Music Critic Anna Robinson runs through the major Grammy nominations, offering an insight into who would be deserving winners

English with Drama 3rd year student

The 64th annual Grammy awards are set to take place in Las Vegas on April 3rd. With 86 categories, there is an opportunity for every genre and speciality of music to be recognised. Artists set to perform on the night have yet to be announced, but with the calibre of performers in each category, there is set to be some very memorable viewing. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the main categories and see who is in the running for music’s most prestigious awards.

The nominations for Record of the Year are:

ABBA – ‘I Still Have Faith in You’

Jon Batiste – ‘Freedom’

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – ‘I Get a Kick Out of You’

Justin Bieber Featuring Daniel Cesar & Giveon – ‘Peaches’

Brandi Carlile – ‘Right on Time’

Doja Cat Featuring SZA – ‘Kiss Me More’

Billie Eilish – ‘Happier Than Ever’

Lil Nas X – ‘Montero (Call Me by Your Name)’

Olivia Rodrigo – ‘Drivers License’

Silk Sonic – ‘Leave the Door Open’

With a wide array of artists and styles, and with some classic artists such as ABBA and Tony Bennett, this category is much more varied than in previous years. With the constant increase in TikTok users, songs such as ‘Kiss Me More’ and ‘Drivers License’ have found a fan-base that frequently uses the songs in dances and sounds on the popular app. And, whilst ABBA have returned to their army of fans, the song did not have as much success as the songs from their heyday, and from the jukebox musical Mamma Mia. For this reason, I am hopeful that Billie Eilish secures Record of the Year with ‘Happier Than Ever,’ a well-loved and emotional song that speaks to any heartbroken listener. If Billie wins in this category, it would be her eighth Grammy award to add to her vast collection of statues.

Album of the Year features the following nominations:

Jon Batiste – We Are

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – Love for Sale

Justin Bieber – Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe)

Doja Cat – Planet Her (Deluxe)

Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever

H.E.R. – Back of My Mind

Lil Nas X – Montero

Olivia Rodrigo – Sour

Taylor Swift – Evermore

Kanye West – Donda

With many of the same artists as in Record of the Year, competition surrounds a well-loved group of artists. The introduction of Taylor Swift and Kanye West may cause some controversy, especially as either artist could win this award. With powerful songwriting and innovative collaborations, both Swift and West stand a chance at claiming Album of the Year- perhaps the most coveted award of the night. With six of the nominations in this category going to women, representation has certainly expanded, but it would be nice to see more LGBT artists being represented too.

Song of the Year adds some new artists to the mix:

Ed Sheeran – ‘Bad Habits’

Alicia Keys & Brandi Carlile – ‘A Beautiful Noise’

Olivia Rodrigo – ‘Drivers License’

H.E.R. – ‘Fight for You’

Billie Eilish – ‘Happier Than Ever’

Doja Cat Featuring SZA – ‘Kiss Me More’

Silk Sonic – ‘Leave the Door Open’

Lil Nas X – ‘Montero (Call Me by Your Name)’

Justin Bieber Featuring Daniel Cesar & Giveon – ‘Peaches’

Brandi Carlile – ‘Right on Time’

The addition of Lil Nas X, Ed Sheeran and Alicia Keys means that this category will be a difficult decision. With many of the same artists featuring in the main categories, it is hard to decipher who will win. However, my hope would be for Justin Bieber with ‘Peaches’ to be crowned Song of the Year for its catchy chorus and collaboration with R&B/Soul artists Daniel Cesar and Giveon.

Best New Artist can make or break a new performers early career, and these artists have a lot to offer:

Arooj Aftab

Jimmie Allen

Baby Keem


Glass Animals

Japanese Breakfast

The Kid Laroi

Arlo Parks

Olivia Rodrigo


Whilst Glass Animals are by no means a new artist – having formed in 2010- their new-found level of fame online has skyrocketed their career, and I would love to see them win this category. Another favourite of mine is Arlo Parks, whose meaningful lyrics surrounding mental health have helped me (and many others) through difficult times. With the offerings in this category, I appreciate how varied the artists are; Jimmie Allen is a country singer and Arooj Aftab is a Pakistani vocalist. With artists from a wide background of genres and countries, it is nice to see more representation within the more popular Grammy categories, ensuring that all manner of musical genres are appreciated.

In the Best Musical Theatre Album the nominations are:

Original Album Cast – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella

World Premiere Cast – Burt Bacharach and Steven Sater’s Some Lovers

Original Broadway Cast – Girl From the North Country

The 2020 Les Misérables Staged Concert Company – Les Misérables: The Staged Concert (The Sensational 2020 Live Recording)

World Premiere Cast – Stephen Schwartz’s Snapshots

Barlow & Bear – The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical

Whilst Girl from the North Country is a particular favourite musical of mine, it is fascinating to see the success of Barlow and Bear and their Unofficial Bridgerton Musical which they collaborated on and posted to TikTok. To rise to fame so quickly and to be in the same category as Andrew Lloyd Webber is a fantastic achievement, and for this reason I hope that they win this award.

With such an impressive display of musicians and groups, it will be an incredible night of wins as the biggest stars of music take to the stage for performances and awards. The popularity of TikTok has definitely influenced some of the nominations and has propelled the careers of many new artists. Indeed, artists such as Lil Nas X found their early fame on TikTok rather than on traditional platforms such as Youtube. The ability to share and stream with so many viewers around the world has enhanced the careers of those who previously would not have had such a large audience. Perhaps next year, the old-hat artists such as Ed Sheeran and Alicia Keys will make room for some newer performers finding their voice. For now, we will have to wait and see what April 3rd brings.

The full list of nominations can be found here.

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