By John Lentz, Senior Music Director | FirstCom Music
2014 was an exciting year in the music industry, and on February 8, the best will be recognized during the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the Staple Center in Los Angeles. The GRAMMYs document the best performers, composers, and producers with 421 nominations in 83 categories. The awards show has come a long way since their 1st awards dinner in 1959 that featured only 28 categories.
Four of the five nominees for Record of the Year are female with Sia, Iggy Azalea, Taylor Swift, and Meghan Trainor competing with the artist who has the most nominations this year, Sam Smith. Swift’s “Shake It Off” and Trainor’s “All About That Bass” were two of the catchiest and most popular songs of last year, and many suspect one of these two recordings will win this category. Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” was immensely popular, as she became the first Australian female artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 since 1981. Former Zero 7 vocalist, Sia, had a critically acclaimed and worldwide hit with “Chandelier,” her first release as a lead artist. The gospel infused “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)” by Sam Smith might be the record that wins this category over the two huge hits by Swift and Trainor.
Song of the Year is a songwriter’s award. However, the category almost mirrors the Record of the Year category, as four of the five nominees are the same. Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” is the one difference and is a dark horse to take the prize. It will be interesting if “Stay With Me” wins the award as Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne have received co-writer credits due to the song’s similarity to “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty.
One of the most favorite categories is Best New Artist as it gives the industry a listen to the future. HAIM is the sister group that has captured the pop/rock sound of the 1980s and given it a fresh interpretation without sacrificing their own originality. Brandy Clark may be a new artist, but she is not new to industry success. Clark paid her dues writing hit songs for Miranda Lambert, The Band Perry, Kacey Musgraves, and others before releasing her critically acclaimed debut album 12 Stories. Bastille is the big chorus British band that has earned eleven gold and platinum awards worldwide with their debut album Bad Blood. With six hit singles from the album, they are strong candidates to win the award. Australian rapper/songwriter/model, Iggy Azalea, may be the best-known artist in the group as she is in the celebrity news quite a bit. Azalea’s music has already enjoyed much chart success, and there is no denying that she will be a driving force in the music and fashion industry for years to come. The favorite in this category has to be golden throated, Sam Smith. If Smith never did anything but sing, that would be more than enough. However, he also co-wrote every song on his massively popular In The Lonely Hour album. This artist has the goods to be an iconic singer for decades to come, and the music listening public will be the fortunate recipients of Smith’s future works.
The biggest prize is Album of the Year, and there are five diverse nominees for this year’s award. It is no surprise that the immensely popular pop/R&B style of Girl by seven-time GRAMMY winner Pharrell Williams is included, along with seventeen-time GRAMMY winner, Beyoncé and her self-titled album. Newcomer Sam Smith is one of this year’s top nominated artists with entries in six categories from his In The Lonely Hour album. Ed Sheeran’s X is a delicious offering of singer/songwriter tunes and some straight up pop songs with a hip-hop beat. The mystery guest in this category is Beck’s Morning Phase, but the three-time GRAMMY winner remains a fan and critic favorite 21 years after his first album release.
Glen Campbell has been active in the music industry since 1958 and has won five GRAMMY awards (including Album of the Year in 1968 with By The Time I Get To Phoenix), three GRAMMY Hall of Fame Awards, and the prized, GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Campbell is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but that has not kept him from one final hurrah. The last song he recorded, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” is nominated for Best Country Song and Best Song Written For Visual Media. Look for Campbell to win at least one of those awards as the industry salutes one of its finest artists of all-time. There will not be a dry eye in the house if he wins one.
Join LL Cool J on Sunday, February 8 as he hosts the GRAMMY Awards for the fourth consecutive year. It truly is “Music’s Biggest Night” and a worldwide celebration for recorded music.