Soul Shines In R&B

(For a complete list of 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)

Soul stars shone brightly when nominations were revealed in the R&B Field for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards with many of my favorites representing.

Competition is stiff in the field, but a talented cross section of the best of the best in urban contemporary artistry is well represented among the nominees.

The big story in the Best R&B Performance category is the nomination domination by a soulful set of ladies, with female artists garnering four of the five nods. Ledisi, Marsha Ambrosius, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Kelly Price, who shares her nomination with Mint Condition frontman Stokley Williams, are going stiletto-to-stiletto against each other and veteran Charlie Wilson.

Uncle Charlie, as the former Gap Band lead singer is affectionately called by R&B fans, is enjoying a continued career renaissance with the track "You Are," which is also nominated for Best R&B Song. It's no surprise that Wilson is joined in this category once again by Ledisi ("Pieces Of Me"), Ambrosius ("Far Away"), and Price and Stokley ("Not My Daddy"), as well as Cee Lo Green for "Fool For You," his duet with Canadian songbird Melanie Fiona.

After winning the GRAMMY for Best Urban/Alternative Performance and bringing the house down at the 53rd GRAMMY Awards with his colorful performance of "Forget You" with Gwyneth Paltrow and a band of muppets, Green's "Fool For You" is also nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance. Joining him are newlywed and new dad Eric Benét, R. Kelly, Raphael Saadiq, and soul legend Betty Wright, who joined forces with the Roots to record and release her first album in a decade.

Speaking of albums, the Best R&B Album category has some impressive records vying for the award this year. Ledisi and Price go at it one last time, bringing their field nominations to three each, with nods for Pieces Of Me and Kelly, respectively. Joining the soul sisters are R. Kelly with his Love Letter, El DeBarge with Second Chance, and Chris Brown, who bounced back on the charts with F.A.M.E.

The winners in the R&B Field may be unknown for now, but one thing is for certain — soul music could be the big winner at the 54th GRAMMY Awards.

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