Art by Samantha Miller
Coming to television screens this week is the biggest night in music — the Grammy Awards. Even with COVID-19 safety regulations, an all new in-person, immersive experience is planned. While artists get to perform and walk the red carpet, the Sunday awards will be one to watch.
The awards will be held March 14, from the Los Angeles Staples Center from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., ET. The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, originally scheduled for January 31, will now provide audiences with in-person acceptance speeches and performances. Both artists and fans were surprised at the Nov. 24 nominee announcement, even leading to some backlash and criticism. Viewers’ voice their predictions as the night gets closer.
Music released between Sept. 1, 2019 and Aug. 31, 2020, is eligible for a nomination. Most nominated artists, such as Beyoncé, Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch or Taylor Swift could sweep it all. “The Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah will host the awards that will be available on CBS, following the Premiere Ceremony.
The first Grammy Awards in May 1959 did not air on TV. Winners included Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Henry Mancini and more. The person who holds the record for most Grammy Awards won is Georg Solti with 31, winning most in the classical field. He is followed by artist, arranger and producer Quincy Jones with 28, mostly in the jazz, pop and R&B genre. The band with the most awards is U2 with 22, winning their first in 1988 for their album “The Joshua Tree.”
The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards held last year crowned Billie Eilish with the most awards. She won Record, Album and Song of the Year. Eilish received four nominations for this years Grammys, including Record of the Year for “everything i wanted.”
Nominations and Categories
Taylor Swift is on the Recording Academy’s radar once again and has a multitude of nominations, including Album of the Year for “Folklore.” According to critics, Swift is favored to win due to her ability to change genres so easily, from country to pop to subdued indie. If Swift wins album of the year, she will be the only artist in history to take home this award three times.
After receiving three nominations in pop categories for his album “Changes,” Justin Bieber took to Instagram to point out that his album is in fact an R&B album. “I am flattered to be acknowledged and appreciated for my artistry,” Bieber wrote. “With that being said, I set out to make an R&B album. ‘Changes’ was and is an R&B album.”
Favored to win all major categories by critics was The Weeknd, including Album, Record and Song of the Year, after the critically acclaimed success from his album “After Hours.” The star received zero nominations and he took to Twitter to call the Recording Academy “corrupt” and owing him “transparency.”
New artists nominated for Grammy Awards this year include K-Pop stars and boy-band BTS, earning their first nominations for Best Pop Duo and Group Performance for their song “Dynamite.” Harry Styles is nominated this year; the first One Direction member to ever be nominated for a Grammy. He is nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album for his anecdotal masterpiece, “Fine Line.” He is also nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Watermelon Sugar” and Best Music Video for his eight-minute island fantasy, “Adore You.”
The Best New Artist category — which has the most complicated set of rules to qualify — includes Phoebe Bridgers, Noah Cyrus, Doja Cat and more. But critics are saying that Megan Thee Stallion will most likely win, due to her ability to break into the mainstream with “Hot Girl Summer” and morph musicality with cultural influence in her studio album, “Good News.”
To be nominated for Best New Artist, any performing artist who releases music during the eligible year must have a maximum of 30 singles or tracks. These tracks must establish the artists’ public identity.
In the rock world, The Strokes’ “The New Abnormal” is predicted by critics to win Best Rock Album and “Shameika” by Fiona Apple is most likely said to win Best Rock Song. In alternative music, there are nominees such as Beck, Brittany Howard and Tame Impala. This is Beck’s 22nd Grammy nomination and Tame Impala’s first nomination since 2015.
In R&B, H.E.R, Skip Marley and Chloe x Halle are among the nominated artists up for an award. This is Skip Marley’s first two nominations after his grandfather, Bob Marley, won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2001.
A more unknown category this year, Producer of the Year (Non-Classical), includes nominee Jack Antonoff, nominated for his work on Swift’s “Folklore.” Antonoff is known for being the lead singer of indie pop band “Bleachers,” as well as being a songwriter and producer for artists such as Lorde, Lana Del Rey and St. Vincent.
Fans remember famous Grammy performances such as Michael Jackson’s moonwalk in 1988, Eminem and Sir Elton John joining hands on stage in 2001, and Beyoncé floating in the air while pregnant with twins in 2017.
This year’s performances include some artists’ Grammy debuts, such as Bad Bunny, Black Pumas, DaBaby and Harry Styles. Styles is predicted to perform his hit single “Golden,” his bright sounding Fleetwood Mac inspired tune, after the Grammy’s official Twitter tweeted, “He’s so golden” March 7.
Beyoncé, the top nominated artist, is not set to perform. Artists will perform inside the arena and surrounding outdoor stages to be as social distanced as possible.
And The Winner Is
For an artist to be considered for a Grammy, the Recording Academy, a non-profit made up of music makers and professionals, accepts entries from voting members online, registered media companies and record labels. Voting members can also submit their own eligible recordings or of their peers. According to the Grammys, after an artist wins an award, contrary to popular thought, they do not receive any money with their award. They win recognition. They will always be labeled as “Grammy Award Winner…”
The Grammy winners are not officially announced until the time of the telecast, and the celebration is an all-night occasion. The night concludes with a Grammy celebration gala where artists party and perform. This year, due to COVID-19, the after-parties may look different. Celebration may include driving through an “In and Out” drive-thru while winners snuggle their awards.
While winners won’t be announced until this upcoming Sunday, they are almost guaranteed to see some Grammy newbies arrive home with smiling faces. Whether it is Harry Styles, HAIM or Phoebe Bridgers, the music scene is an ever evolving design. It is more alive now than ever.
Grammy winner and host of the 56th annual Grammy Awards, LL Cool J, said it best as he walked out to open the award show in front of music lovers and dreamers across the world: “Music unleashes us, whoever we are, and whoever we dream about being.”
The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards will also be available to stream on Paramount+.
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