(For a complete list of 53rd GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)
Nominations for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards were announced tonight by The Recording Academy and reflected an eclectic mix of the best and brightest in music over the past year as determined by the voting members of The Academy. For the third year, nominations for the annual GRAMMY Awards were announced on primetime television as part of "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night" a one-hour special broadcast live on CBS from Club Nokia at L.A. Live.
Eminem topped the nominations with 10; Bruno Mars garnered seven; and Jay-Z, Lady Antebellum, and Lady Gaga each earned six nods. Jeff Beck, B.o.B, David Frost, Philip Lawrence, John Legend, Ari Levine, and the Roots received five each; and Alex Da Kid, the Black Keys, Drake, Cee Lo Green, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Dirk Sobotka, and Zac Brown each earned four nominations.
"This year's nominations are a true reflection of an exceptional and talented community of music makers that embody some of the highest levels of excellence and artistry in their respective fields," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "It is most gratifying to see the GRAMMY Awards process once again produce a broad cross section of diverse and impressive nominees across multiple genres. Coupled with the third year of our primetime nominations special, the road to Music's Biggest Night, the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in February, is off to an exciting start."
Following are the nominations in the four General Field categories:
Record Of The Year:
"Nothin' On You," B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars
"Love The Way You Lie," Eminem Featuring Rihanna
"F*** You," Cee Lo Green
"Empire State Of Mind," Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
"Need You Now," Lady Antebellum
Album Of The Year:
The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
Need You Now, Lady Antebellum
The Fame Monster, Lady Gaga
Teenage Dream, Katy Perry
Song Of The Year:
"Beg Steal Or Borrow," Ray LaMontagne, songwriter (Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs)
"F*** You," Cee Lo Green, Philip Lawrence & Bruno Mars, songwriters (Cee Lo Green)
"The House That Built Me," Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)
"Love The Way You Lie," Alexander Grant, Skylar Grey & Marshall Mathers, songwriters (Eminem Featuring Rihanna)
"Need You Now," Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum)
Best New Artist:
Florence & The Machine
Mumford & Sons
Following is a sampling of nominations from the GRAMMY Awards' other 29 Fields:
For Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals, the nominees are "Airplanes, Part II" by B.o.B, Eminem & Hayley Williams; "Imagine" by Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No. 1, Jeff Beck & Oumou Sangare; "If It Wasn't For Bad" by Elton John & Leon Russell; "Telephone" by Lady Gaga & Beyoncé; and "California Gurls" by Katy Perry & Snoop Dogg.
Nominees for Best Dance Recording are "Rocket" by Goldfrapp; "In For The Kill" by La Roux; "Dance In The Dark" by Lady Gaga; "Only Girl (In The World)" by Rihanna; and "Dancing On My Own" by Robyn.
For Best Rock Song, the nominees are "Angry World" by Neil Young, songwriter (Neil Young); "Little Lion Man" by Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford & Country Winston, songwriters (Mumford & Sons); "Radioactive" by Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill & Nathan Followill, songwriters (Kings Of Leon); "Resistance" by Matthew Bellamy, songwriter (Muse); and "Tighten Up" by Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney, songwriters (The Black Keys).
The nominees for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals are "Take My Time" by Chris Brown & Tank; "Love" by Chuck Brown, Jill Scott & Marcus Miller; "You've Got A Friend" by Ronald Isley & Aretha Franklin; "Shine" by John Legend & The Roots; and "Soldier Of Love" by Sade.
Nominations in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration are "Nothin' On You" by B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars; "Deuces" by Chris Brown, Tyga & Kevin McCall; "Love The Way You Lie" by Eminem & Rihanna; "Empire State Of Mind" by Jay-Z & Alicia Keys; and "Wake Up! Everybody" by John Legend, The Roots, Melanie Fiona & Common.
The Best Country Song nominees are "The Breath You Take" by Casey Beathard, Dean Dillon & Jessie Jo Dillon, songwriters (George Strait); "Free" by Zac Brown, songwriter (Zac Brown Band); "The House That Built Me" by Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin, songwriters (Miranda Lambert); "I'd Love To Be Your Last" by Rivers Rutherford, Annie Tate & Sam Tate, songwriters (Gretchen Wilson); "If I Die Young" by Kimberly Perry, songwriter (The Band Perry); "Need You Now" by Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum).
Nominees for Best Americana Album are The List by Rosanne Cash; Tin Can Trust by Los Lobos; Country Music by Willie Nelson; Band Of Joy by Robert Plant; and You Are Not Alone by Mavis Staples.
This year's Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical nominees are Rob Cavallo, Danger Mouse, Dr. Luke, RedOne, and the Smeezingtons (Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine).
This year's GRAMMY Awards process registered the highest number of submissions ever with nearly 20,000 entries. However, due to low entries in Category 60 — Best Regional Mexican Album — submissions in this category were sorted into other categories for consideration. As a result, the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will feature 108 out of 109 categories.
GRAMMY ballots for the final round of voting will be mailed on Dec. 15 to the voting members of The Recording Academy. They are due back to the accounting firm of Deloitte by Jan. 12, 2011, when they will be tabulated and the results kept secret until the GRAMMY telecast.
The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards are produced by John Cossette Productions and AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich and John Cossette are executive producers, and Louis J. Horvitz is director.
The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on "GRAMMY Sunday," Feb. 13, 2011, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and once again will be broadcast live in high-definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on CBS from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.
Get a first look at the nominees in the four General Field categories:
(For a complete list of 53rd GRAMMY Award nominees, click here.)
Minutes after learning he had received seven GRAMMY nominations, the boyish and beaming Bruno Mars stepped to a microphone positioned too high for his frame and attempted to sum up his feelings in a rarefied moment. His smile indicated he was emotionally overwhelmed and incapable — at first — of summarizing the road that brought him to the place where he stood.
A reporter began to ask, "Now that you have seven GRAMMY nominations…" and he seemingly did not hear the question.
"Could you repeat that?" he asked.
Once the reporter rattled off the tally for a second time, the grin on Mars' face told everyone he was experiencing an ecstatic moment, keenly aware that he was now in new esteemed company.
This was one of the pleasures of witnessing the youth movement reflected by the nominees for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards, some of which were announced during The Recording Academy's third annual live special, "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night." It's a collection of nominations that arguably celebrate young people making music for young people. Seeing first-time nominees such as Mars, B.o.B (who garnered five nominations) and producer Alex Da Kid (four nominations) address the media in dizzying moments of their respective careers felt special.
In contrast, Cee Lo Green and Monica, gracious yet not jaded from previous experiences at the awards podium, reacted palpably different in greeting the media. The three rookies basked in honest reactions, unaware of how to assimilate emotion into a sound bite. That's how you spell charming.
The dominating force this year is Eminem, leading the way with 10 nominations. No complaints greet his place at the table. His peers can cheer his creative risk-taking; the industry can applaud his unique commercial power; and fans can celebrate his story and artistic instincts. Eminem stands a chance to make history, too, as he could become the first rapper to secure Record or Song Of The Year.
At 38, Eminem also may well represent a new veteran face. He is one of the biggest artists of the first decade of the 21st century, winning nine of his 11 total GRAMMY Awards since 2000. Other veteran acts — artists with enough credits to get them into various halls of fame — and other previous GRAMMY winners, including Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Paul McCartney, and Kanye West, among others, are spread across the 108 categories.
Youthful female pop royalty was also represented with the likes of Lady Gaga, who received six nominations, and Katy Perry, who scored four. Lady Antebellum, one of the fresh faces of country music featuring another female, Hillary Scott, received six nods.
But aside from age, this year's GRAMMY Fields celebrate music that is long on hybrids: rap and pop; dance music and rap; bluegrass and English rock; and modern music that tips its cap to vintage soul (John Legend), country (Jamey Johnson, Miranda Lambert) and '70s rock (the Black Keys, Jamey Johnson).
While the four General categories are ripe with these hybrids, Arcade Fire and Mumford & Sons, two wonderful indie rock success stories of 2010, represent the only rock bands up for awards in these categories. In another nod to a veteran, venerable guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck, a guitarist with a 40-plus-year career, received the most nominations of any rock artist with five.
The Best Americana Album category is a Mount Rushmore of musical figures — Rosanne Cash, Los Lobos, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, and Mavis Staples. Even more veterans are represented, with Neil Young picking up three nominations, and 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year honoree and eight-time GRAMMY winner Barbara Streisand making the cut for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
Peel the curtain back, though, and we start to see similarities between the new artist nominees and the legends — these acts are defining themselves by creating unique hybrids of rock, country, blues, and other musical forms.
"It's cyclical," GRAMMY-winning producer and Recording Academy Chair Emeritus Jimmy Jam said backstage after the announcements, indicating that commercial rock music is poised for a revival in the near future and that the artists who will lead the charge are already active.
The sounds heard onstage Wednesday night — especially from B.o.B and Mars — indicate a commercially viable blend of rap and pop is still in its infancy. That sound may have miles to go before it ends its journey.
Tune in to the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.
(Phil Gallo is editor-at-large at Soundspike.com. He has been reporting on the GRAMMY Awards for more than 25 years.)
(Photo information: Bruno Mars backstage at "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!" at Club Nokia on Dec. 1 | Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
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(T Bone Burnett's career and legacy as a musician, instrumentalist, artist, and producer will be celebrated at The Recording Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing event, Shaken, Rattled & Rolled, which will take place in Los Angeles on Feb. 9 as part of GRAMMY Week.)
"I produce by listening."
That's how studio man extraordinaire T Bone Burnett explained his approach to the art and craft of recording in a 2008 interview with MarketWatch.com. "I think a lot of producers feel a need to justify their presence in the studio, and I don't," he explained. "A producer is a proxy for the audience. I give [the artists] my full attention…and good feedback that they can trust."
Over the last few decades, the audience for authentically American sounds couldn't have wished for a better proxy than Burnett, and the feedback offered to the artists he's worked with has resulted in a body of work that's something close to a gold standard for artistic achievement and recording excellence.
In the last year alone, Burnett lent his distinctive talents to a collection of projects that might be a career's worth of highlights for anyone else. He picked up a music Oscar for original song with Ryan Bingham for "The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart)" from the film Crazy Heart starring Jeff Bridges at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in 2010. (Burnett was a writer and co-producer of the film's GRAMMY-nominated soundtrack.) He oversaw Willie Nelson's first foray into traditional country and bluegrass with the GRAMMY-nominated Country Music. He helped John Mellencamp create one of the deepest, rawest albums of the artist's career with No Better Than This. He produced a piano lover's fantasy-league dream album by helping Elton John and Leon Russell form The Union. And in between, Burnett had time to produce breathtaking albums for the likes of Jakob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses, and Robert Randolph. Burnett kicked off 2011 with Gregg Allman's incredible return to blues on Low Country Road. And his work on Crazy Heart and on Nelson's Country Music have earned the 10-time GRAMMY winner three more nominations for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards.
Burnett's career as a guitar player, songwriter, bandleader, and producer spans more than 40 years, and his production credits are broad and varied enough to include Spinal Tap, Tony Bennett and B.B. King. But there are some clear, unifying elements to the music he makes or helps others make. Above all, there's a passion and respect for American roots music, which can be traced back from Burnett's first big break in 1975 as a member of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue band and his work with his own lauded, though under-the-radar project, Alpha Band, right on through to his work as soundtrack producer for the Coen Brothers' film O Brother, Where Art Thou? (a work that helped relaunch the career of bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, earning him a Best Male Country Performance GRAMMY in 2001 for "O Death").
But Burnett doesn't simply work as an inspired archivist. One of his greatest abilities as a producer is to create music that celebrates the past while looking fully toward the future. Roots may be explored, but Burnett doesn't ever let them sound old. He has long embraced a quirky mix of extremely low-tech and cutting-edge high-tech approaches in the studio in order to get just the right vibe on a project. "I try to use the technology in a way that it's either absolutely transparent or it's absolutely apparent," he told Mix online magazine in 2006. "Any of the middle ground is distracting, I think."
Burnett's career has also been marked by a certain fearlessness. A guy who can coax career-capping studio performances out of such icons as Bennett, John, Roy Orbison, Nelson, and Allman is obviously no pushover. And in his role as an executive producer on film projects, Burnett has been gutsy as well, taking on the music of Johnny Cash in Walk The Line and deconstructing the music of the Beatles for Across The Universe. Burnett's distinctive history and sense of adventure led to especially stunning results in 2008 with Raising Sand, an album that teamed rock legend Robert Plant with country mega-talent Alison Krauss. That work was powerful enough to garner both Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year (for "Please Read The Letter") GRAMMYs.
If there's any aesthetic element that runs through Burnett's work, it might be in his willingness to walk on the darker side. Death, loss, heartbreak, and general spookiness seem to take the spotlight when he's running the soundboard and, whether recording mountain music or a full rock band, Burnett almost unfailingly creates an air of mystery in the performances and in the very essence of the sound. To Burnett, it would seem, the most compelling music is the music that can't be fully explained.
"There's so many beautiful musicians, and creative people in general, but what most of us get is squeezed through this tiny bottleneck of 'American Idol' and things like that," he told The Independent in 2010. "I think it's incumbent upon those of us who care about music that isn't in the mainstream to spread the word however we can. All the music I've loved the most was unfathomable to me when I first heard it."