Who Are The Song Of The Year Nominees? | 60th GRAMMY Awards
There's a little something for everyone among this year's 60th GRAMMY Awards Song Of The Year category nominees, including an infectious Latin remix ("Despacito"), straight hip-hop (Jay-Z's "4:44"), two pop smashes (Julia Michaels' "Issues" and Bruno Mars' "That's What I Like"), and a hip-hop collaboration with an inspirational message ("1-800-273-8255").
Take a closer look at this year's Song Of The Year nominees and the songwriters who made these unforgettable tracks possible:
"Despacito," Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber
Ramón Ayala, Justin Bieber, Jason "Poo Bear" Boyd, Erika Ender, Luis Fonsi & Marty James Garton, songwriters
Fresh off its Latin GRAMMY success, "Despacito" is up for three GRAMMY Awards this year including Song Of The Year for the remixed version of the track. Written by Ramón Ayala, Bieber, Jason "Poo Bear" Boyd, Erika Ender, Fonsi, and Marty James Garton, the Latin crossover hit made it big on the charts and in the hearts of millions of fans. But it turns out one of the biggest hits of the summer was written in an afternoon.
"I woke up one morning with this despacito in my head, and it was pretty much that chorus melody and … that's all I had," Fonsi told E! News. "Then we were at the studio in my house with Erika Ender … and that's where I said … 'It's a feel-good song and let's just mess around with the word despacito.' That was where we started, and that afternoon we finished the song."
From here, Daddy Yankee added his unforgettable rap verse to the track, and when Bieber heard the track in Colombia and saw fan reactions, he just had to get in on the action. The "Sorry" singer took the time to learn the correct Spanish pronunciations and added his spin on what is now a ubiquitous Latin pop hit.
"It says a lot about where Latin music is nowadays and where our culture is," Fonsi said. "We're breaking barriers down. I think that's the biggest win out of all of this."
Shawn Carter & Dion Wilson, songwriters
The song, which touches on infidelity, the way he has treated women in the past and the birth of his twin children, per Billboard, "throws all pride out the window and uses the nearly three-minute confessional to apologize for his wrongdoing, addressing Beyoncé's miscarriage and his absence."
Jay-Z doesn't shy away from the personal on this album, and "4:44" is arguably the centerpiece. In fact, for Hov, the song is the pinnacle moment of his entire album.
"'4:44' is … the crux of the album, just right in the middle of the album. And I woke up, literally, at 4:44 in the morning … to write this song," Jay-Z told iHeartRadio. "It's the title track because it's such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I've ever written."
"Issues," Julia Michaels
Benny Blanco, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Julia Michaels & Justin Drew Tranter, songwriters
Michaels has worked as a songwriter for other artists, including Selena Gomez, Bieber, Fifth Harmony, Gwen Stefani, and many others. But "Issues," written with collaborators Benny Blanco, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, and Justin Drew Tranter, marks her first foray as a performer.
The impetus behind her move from behind-the-scenes to the front of the stage (and now first-time GRAMMY nominee) came because this song — which Michaels wrote about a fight she had with a boyfriend — felt too intimate for somebody else to sing.
"When I had written it, someone else was going to sing it, and I just thought, 'This feels so weird. This is my life,'" Michaels told GRAMMY.com. "I've never had something so personal want to be sung before by somebody else. And I just thought, 'I can't. I can't do that. I can't give this song to somebody.'"
"1-800-273-8255," Logic Featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid
Alessia Caracciolo, Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, Arjun Ivatury & Khalid Robinson, songwriters
Each songwriter behind this inspirational and life-saving track — Logic, Alessia Cara, Khalid, and Arjun Ivatury — are first-time nominees for "1-800-273-8255." (The song's video is also up for Best Music Video.)
Titled after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number, this track sheds light on mental health by creating an emotional dialog between a suicidal caller and a crisis worker who helps the caller find a glimmer of hope by song's end.
Logic decided to write a song that deals with this difficult subject because of the feedback he got from fans — he was frequently told on tour that his music had saved his fans' lives. He wasn't trying to save anybody's life, but he wondered what would happen if he purposely set out to do so. Enter "1-800 …"
"Who really wants to write a song about suicide," Logic said about the impactful song with a hopeful message. "But I was like f*** it, I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna make this sh** an anthem."
"That's What I Like," Bruno Mars
Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus & Jonathan Yip, songwriters
No stranger to the Song Of The Year category, "That's What I Like" — from his Album Of The Year-nominated 24K Magic — marks Mars' fourth career nod in the category. He was previously nominated for the tracks "F*** You" (2010), "Grenade" (2011) and "Locked Out Of Heaven" (2013).
Composed with songwriters Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus, and Jonathan Yip, Mars' sultry "That's What I Like" is about living the high life with his lady — a condo in Manhattan, lobster tail for dinner, Cadillacs, strawberry champagne on ice, the works.
Combining hip-hop, soul and smooth R&B that goes down just like that perfectly chilled champagne, Rolling Stone said this hit song "brings the silky vibes of 12 Play-era R. Kelly into the boom of modern trap."
Mars has stated that tracks like "That's What I Like" are all about his penchant for delivering feel-good vibes for his fans. "We're creating this positive vibe and everyone's dancing and it feels like we're all in love," Mars told PBS. "I'm creating my America. I'm creating what I want to feel every day."
The 60th GRAMMY Awards will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 28, 2018, airing live on CBS from 7:30–11 p.m. ET/4:30–8 p.m. PT.