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58th Grammy Awards Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

The biggest night in music comes in two days, and this year is more close than ever. With Kendrick Lamar leading the nods at 11, he’s poised to sweep this year. Then there’s Taylor Swift in her biggest era yet, and The Weeknd also earning seven nominations. The night won’t be shy of memorable performances as well from Adele, to a David Bowie and B.B. King tribute. Now, here are my predictions in 30 different categories among ten different fields.

aoty

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Alabama Shakes, Sound and Color
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Chris Stapleton, Traveller
Taylor Swift, 1989
The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

PREDICTION: Alabama Shakes, “Sound & Color”. While mainstream media is busy painting this as a three-way fightbetween Taylor, Kendrick, and The Weeknd (which also happens to be the three top nomination getter this year), the actual biggest top honor isn’t really among the three. Just like Arcade Fire’s win in 2010, Alabama Shakes will end up with the win here.

ALTERNATE: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”. If not them, count on the country bloc to support Chris Stapleton all the way to an AOTY victory especially considering that this is his only nod at the General Field this year.

roty

RECORD OF THE YEAR:
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Really Love
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space
The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel my Face

PREDICTION: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk.” Uptown Funk has all the staples of a win here — a song with heavy instruments, relatively huge, a performer they love to nominate. It’s basically pop culture staple that has the respect of the critics as well,. Have you seen how they responded to it during the Superbowl? To say it’s massive is an understatement.

ALTERNATE: The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face.” Only one of the two songs this year to garner both ROTY and SOTY nods, The Weeknd’s homage to Michael is very much in contention to win here.

soty

SONG OF THE YEAR:
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Wiz Kahifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”

PREDICTION: Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”. On her most successful era yet, the Grammys won’t let it pass without giving her a General Field win. AOTY has been achieved five years ago already, it’s time to add another one on the list.

ALTERNATE: Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”. This is basically the Academy’s catnip here. Think of white male singer with a heartfelt anthem. They’ve proven their love to Ed by giving him nominations in all Big 4 categories, maybe the next stage is to finally give him wins.

bna

BEST NEW ARTIST:
Courtney Barnett
James Bay
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor

PREDICTION: Sam Hunt. In a very open race like this, anything can really happen. Count on the country bloc to support their fellow to have their GF win. After all, it’s been six years since a country act has last won in here.

ALTERNATE: James Bay. He;s the only one aside from Hunt to garner multiple nods here. But then again, he’s the type who strikes me as one who got multiple nominations only to lose all of them (see India Arie in 2001, Avril Lavigne in 2002, James Blunt in 2006).

POP FIELD:

pop

POP SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Kelly Clarkson, “Heartbeat Song”
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do”
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”

It’s a battle between Taylor and Weeknd again, but expect Taylor to dominate the Pop categories to add to her haul.

PREDICTION: Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
ALTERNATE: The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”

POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE:
Florence + The Machine, ” Ship to Wreck”
Maroon 5, “Sugar”
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”

This seems like an easy win for Mark and Bruno, which I still think will happen unless they want to go one-two punch of a moment between Taylor and Kendrick on stage.

PREDICTION: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
ALTERNATE: Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”

POP VOCAL ALBUM:
Kelly Clarkson, Piece by Piece
Florence + The Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Mark Ronson, Uptown Special
Taylor Swift, 1989
James Taylor, Before This World

While this is another part of the 1989 sweep that will happen on Grammy night, James Taylor comes a tad close for his first career #1 album. That said, Taylor can breathe as she’s still winning this handily.

PREDICTION: Taylor swift, “1989”
ALTERNATE: James Taylor, “Before This World”

TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL ALBUM:
Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern
Bob Dylan, Shadows in the Night
Josh Groban, Stages
Seth MacFarlane, No One Ever Tells You
Barry Manilow (& Various Artists), My Dream Duets

This has been Bennett’s category for years now, but every now and then there are exceptions. With his hit album,Josh Groban can look at his first Grammy win of his career. Unless they can’t resist rewarding perennial favorite Bob Dylan.

PREDICTION: Josh Groban, “Stages”
ALTERNATE: Bob Dylan, “Shadows in the Night”

DANCE & ELECTRONIC FIELD:

dance recording

DANCE RECORDING:
Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston, :We’re All We Need”
The Chemical Brothers, “Go:
Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Never Catch Me”
Galantis, “Runaway (U & I)”
Skrillex and Diplo With Justin Bieber, “Where Are Ü Now”

We’re looking at Grammy winner Justin Bieber here. Yup, that’s happening.

PREDICTION: Skrillex, Diplo, Justin BIeber, “Where Are U Now”
ALTERNATE: The Chemical Brothers featuring Q-Tip, “Go”

dance album

DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM:
Caribou, Our Love
The Chemical Brothers, Born in the Echoes
Disclosure, Caracal
Jamie XX, In Colour
Skrillex and Diplo, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü

At this point, it’s probably a double whammy already for Skrillex, whom they really love in this category. If not them, then maybe critically lauded Jamie xx, can take home the Grammy.

PREDICTION: Skrillex, Diplo,”Skrillex and Siplo Present Jack U”
ALTERNATE: Jamie xx, “In Colour”

ROCK & ALTERNATIVE FIELD:

rock and alternative

ROCK PERFORMANCE:
Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Florence + The Machine,”What Kind Of Man”
Foo Fighters, “Something From Nothing”
Elle King, “Ex’s & Oh’s”
Wolf Alice, “Moaning Lisa Smile”

Consider this the start of Alabama Shakes’ sweep on Grammy night. That said, isn’t it refreshing to have four women vocals in here? I hope this trend continues soon enough to kill the notion that only male artists do know rock.

PREDICTION: Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
ALTERNATE: Florence + the Machine, “What Kind of Man”

ROCK SONG:
Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Elle King, “Ex’s & Oh’s”
James Bay, “Hold Back the River”
Highly Suspect, “Lydia”
Florence + the Machine, “What Kind of Man”

File this under another win for Alabama Shakes. That said, James Bay could be the spoiler in this category.

PREDICTION: Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
ALTERNATE: James Bay, “Hold Back the River”

ROCK ALBUM:
James Bay, Chaos and the Calm
Death Cab for Cutie, Kintsugi
Highly Suspect, Mister Asylum
Muse, Drones
Slipknot, .5: The Gray Chapter

As mentioned, James Bay is giving me the vibe of that multi-nominated artist who’ll end up with nothing. That plus the narrative of Death Cab for Cutie and their last album makes me think they can pull off the win.

PREDICTION: Death Cab for Cutie, “Kintsugi”
ALTERNATE: James Bay, “Chaos and the Calm”

ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM:
Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Björk, Vulnicura
My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall
Tame Impala, Currents
Wilco, Star Wars

I’m predicting Sound & Color for friggin Album of the Year it just makes sense I’ll predict them here. And before you bring me to Arcade Fire and The Black Keys 2011 upset, I think that’s more of an exception here. If there’s an upset here though, consider Bjork to finally receive her first Grammy.

PREDICTION: Alabama Shakes, “Sound & Color”
ALTERNATE: Bjork, “Vulnicura”

R&B FIELD:

rnb.png

R&B PERFORMANCE
Tamar Braxton, “If I Don’t Have You”
Andra Day, “Rise Up”
Hiatus Kaiyote, “Breathing Underwater”
Jeremih feat. J. Cole, “Planes”
The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)”

The R&B categories have been difficult to predict the last couple of years, but I think they won’t resist going with The Weeknd in here to officially welcome him to the big leagues. That is unless they reward the more traditional work of Andra Day.

PREDICTION: The Weeknd, “Earned It”
ALTERNATE: Andra Day, “Rise Up”

TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE:
Faith Evans, “He Is”
Lalah Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”
Jazmine Sullivan, “Let It Burn”
Tyrese, “Shame”
Charlie Wilson, “My Favorite Part of You”

Tyrese has the biggest hit in this group, but will the Academy bite? On the other hand, Lalah Hathaway has been snatching out of nowhere wins the past few years, plus this has the “importance” factor, so maybe count on that to win a new one.

PREDICTION: Lalah Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”
ALTERNATE: Tyrese, “Shame”

R&B SONG:
Miguel, “Coffee”
The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)”
Jazmine Sullivan, “Let It Burn”
D’Angelo and The Vanguard, “Really Love”
Tyrese, “Shame”

This is really a close one between Abel and D’Angelo, but part of me thinks they’re going with their pal that they’ve known longer. Plus, that ROTY nomination is telling. Never discount a Weeknd sweep though.

PREDICTION: D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Really Love”
ALTERNATE: The Weeknd, “Earned It”

URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM:
The Internet, Ego Death
Kehlani, You Should Be Here
Lianne La Havas, Blood
Miguel, Wildheart
The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

Now this one is easier. We’re sure this will be a part of Weeknd’s mini-sweep. No AOTY nominated album has lost this category yet (unless losing to another co-AOTY nominee).

PREDICTION: The Weeknd, “Beauty Behind the Madness”
ALTERNATE: Miguel, “Wildheart”

R&B ALBUM:
Leon Bridges, Coming Home
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
Andra Day, Cheers to the Fall
Jazmine Sullivan, Reality Show
Charlie Wilson, Forever Charlie

D’Angelo’s comeback comes full circle as he’s surely taking this. Leon Bridges still has a chance, but for some reason, he missed some big nods (including the one many predicted him for… Best New Artist).

PREDICTION: D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Black Messiah”
ALTERNATE: Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”

RAP FIELD:

rap

RAP PERFORMANCE:
J. Cole, “Apparently”
Drake, “Back to Back”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Nicki Minaj feat. Drake & Lil Wayne, “Truffle Butter”
Kanye West feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney, “All Day”

This is the start of Kendrick’s domination at the Grammys on Monday night. Like no one’s even close. Not even Kanye being pals with Paul McCartney.

PREDICTION: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
ALTERNATE: J.Cole, “Apparently”

RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION:
Big Sean feat. Kanye West & John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”
Common & John Legend, “Glory”
Jidenna feat. Roman GianArthur, “Classic Man”
Kendrick Lamar feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat, “These Walls”
Nicki Minaj feat. Drake, Lil Wayne & Chris Brown, “Only”

Count on the Oscar-winning duo to repeat a victory here. Unless they’d really go hard for Lamar.

PREDICTION: Common and John Legend, “Glory”
ALTERNATE: Kendrick Lamar featuring Bilal, Anna Wise, and Thundercat, “These Walls”

RAP SONG:
Kanye West feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney, “All Day”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Drake, “Energy”
Common & John Legend, “Glory”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”

Rule of thumb is, count on the SOTY nominee to prevail unless there’s more than one in the group.

PREDICTION: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
ALTERNATE: Common and John Legend, “Glory”

RAP ALBUM:
J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive
Dr. Dre, Compton
Drake, If Youre Reading This Its Too Late
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint

Again, this will be a part of a huge Kendrick sweep. Like it will be the biggest upset ever if Kendrick doesn’t win this. On a distant second though is Dr. Dre who has some sort of a small narrative for him.

PREDICTION: Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp A Butterfly”
ALTERNATE: Dr. Dre, “Compton”

COUNTRY FIELD:

country

COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Cam, “Burning House”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Carrie Underwood, “Little Toy Guns”
Keith Urban, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
Lee Ann Womack, “Chances Are”

Chris Stapleton is the big name in country music the past year, that you’d know he has this one in the bag. That said, never underestimate Carrie Underwood who’s a favorite both in this category and when they still used to separate them before.

PREDICTION: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
ALTERNATE: Carrie Underwood, “Little Toy Guns”

COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE:
Brothers Osborne, “Stay a Little Longer”
Joey + Rory, “If I Needed You”
Charles Kelley, Dierks Bentley & Eric Paslay, “The Driver”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Blake Shelton feat. Ashley Monroe, “Lonely Tonight”

The usual suspects are actually MIA here, so expect Little Big Town to easily steamroll in this category.

PREDICTION: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
ALTERNATE: Blake Shelton, Ashley Monroe, “Lonely Tonight”

COUNTRY SONG:
Lee Ann Womack, “Chances Are”
Tim McGraw, “Diamond Rings And Old Barstools”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Brandy Clark, “Hold My Hand”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

It’s Stapleton vs. Little Big Town here, but the SOTY nomination of Little Big Town gives it the edge.

PREDICTION: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
ALTERNATE: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

COUNTRY ALBUM:
Sam Hunt, Montevallo
Little Big Town, Pain Killer
Ashley Monroe, The Blade
Kacey Musgraves, Pageant Material
Chris Stapleton, Traveller

The AOTY nominee has this one in the bag, especially considering that he’s also in real talk to win the biggest award as well.

PREDICTION: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
ALTERNATE: Kacey Musgraves,”Pageant Material”

VISUAL MEDIA:

soundtrack

SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA:
The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey)”
Common & John Legend, “Glory”
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do”
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Lady Gaga, “Til It Happens to You”

This is a fairly popular group of hits except that Gaga song, and nope the Oscar nod won’t help it win this. It’s between the current Oscar winner or the biggest song in this bunch — both impactful songs, but one has the prestige and importance that the other lacks.

PREDICTION: Common and John Legend, “Glory”
ALTERNATE: Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”

COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK:
Empire: Season 1
Fifty Shades of Grey
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Pitch Perfect 2
Selma

Aside from Selma, I can see a case of the other nominees prevailing in here. That said, Empire was really huge the past year that I see it squeaking a win over its closest competitor, the 50 Shades soundtrack.

PREDICTION: Empire: Season 1
ALTERNATE: 50 Shaes of Grey

SCORE SOUNDTRACK:
Birdman
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Are we looking at the Grammy category or the Best Picture Oscar category? Oh welp there’s Interstellar spoiling the list. I’d just stick with the one that won the Oscar category.

PREDICTION: The Theory of Everything (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
ALTERNATE: Birdman (Antonio Sanchez)

MUSIC VIDEO/FILM:

short form music video

MUSIC VIDEO:
A$AP Rocky, “LSD”
The Dead Weather, “I Feel Love”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Pharrell Williams, “Freedom”

This usually goes to the biggest song in the bunch even if it has inspired quality of nominees. Either way, Kendrick wins.

PREDICTION: Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
ALTERNATE: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”

music film

MUSIC FILM:
Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways
James Brown, Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown
Nina Simone, What Happened, Miss Simone
Roger Waters, The Wall
Amy Winehouse, Amy

This one’s between the two Oscar-nominated movies, and let’s just give it to the Oscar frontrunner.

PREDICTION: Amy
ALTERNATE: What Happened, Miss Simone?

Talk to me about the Grammys by tweeting me: @nikowl

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58th Grammy Awards Nominations Predictions   Leave a comment

On December 7, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will be unveiling the nominees for the 58th Grammy Awards. The Grammy, currently considered as the top award in music, will be given in more than 70 different categories for the music eligibility period of October 1, 2014 up to September 30, 2015. I think Taylor Swift and The Weeknd will lead this year’s nominees. Here are my nominee predictions in 31 different categories.

GENERAL FIELD:

01 AOTY

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
“Sonic Highways” (Foo Fighters)
“To Pimp A Butterfly” (Kendrick Lamar)
“Traveller” (Chris Stapleton)
“1989” (Taylor Swift)
“Beauty Behind the Madness” (The Weeknd)

NEXT IN LINE: “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” (Florence + the Machine), “Sound and Color” (Alabama Shakes), “Black Messiah” (D’Angelo and the Vanguard), “Uptown Special” (Mark Ronson)

02 ROTY

RECORD OF THE YEAR:
“See You Again” (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth)
“Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars)
“Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)
“Blank Space” (Taylor Swift)
“Can’t Feel My Face” (The Weeknd)

NEXT IN LINE: “Love Me Like You Do” (Ellie Goulding), “Lean On” (Major Lazer and DJ Snake), “FourFiveSeconds” (Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney), “Shut Up and Dance” (Walk the Moon)

03 SOTY

SONG OF THE YEAR:
“Girl Crush” (Little Big Town)
“Fight Song” (Rachel Platten)
“Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars)
“Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)
“Blank Space” (Taylor Swift)

NEXT IN LINE: “Alright” (Kendrick Lamar), “Can’t Feel My Face” (The Weeknd),”See You Again” (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth), “Glory” (John Legend and Common)

04 BNA

BEST NEW ARTIST:
Leon Bridges
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor
Walk the Moon

NEXT IN LINE: Hozier, Fetty Wap, CHVRCHES, FKA Twigs

POP FIELD:

05 Pop Solo

POP SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Justin Bieber, “What Do You Mean?”
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do”
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift, “Black Space”
The Weeknd,”Can’t Feel My Face”

NEXT IN LINE: Ariana Grande, “One Last Time”, Jason Derulo, “Want To Want Me”, Meghan Trainor, “Lips Are Movin”, Pharrell Williams, “Freedom”, Tori Kelly, “Should’ve Been Us”, Rachel Platten, “Fight Song”, Sia, “Alive”

06 Pop Group Collab

POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE:
Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds”
Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Meghan Trainor featuring John Legend, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”

NEXT IN LINE: Maroon 5, “Sugar”, Walk the Moon, “Shut Up And Dance (Acoustic)”, Sam Smith featuring John Legend, “Lay Me Down”, Major Lazer, DJ Snake featuring MO, “Lean On”, Ariana Grande featuring The Weeknd, “Love Me Harder”, Fifth Harmony featuring Kid Ink, “Worth It”

07 Pop Album

POP VOCAL ALBUM:
Jason Derulo, “Everything is 4”
Florence and The Machine, “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful”
Mark Ronson, “Uptown Special”
Taylor Swift, “1989”
Meghan Trainor, “Title”

NEXT IN LINE: Carly Rae Jepsen, “E•MO•TION”, Kelly Clarkson, “Piece By Piece”, Lana Del Rey, “Honeymoon”, Tori Kelly, “Unbreakable Smile”

DANCE/ELECTRONICA FIELD:

08 Dance Recording

DANCE RECORDING:
Alesso featuring Tove Lo, “Heroes (We Could Be)”
The Chemical Brothers, “Go”
Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne, “Real Love”
Disclosure, “Bang That”
Skrillex & Diplo featuring Justin Bieber, “Where Are U Now”

NEXT IN LINE: Calvin Harris ft. John Newman, “Blame”, Royksopp & Robyn, “Monument”, Valentino Khan, “Deep Down Low”, Zedd featuring John Bellion, “Beautiful Now”

09 Electronic Album

DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM:
The Chemical Brothers, “Born In the Echoes”
Disclosure, “Caracal”
Jamie xx, “In Colour”
Royskopp, “The Inevitable End”
Skrillex & Diplo, “Skrillex and Diplo Present
Jack U”

NEXT IN LINE: Galantis, “Pharmacy”, Hot Chip, “Why Make Sense?”, Zedd, “True Colors”, Kaskade, “Automatic”

ROCK AND ALTERNATIVE FIELD:

10 Rock Performance

ROCK PERFORMANCE:
Ryan Adams, “Bad Blood”
Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Foo Fighters, “Something From Nothing”
Hozier, “Someone New”
Mumford & Sons, “Believe”

NEXT IN LINE: Fall Out Boy, “Uma Thurman”, Muse, “Mercy”, Tame Impala, “Let It Happen”, Imagine Dragons, “I Bet My Life”, AC/DC, “Rock or Bust”

11 Rock Song

ROCK SONG:
Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
James Bay, “Hold Back the River”
Foo Fighters, “Something From Nothing”
Mumford & Sons, “Believe”
Muse, “Mercy”

NEXT IN LINE: Hozier, “Someone New”, Fall Out Boy, “Uma Thurman”, Florence and The Machine, “What Kind Of Man”, Tame Impala, “Let It Happen”

12 Rock Album

ROCK ALBUM:
Ryan Adams, “1989”
Foo Fighters, “Sonic Highways”
Hozier, “Hozier”
Imagine Dragons, “smoke + Mirrors”
Mumford & Sons, “Wilder Mind”

NEXT IN LINE: Muse, “Drones”, AC/DC, “Rock or Bust”, James Bay, “Chaos and the Calm”, Twenty One Pilots, “Bluryface”

13 Alternative Album

ALTERNATIVE ALBUM:
Alabama Shakes, “Sound & Color”
Björk, “Vulnicura”
Tame Impala, “Currents”
Sufjan Stevens, “Carrie & Lowell”
Wilco, “Star Wars”

NEXT IN LINE: FKA Twigs, “M3LL155X”, Beach House, “Depression Cherry”, Modest Mouse, “Strangers To Ourselves”, Father John Misty, “I Love You, Honeybear”

R&B FIELD:

14 RNB Performance

R&B PERFORMANCE:
Beyonce, “7/11”
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Really Love”
Miguel, “Coffee”
Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”
The Weeknd, “Earned It”

NEXT IN LINE: Omarion featuring Chris Brownand Jhene Aiko, “Post to Be”, Ciara, “I Bet”, Drake featuring PartyNextDoor, “Wednesday Night Interlude, Mark Ronson feat. Keyone Star, “I Can’t Lose”

15 Traditional RNB

TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE:
Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Ain’t That Easy”
Lalah Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”
Jill Scott, “Back Together”
Tyrese, “Shame”

NEXT IN LINE: Jazmine Sullivan, “Let it Burn”, Gary Clark Jr., “Our Love”, Babyface, “We’ve Got Love”, Charlie Wilson, “My Favorite Part of You”

16 RNB Song

R&B SONG:
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Really Love”
Empire Cast featuring Estelle & Jussie Smollett, “Conqueror”
Omarion feat. Jhene Aiko & Chris Brown, “Post to Be”
Tyrese, “Shame”
The Weeknd, “Earned It”

NEXT IN LINE: Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”, Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”, Babyface, “We’ve Got Love”

17 RNB Album

R&B ALBUM:
Mary J. Blige, “The London Sessions”
Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Black Messiah”
Jill Scott, “Woman”
Jazmine Sullivan, “Reality Show”

NEXT IN LINE: Tyrese, “Black Rose”, Tamia, “Love Life”, Charlie Wilson, “Forever Charlie”, Gary Clark Jr., “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim”

18 Urban Contemporary

URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM:
Ciara, “Jackie”
The Internet, “Ego Death”
Miguel, “Wildheart”
The Weeknd, “Beauty Behind the Madness”
Tinashe, “Aquarius”

NEXT IN LINE: Chris Brown and Tyga, “Fan of a Fan: The Album”, Bilal, “In Another Life”, Lianne La Havas, “Blood”, Snoop Dogg, “Bush”

RAP FIELD:

19 Rap Solo

RAP PERFORMANCE:
Drake, “Energy”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
J. Cole, “Apparently”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Kanye West featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, & Paul McCartney, “All Day”

NEXT IN LINE: Nicki Minaj feat. Drake & Lil Wayne, “Truffle Butter”, Eminem, “Phenomenal”, Big Sean featuring Drake, Kanye West, “Blessings”, Rae Sremmurd, “No Type”

20 Rap Sung Collab

RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION:
ASAP Rocky featuring Rod Stewart, Miguel and Mark Ronson, “Everyday”
Big Sean featuring Kanye West & John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”
Common and John Legend, “Glory”
Kendrick Lamar featuring Bilal, Anna Wise, & Thundercat, “These Walls”
Nicki Minaj featuring Drake, Lil Wayne, & Chris Brown, “Only”

NEXT IN LINE: Jidenna featuring Roman GianArthur, “Classic Man”, Wale featuring Usher, “The Matrimony”, Meek Mill ft. Chris Brown & Nicki Minaj, “All Eyes On You”, Chris Brown & Tyga , “Ayo”

21 Rap Song

RAP SONG:
Common and John Legend, “Glory”
Drake, “Energy”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Nicki Minaj featuring Beyonce, “Feeling Myself”
Kanye West featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, & Paul McCartney, “All That”

NEXT IN LINE: Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”, J.Cole, “Apparently”, Wale featuring Usher, “The Matrimony”, Big Sean featuring E-40, “I Don’t Fuck With You”

22 Rap Album

RAP ALBUM:
Drake, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”
Dr. Dre, “Compton”
J.Cole, “2014 Forest Hills Drive”
Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp a Butterfly”
Nicki Minaj, “The Pinkprint”

NEXT IN LINE: Big Sean, “Dark Sky Paradise”, Fetty Wap, “Fetty Wap”, Drake & Future, “What A Time to be Alive”, A$AP Rocky, “At.Long.Last.A $AP”

COUNTRY FIELD:

23 Country Solo

COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Sam Hunt, “Take Your Time”
Kacey Musgraves,”Dime Store Cowgirl”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Carrie Underwood, “Smoke Break”
Keith Urban,”John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16″

NEXT IN LINE: Luke Bryan, “Strip It Down”, Eric Church, “Talladega”, Blake Shelton, “Sangria”

24 Country Group Collab

COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE:
Don Henley featuring Dolly Parton, “When I Stop Dreaming”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Kacey Musgraves featuring Willie Nelson, “Are You Sure”
Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe, “Lonely Tonight”
Zac Brown Band, “Homegrown”

NEXT IN LINE: Luke Bryan featuring Karen Fairchild, “Home Alone Tonight”, Lady Antebellum, “Long Stretch of Love”, Florida George Line, “Sun Daze”

25 Country Song

COUNTRY SONG:
Luke Bryan, “Strip It Down”
Sam Hunt, “Take Your Time”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Kacey Musgraves,”Dime Store Cowgirl”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

NEXT IN LINE: Zac Brown Band, “Homegrown”, Eric Church, “Talladega”, Carrie Underwood, “Smoke Break”, Blake Shelton, “Sangria”

26 Country Album

COUNTRY ALBUM:
Sam Hunt, “Montevallo”
Little Big Town, “Painkiller”
Kacey Musgraves, “Pageant Material”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Zac Brown Band, “Jekyll + Hide”

NEXT IN LINE: Luke Bryan, “Kill the Lights”, Jason Aldean, “Old Boots New Dirt”, Garth Brooks, “Man Against Machine”, Ashley Monroe, “The Blade”

MUSIC VIDEO/FILM FIELD:

27 Soundtrack

SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA:
Common and John Legend, “Glory” (from Selma)
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” (from 50 Shades of Grey)
Lady Gaga, “Til It Happens to You” (from The Hunting Ground)
The Weeknd, “Earned It” (from 50 Shades of Grey)
Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”(from Furious 7)

NEXT IN LINE: Sam Smith, “The Writing’s on the Wall” (from Spectre), Jessie J, “Flashlight” (from Pitch Perfech 2), Coldplay, “Miracles” (from Unbroken), Pink, “Today’s the Day” (from Ellen), Empire Cast,”No Apologies” (from Empire)

28 Soundtrack Album

COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK ALBUM:
50 Shades of Grey
Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1
Into the Woods
Music from Love & Mercy
Pitch Perfect 2

NEXT IN LINE: Home, Southpaw, Furious 7, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1, Beyond the Lights

29 Score Album

SCORE SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUAL MEDIA:
Antman
Birdman
Jurassic World
Inside Out
Interstellar

NEXT IN LINE: Mad Max, Cinderella, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Fury

MUSIC VIDEO/FILM FIELD:

30 Music Video

MUSIC VIDEO:
Big Sean featuring Kanye West & John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Sia, “Elastic Heart”
Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”

31 Movie Film

MUSIC FILM:
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, “Cheek to Cheek”
Foo Fighters, “Sonic Highways”
Ed Sheeran, “Live at Wembley Stadium”
James Taylor, “There We Were: The Recording Of James Taylor’s “Before This World””
Neil Young, “The Monsanto Years”

NEXT IN LINE: Miley Cyrus, “Bangerz”, Nicki Minaj, “YMCMB & Beats By Dre Presents: The Pinkprint Movie”, Annie Lennox, “Nostalgia: An Evening With Annie Lennox”

Talk to me about your predictions by leaving a comment below or tweeting me: @nikowl

58th Grammy Awards Nominations Predictions: October 2015   Leave a comment

The Grammys’ eligibility period has already ended last September 30, which means no Frank Ocean, Kanye, and Adele for this year. But as we wait for the nomination announcement this December (though by now, expect Taylor Swift to dominate), let’s take a look at the potential top contenders in the Big 4 General categories with names ranging from Ed Sheeran to Sam Hunt and soundtracks from Selma to Furious Seven.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

While we’re not sure yet if the Grammys will easily reward Taylor Swift with an AOTY win #2 for 1989, chances are, it’s a lock for a nomination in this category already. Being the critical and commercial darling of the past eligibility period, there’s no doubt that the biggest story in music for the past year is Taylor’s domination and she’ll cap it with an AOTY nomination. Then there’s the breakout star The Weeknd (I know he’s been in the industry for a few years already), but the past year has been his biggest break churning out hits one after the other, so expect Beauty Behind the Madness to be in the conversation as well. Foo Fighters came close in 2012 sweeping all their nominations except for AOTY (losing to another juggernaut, Adele’s 21), so Sonic Highways might be their redemption bid. Despite getting some buzz the past few years, alternative genre still hasn’t followed up 2010 winner The Suburbs a representative here. This year, Sound & Color from Alabama Shakes seems like their strongest bid. Mark Ronson can clearly sweep the Big 3 category too, especially if the Academy falls in love with him so much that a Uptown Special nod is still possible.

Then there’s also comebacking artist D’Angelo, whose album Black Messiah, his first in 14 years, was critically well received, and if there’s one thing the Grammys love, it’s none other than a good ole comeback. While her breakout year five years ago didn’t translate to much Grammys, it’s never too late for Florence + the Machine to nab a nod in the top category with their latest release How Big Blue, How Blue, How Beautiful. Then what is an AOTY lineup without a country representative? Kacey Musgraves’ Pageant Material fits the bill even if there’s a group of country acts that can easily replace it too. Another act who enjoyed a big year is Kendrick Lamar which makes me feel confident about his nomination for To Pimp A Butterfly. Lastly, since this is the Grammys we’re talking about (basically the same group who nominated two versions of “How Do I Live” against each other in the same year), then maybe we can see a Ryan Adams version of 1989 competing against Taylor Swift’s version. That would certainly provide more coverage to their group (and it’s not as if Adams isn’t deserving to be nominated).

Current predictions:
“1989” (Taylor Swift)
“Beauty Behind the Madness” (The Weeknd)
“Black Messiah” (D’Angelo)
“Sonic Highways” (Foo Fighters)
“To Pimp a Butterfly” (Kendrick Lamar)

RECORD OF THE YEAR

We’re certain a Taylor Swift is gonna figure in this race, so it depends on what her team will submit, but it seems like “Blank Space” is the logical choice — it’s a huge hit that was well received by the critics. This category loves the Hot 100 #1 finishers, so aside from Swift, expect one to two more contenders from top charting hits like “Uptown Funk” from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, “See You Again” from Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, and The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” to figure in this race. Oh, and Justin Bieber’s sorta comeback can be rewarded as well with a nod for “Where Are U Now” (instead of his other hitWhat Do U Mean) simply because of the Skrillex and Diplo recognition.

The other collaboration that I see the Academy going for is the triumvirate of Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney with “FourFiveSeconds” especially with the name involved (and the love it received when they performed it at the Grammys earlier this year). Ed Sheeran is a General Field favorite figuring in the last three years with SOTY, BNA, and AOTY nominations respectively. He has yet to be nominated for Record of the Year, but “Thinking Out Loud” seems like a good bet to break in here. Two other crossover hits of the previous year were Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance“, so they’re certainly in the race too. For the random last spot, I’m leaning to Major Lazer’s “Lean On” as it was a huge hit as well as the FIFA World Cup theme song for 2017. Plus I won’t be surprised if an electronic song finally breaks it to the main categories.

Current predictions:
“Blank Space” (Taylor Swift)
“Can’t Feel My Face” (The Weeknd)
“Lean On” (Major Lazer)
“Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)
“Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars)

SONG OF THE YEAR

Song of the Year has a great correlation with Record of the Year so chances are, the same songs vying for that category can also figure out here such as Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space“, Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud“, and Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars collaboration “Uptown Funk.” There isn’t any assurance of which The Weeknd song will be submitted here, but anything between “Can’t Feel My Face”, “Earned It“, or my predicted “The Hills” can be nominated here. For now, let’s call it as The Weeknd spot. If the Academy considers Kendrick Lamar to be a big factor in this race, then we won’t be surprised if “Alright” finds its way into the top five.

Oscar winning classics have been a mainstay in this category too, so this bodes well for current winner “Glory” from John Legend and Common. Working for it is that it’s more than just an Oscar winning song, as it’s been a statement and a powerful one at that. Working against it is that lately, Grammy isn’t much open to Oscar winning tunes in the General Field just like Adele’s “Skyfall” or the gigantic hit “Let It Go” from last year. That said, there’s the other hit soundtrack in contention: “See You Againwhich is also one of the year’s biggest hits. From classics such as Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” to fluffs such as Katy Perry’s “Roar“, Song of the Year has also been the home of inspirational anthems. This year, Rachel Platten can be in the conversation for her uplifting “The Fight Song” even if the record was more low-key than those that got nominated here. As for that country representative, Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” is viable but we expect “Girl Fight” from Little Big Town to be the bigger contender.

Current predictions:
“Blank Space” (Taylor Swift)
“Girl Crush” (Little Big Town)
“The Hills” (The Weeknd)
“See You Again” (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth)
“Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)

Image courtesy of: billboard.com

BEST NEW ARTIST

Always the trickiest to predict, with all the eligibility rules changing every now and then, to say that Best New Artist predictions is a daunting task can be considered as an understatement. With his great chart performance the past year, one can count Fetty Wap a contender this year, regardless of how we personally feel about him. This is the same group that nominated Iggy Azalea last year, so there are literally no excuses.  Sure girl groups are rare, but the chances of them getting nominated is rarer (Haim got in last year but we have to go back to 1998 when Dixie Chicks got in). Maybe Fifth Harmony can join the elusive list? The country contingent is really strong in this particular category. In the last nine years, we have Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, The Band Perry, Hunter Hayes, Kacey Musgraves, and Brandy Clark. The name to be remembered this year is Sam Hunt. Leon Bridges meanwhile reminds me of that new artist whom the Academy really just roots for to happen. It also doesn’t hurt that his song “Coming Home” achieved some sort of a viral status. Swedish singer Tove Lo is also picking up traction, so don’t be surprised if you hear her name come nomination morning.

It’s also hard to go against the Academy’s liking for up and coming young female singer/songwriters especially in a year as wide as this one so expect Tori Kelly figuring in this race. English musician James Bay can also get in just like the other English James — Blake that is — in 2013. Then there’s also that new artist who gets in for that one huge hit they have, which bodes well for Walk the Moon‘s chances. However, it can also be a case of “A Thousand Miles” or “Call Me Maybe” picking up ROTY and/or SOTY nods but the artist is nowhere to found in the BNA category. Stitches is peaking at the right time, so it will help Shawn Mendes‘ chances even though he has to overcome the aversion of this category to young stars (well unless you’re as big as Justin Bieber circa 2010). Lastly, there’s always a reserved slot for that artist who has already been nominated earlier but surprisingly wasn’t eligible for this category because of the Academy’s weird rules. This caused Ed Sheeran’s nominated two years ago, and this year’s recipient is likely last year’s ROTY & SOTY nominee Meghan Trainor or Take Me to Church singer Hozier. 

Current predictions:
Leon Bridges
Fetty Wap
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor

Talk to me about it on Twitter: @nikowl