Photo: Gregg DeGuire
GRAMMY Nominees In Their Own Words: Brandi Carlile, H.E.R., Shawn Mendes, Janelle Monaé & More
Most of us can barely begin to imagine the feeling of being nominated for a GRAMMY Award. Even artists who have dreamed big enough to visualize the moment likely feel something unexpected when it finally arrives. On the eve of Music's Biggest Night, let's eavesdrop on a few GRAMMY nominees' thoughts on being nominated for the 61st GRAMMY Awards, in their own words.
For top female nominee Brandi Carlile, timing is everything when it comes to her landmark GRAMMY year, which saw the singer/songwriter score six nods, including Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year.
“I know I wouldn’t have been ready for this in my early 30s," Carlile told The Gurardian recently. "I would have got stressed out, not slept, got sick, drunk too much. I would have gone wrong, you know? I know what it feels like to not have recognition. It doesn’t feel bad. But this feels a lot better.”
On the other side of the timing coin, first-time nominee Protoje felt his third album, Ancient Future, would be the one to land him a GRAMMY nod. While it wasn't to be, his fourth album, the aptly titled A Matter Of Time, earned a nomination for Best Reggae Album. The experience also earned the Jamaican artist a little extra wisdom.
"Winning a GRAMMY was definitely a goal when I started out. It's in the back of your mind always, you know, maybe one day I'll get that GRAMMY award, I'll be nominated. So I guess I thought about it but I was not obsessing on it," Protoje told us in his first-time nominee interview. "I didn't expect to get nominated on my fourth [album] because I thought the third was the sure thing. That's how it goes sometimes. It just works out that way. I was delighted when I heard that [A Matter of Time] was nominated. Things happen, and when it's your time. You don't have to worry about anything. Take your time and see what happens."
With talent and wisdom well beyond her years, breakout R&B phenom H.E.R.'s sees her five GRAMMY nominations, including Best New Artist, Album Of The Year and Best R&B Album, as an affirmation.
"It feels like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be," she told us in her recent first-time nominee interview. "It's so easy to question your art, even to question what you're doing, to question the path that you're on. But this is such confirmation for me; "you're exactly where you need to be, you're doing all the right things." It just feels amazing, it feels like I found my objective and I'm fulfilling it. I'm so blessed."
Being nominated for a GRAMMY is overwhelming enough, but performing on the show can introduce a whole new level of nerves. Chart-topping pop heartthrob Shawn Mendes, who boasts nominations for Best Pop Vocal Album and Song Of The Year, admitted he's more than a little apprehensive about stepping onstage at the GRAMMYs for the first time.
"I was thinking about, you know, being really nervous for the GRAMMYs and then trying to think about, more and more, about what it is that makes me nervous when I'm performing. And, to be completely honest, true and vulnerable with you guys, I realize that I care so much about what people think: whether it is whoever is sitting in the audience, or what people are thinking online or what people are going to write about the thing after that,” Mendes said, opening up in a car video filmed on his way to rehearsals.
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) January 28, 2019
Chloe x Halle are on a roll after their stellar Super Bowl opening performance made even Beyoncé proud last Sunday and hitting the GRAMMY Stage for the first time this Sunday. For the versatile sister-duo are, who are up for Best New Artist and Best Urban Contemporary Album, their nominations are the result of some heavy-duty goal visualization, yet still, it seems too good to be true.
"It's so surreal. This has always been like a big dream come true for us," Chloe Bailey of Chloe x Halle told us backstage during rehearsals for the GRAMMYs. I remember we would always put GRAMMYs on our vision boards every year, and I even had a fake GRAMMY posted on my ceiling."
Like many nominated artists, country starlet Maren Morris took to social media to share her excitement at being nominated a whopping five times this year. The ever-clever Morris even reference the lyric of the thrice-nominated collaboration with Zedd and Grey, "The Middle," complete with the obligatory ALL CAPS added for emphasis:
"WHY DON'T YOU JUST MEET ME AT THE GRAMMYS! 5 nominations?! I am so honored @RecordingAcad and so proud of all my GRAMMY NOMINATED FRIENDS."
— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) December 7, 2018
But the award for the most on-the-spot reaction has to go to R&B/pop heroine Janelle Monaé, who learned of her Album Of The Year nomination for Dirty Computer live on CBS during the big nominations reveal back on Dec. 7. Always a class act, Monaé exuded the perfect pairing of humility and pride in her reaction to the nomination.
"This album is so much bigger than me, it's not about me, it's about a community," Monaé said, live on the air. "Being a young, black, queer woman in America, there was something I had to say, a group of people I wanted to celebrate, and I’m happy to be representing them. I hope they feel seen, I hope they feel heard. I hope they feel loved. & I hope they feel celebrated."
"Being a young, black, queer woman in America, there was something I had to say .. a group of people I wanted to celebrate, and I’m happy to be representing them. I hope they feel seen, I hope they feel heard. I hope they feel loved. & I hope they feel celebrated" -@JanelleMonae pic.twitter.com/eXPZXyIgWe
— Norah O'Donnell (@NorahODonnell) December 7, 2018
Find out if your favorite artists, songwriters, producers, engineers and more will take home GRAMMY Gold by watching the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10 live on CBS.