that no one is thinking about what happened before, what was the controversy, what was the noise, or where was this artist making music last year,” said Harvey Mason jr., the Recording Academy’s CEO. He said voters focused on the “excellence of music” while considering nominees like Batiste and Kacey Musgraves, whose work also crosses over into different categories.
“The voters are truly evaluating music and not getting caught up in the reputations of any other outside noise or any history of artists,” he continued. “With that in mind, I think they’re voting for things that they are acknowledging as excellence.”
Mason said he was pleased with the new peer-driven voting system after seeing the list of nominees. He instituted the 10-3 initiative — which allows the academy’s more than 11,000 members to vote for up to 10 categories in three genres. All voters can vote for the top four awards.
The new system replaced the anonymous nominations review committee — a group that determined the contenders for key awards. Some claimed committee members favored projects based on personal relationships and promoted projects they favored and worked on.
Harvey knows the new voting system might not be perfect at first, but he believes the initiative will produce fair results in the long run.
“I know we didn’t get every single one perfect,” Harvey said. “I know there will be some people that feel left out or that we missed a nomination here or there. That makes me sad because I don’t want anybody to have that feeling. But I do feel like we’re heading in the right direction. I’m pleased with the way our voters did the work.”
Batiste credited the changes to his nominations: “I really just want to give props to the Grammys. They tried this year to make the process more inclusive and be about the music first. Other creators listened to the music and decided to give me these nominations and I’m so grateful for that.”
For the first time, the academy expanded the number of nominees in the general field categories from eight to 10. The change impacts categories such as record, album, song of the year and best new artist.
Harvey said the academy increased slots in the general field categories after seeing an uptick voting participation over the past year along with the acceptance of new membership invitations and a high number of more than 21,730 entries submitted for Grammy consideration.
“We thought the timing was right,” he said. “We saw an opportunity to do what the academy does — which is to highlight music, highlight the industry and highlight excellence in a bigger way. With the change in our voting structure, we don’t have the nomination review committee. This gives our voters an opportunity to have their voice heard, but also gives them a chance to have a bigger pool to draw from when it comes time to that one winner that takes home the Grammy.”
Other album of the year nominees include: Bieber’s “Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe),” Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” West’s “Donda,” Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga’s “Love for Sale,” Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour,” Taylor Swift’s “evermore” and Lil Nas X’s “MONTERO.”
Batiste, the bandleader of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” picked up a bid in the best score soundtrack for visual media category for his work on Pixar’s “Soul,” which won him an Oscar for best score earlier this year. Coming into Tuesday, he had three Grammy nominations but no wins yet.
Batiste will compete for record of the year against a bevy of candidates including Bennett & Gaga’s “I Get a Kick Out of You,” ABBA’s “I Still Have Faith in You,” Bieber’s “Peaches” featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon, Brandi Carlile’s “Right on Time,” Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More” with SZA, Lil Nas X’s “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name),” Rodrigo’s “drivers license,” Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” and “Leave The Door Open” by Silk Sonic — the super duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak.
Jay-Z, who was nominated for three Grammys on Tuesday, now has the most nominations of all time with 83. The 23-time Grammy-winning rapper moved past Quincy Jones, who has been nominated 80 times.
A list of nominees in the top categories at the 64th annual Grammy Awards, announced Tuesday by The Recording Academy.
— Album of the year: “We Are,” Jon Batiste; “Love For Sale,” Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga; “Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe),” Justin Bieber; “Planet Her (Deluxe Edition),” Doja Cat; “Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish; “Back of My Mind,” H.E.R.; “MONTERO,” Lil Nas X; “Sour,” Olivia Rodrigo; “Evermore,” Taylor Swift; “Donda,” Kanye West.
— Record of the year: “I Still Have Faith in You,” ABBA; “I Get a Kick Out of You,” Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga; “Peaches,” Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon; “Right on Time,” Brandi Carlile; “Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat featuring SZA; “Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish; “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),” Lil Nas X; “Drivers License,” Olivia Rodrigo; “Leave the Door Open,” Silk Sonic.
— Song of the year (songwriter’s award): “Bad Habits,” Johnny McDaid and Ed Sheeran; “A Beautiful Noise,” Ruby Amanfu, Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark, Alicia Keys, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Linda Perry and Hailey Whitters; “Drivers License,” Daniel Nigro and Olivia Rodrigo; “Fight For You,” Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas; “Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish O’Connell and Finneas O’Connell; “Kiss Me More,” Rogét Chahayed, Amala Zandile Dlamini, Lukasz Gottwald, Carter Lang, Gerard A. Powell II, Solána Rowe and David Sprecher; “Leave The Door Open,” Brandon Anderson, Christopher Brody Brown, Dernst Emile II and Bruno Mars; “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),” Denzel Baptiste, David Biral, Omer Fedi, Montero Hill and Roy Lenzo; “Peaches,” Louis Bell, Justin Bieber, Giveon Dezmann Evans, Bernard Harvey, Felisha “Fury” King, Matthew Sean Leon, Luis Manuel Martinez Jr., Aaron Simmonds, Ashton Simmonds, Andrew Wotman and Keavan Yazdani; “Right On Time,” Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth.
— Best new artist: Arooj Aftab; Jimmie Allen; Baby Keem; Finneas; Glass Animals; Japanese Breakfast; The Kid Laroi; Arlo Parks; Olivia Rodrigo; Saweetie.
— Best pop solo performance: “Anyone,” Justin Bieber; “Right on Time,” Brandi Carlile; “Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish; “Positions,” Ariana Grande; “Drivers License,” Olivia Rodrigo.
— Best pop duo/group performance: “I Get a Kick Out of You,” Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga; “Lonely,” Justin Bieber and benny blanco; “Butter,” BTS; “Higher Power,” Coldplay; “Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat featuring SZA.
— Best pop vocal album: “Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe),” Justin Bieber; “Planet Her (Deluxe), Doja Cat; “Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish; “Positions,” Ariana Grande; “Sour,” Olivia Rodrigo.
— Best traditional pop vocal album: “Love for Sale,” Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga; “’Til We Meet Again (Live),” Norah Jones; “A Tori Kelly Christmas,” Tori Kelly; “Ledisi Sings Nina,” Ledisi; “That’s Life,” Willie Nelson; “A Holly Dolly Christmas,” Dolly Parton.
— Best dance/electronic album: “Subconsciously,” Black Coffee; “Fallen Embers,” Illenium; “Music is the Weapon (Reloaded), Major Lazer; “Shockwave,” Marshmello; “Free Love,” Sylvan Esso; “Judgement,” Ten City.
— Best rock album: “Power Up,” AC/DC; “Capitol Cuts – Live from Studio A,” Black Pumas; “No One Sings Like You Anymore Vol. 1,” Chris Cornell; “Medicine at Midnight,” Foo Fighters; “McCartney III,” Paul McCartney.
— Best alternative music album: “Shore,” Fleet Foxes; “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power,” Halsey; “Jubilee,” Japanese Breakfast; “Collapsed In Sunbeams,” Arlo Parks; “Daddy’s Home,” St. Vincent.
— Best progressive R&B album: “New Light,” Eric Bellinger; “Something to Say,” Cory Henry; “Mood Valiant,” Hiatus Kaiyote; “Table for Two,” Lucky Daye; “Dinner Party: Dessert,” Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder and Kamasi Washington; “Studying Abroad: Extended Stay,” Masego.
— Best R&B album: “Temporary Highs in Violet Skies,” Snoh Aalegra; “We Are,” Jon Batiste; “Gold-Diggers Sound,” Leon Bridges; “Back of My Mind,” H.E.R.; “Heaux Tales,” Jazmine Sullivan.
— Best rap album: “The Off-Season,” J. Cole; “Certified Lover Boy,” Drake; “King’s Disease II,” Nas; “Call Me If You Get Lost,” Tyler, the Creator; “Donda,” Kanye West.
— Best country album: “Skeleton,” Brothers Osborne; “Remember Her Name,” Mickey Guyton; “The Marfa Tapes,” Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram; “The Ballad of Dood and Juanita,” Sturgill Simpson; “Starting Over,” Chris Stapleton.
— Best jazz vocal album: “Generations,” The Baylor Project; “Superblue,” Kurt Elling and Charlie Hunter; “Time Traveler,” Nnenna Freelon; “Flor,” Gretchen Parlato; “Songwrights Apothecary Lab,” Esperanza Spalding.
— Best jazz instrumental album: “Jazz Selections: Music From and Inspired by Soul,” Jon Batiste; “Absence,” Terence Blanchard featuring The E Collective and the Turtle Island Quartet; “Skyline,” Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette and Gonzalo Rubalcaba; “Akoustic Band Live,” Chick Corea, John Patitucci and Dave Weckl; “Side-Eye NYC (V1.IV),” Pat Metheny.
— Best gospel album: “Changing Your Story,” Jekalyn Carr; “Royalty: Live at the Ryman,” Tasha Cobbs Leonard; “Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition,” Maverick City Music; “Jonny x Mali: Live in LA,” Jonathan McReynolds and Mali Music; “Believe for It,” CeCe Winans.
— Best contemporary Christian music album: “No Stranger,” Natalie Grant; “Feels Like Home Vol. 2,” Israel and New Breed; “The Blessing (Live),” Kari Jobe; “Citizen of Heaven (Live),” Tauren Wells; “Old Church Basement,” Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music.
— Best Latin pop album: “Vértigo,” Pablo Alborán; “Mis Amores,” Paula Arenas; “Hecho a La Antigua,” Ricardo Arjona; “Mis Manos,” Camilo; “Mendó,” Alex Cuba; “Revelación,” Selena Gomez.
— Best Latin urban album: “Afrodisíaco,” Rauw Alejandro; “El Último Tour del Mundo,” Bad Bunny; “Jose,” J Balvin; “KG0516,” Karol G; “Sin Miedo (Del Amor y Otros Demonios),” Kali Uchis.
— Best Latin rock or alternative album: “Deja,” Bomba Estéreo; “Mira Lo Que Me Hiciste Hacer (Deluxe Edition), Diamante Eléctrico; “Origen,” Juanes; “Calambre,” Nathy Peluso; “El Madrileño, C. Tangana; “Sonidos de Karmática Resonancia,” Zoé.
— Best reggae album: “Pamoja,” Etana; “Positive Vibration,” Gramps Morgan, “Live N Livin,” Sean Paul; “Royal,” Jesse Royal; “Beauty in the Silence,” Soja; “10,” Spice.
— Best spoken word album: “Aftermath,” LeVar Burton, “Carry On: Reflections for a New Generation from John Lewis,” Don Cheadle; “Catching Dreams: Live at Fort Knox Chicago,” “8:46,” Dave Chappelle and Amir Sulaiman; “A Promised Land,” Barack Obama.
— Best comedy album: “The Comedy Vaccine,” Lavell Crawford; “Evolution,” Chelsea Handler; “Sincerely Louis CK,” Louis C.K.; “Thanks for Risking Your Life,” Lewis Black; “The Greatest Average American,” Nate Bargatze; “Zero F—s Given,” Kevin Hart.
— Best compilation soundtrack for visual media: “Cruella”; “Dear Evan Hansen”’ “In the Heights,” “One Night in Miami…”; “Respect”; “Schmigadoon! Episode 1”; “The United States vs. Billie Holliday.”
— Best score soundtrack for visual media: “Bridgerton,” Kris Bowers; “Dune,” Hans Zimmer; “The Mandalorian: Season 2 – Vol. 2,” Ludwig Göransson; “The Queen’s Gambit,” Carlos Rafael Rivera; “Soul,” Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
— Producer of the year, non-classical: Jack Antonoff; Rogét Chahayed; Mike Elizondo; Hit-Boy; Ricky Reed.
— Best music video: “Shot in the Dark,” AC/DC; “Freedom,” Jon Batiste; “I Get a Kick Out of You,” Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga; “Peaches,” Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon; “Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish; “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name),” Lil Nas X; “Good 4 U,” Olivia Rodrigo.
— Best music film: “Inside”; “David Byrne’s American Utopia”; “Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles”; “Music, Money, Madness…Jimi Hendrix in Maui”; “Summer of Soul.”
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