It’s awards season again! Those whose Spotify Wrapped lists were graced with the likes of Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Lil Nas X, and Olivia Rodrigo may already know a bit about the nominees for the 64th GRAMMY Awards. But if that’s not you, never fear: here is everything you need to know (more or less) about this year’s Grammys.
The Grammys is the most prestigious music award ceremony in the world, recognising brilliance every year across almost all genres of music (seriously – there are eighty-six categories). The four main categories are record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, and best new artist. These groups are typically dominated by pop music, and this year is no different, with Taylor Swift nabbing a second consecutive album of the year nomination (she won last year with Folklore) and even ABBA claiming a spot at the top with their comeback song. The nominees are:
Record of the Year
‘I Still Have Faith In You’ by ABBA
‘Freedom’ by Jon Batiste
‘I Get A Kick Out Of You’ by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
‘Peaches’ by Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caeser & Giveon
‘Right On Time’ by Brandi Carlile
‘Kiss Me More’ by Doja Cat ft. SZA
‘Happier Than Ever’ by Billie Eilish
‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ by Lil Nas X
‘drivers license’ by Olivia Rodrigo
‘Leave The Door Open’ by Silk Sonic
Album of the Year
We Are by Jon Batiste
Love For Sale by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe) by Justin Bieber
Planet Her (Deluxe) by Doja Cat
Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish
Back Of My Mind by H.E.R.
Montero by Lil Nas X
Sour by Olivia Rodrigo
Evermore by Taylor Swift
Donda by Kanye West
Song of the Year (The difference between this category and record of the year is that record recognises the finished track and is awarded to the artist, whereas song recognises the song as it’s written and is award to the songwriters)
‘Bad Habits’ by Fred Gibson, Johnny McDaid & Ed Sheeran
‘A Beautiful Noise’ by Ruby Amanfu, Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark, Alicia Keys, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Linda Perry & Hailey Whitters
‘drivers license’ by Daniel Nigro & Olivia Rodrigo
‘Fight For You’ by Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. & Tiara Thomas
‘Happier Than Ever’ by Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell
‘Kiss Me More’ by Rogét Chahayed, Amala Zandile Dlamini, Lukasz Gottwald, Carter Lang, Gerard A. Powell II, Solána Rowe & David Sprecher
‘Leave The Door Open’ by Brandon Anderson, Christopher Brody Brown, Dernst Emile II & Bruno Mars
‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ by Denzel Baptiste, David Biral, Omer Fedi, Montero Hill & Roy Lenzo
‘Peaches’ by 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 & Keavan Yazdani
‘Right On Time’ by Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth
Best New Artist
The Kid LAROI
For the first time, the shortlists for these categories have been extended from eight to ten nominations, reflecting the continuing expansion of music production and its accessibility thanks to streaming platforms like Spotify.
Some of the standout nominees this year are Lil Nas X with eight nominations and Billie Eilish with seven. Both are listed in three of the main categories, and Eilish has the potential to set a record by winning record of the year for the third time consecutively. However, Olivia Rodrigo, with seven nominations, is the only artist to be featured in all four main categories. After starring in the hit Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical, Rodrigo released her heart-breaking debut single ‘drivers licence’ last January, which smashed Spotify’s record for most streams in a single day (excluding Christmas songs) and spent nine weeks at number one in the UK charts. She’s seen rising success ever since. At only eighteen years old, Rodrigo has become a staple of Gen Z pop music, and is the favourite to win best new artist this year.
The surprising breakout star who’s achieved the most nominations is jazz musician Jon Batiste with a total of eleven. For a jazz pianist to break out of the classical and jazz-specific categories into record and album of the year is little short of groundbreaking. Critics have cynically picked up that Batiste is the musical director and bandleader for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, a show which airs on the same network that broadcasts the Grammys. But it is Batiste’s work on the celebrated Pixar movie Soul that goes some way to explaining his Grammys success; having already won an Oscar and Golden Globe for the movie (alongside Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross), the spotlight is not a new place for him to be.
This year sees a significant change to the voting process. Previously, the nominations were decided by ‘secret committees’ made up of completely anonymous members of the music industry. They reviewed nominations sent in by songwriters and performers and had total control over the final shortlists. After accusations of racism and personal biases after artist The Weeknd (one of several artists boycotting the Grammys this year) was snubbed in 2021, this secretive method of deciding the nominees was disbanded in favour of a more judicial system in which members of the Recording Academy vote on who makes the shortlist. Whatever the reason, this is a fairer change to how the Grammys works, and the diversification of celebrated music is long overdue.