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Get To Know The First-Ever Best Global Music Performance Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs

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Get To Know The First-Ever Best Global Music Performance Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs

This year's nominees in the brand-new category are natives of Africa and Asia. Check out the GRAMMY-nominated songs from Arooj Aftab, Angelique Kidjo, Burna Boy, Femi Kuti, Yo-Yo Ma, and WizKid & Tems

GRAMMYs/Nov 29, 2021 - 11:06 pm

Editor's Note: The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show, officially known as the 64th GRAMMY Awards, <a href="https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2022-grammys-awards-64th-new-air-show-date-location-las-vegas-april-3-announcement "https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2022-grammys-awards-64th-new-air-show-date-location-las-vegas-april-3-announcement"">has been rescheduled to Sunday, April 3, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The below article was updated on Tuesday, Jan. 18, to reflect the new show date and location.

Earlier this year, The Recording Academy announced the addition of two new categories for the 2022 GRAMMY Awards, including Best Global Music Performance. Part of the Global Music Field — which previously only included an album category — the honor will recognize a song by a global artist.

This year's nominees all hail from Africa and Asia, with four of the artists representing Nigeria (Burna Boy, Femi Kuti, Wizkid and Tems). Chinese-American cellist Yo-Yo Ma's collaboration with Benin's Angelique Kidjo marks a cross-continental nomination, and Arooj Aftab's "Mohabbat" helped her become Pakistan's first female GRAMMY nominee.

We'll find out who will be the very first Best Global Music Performance winner when the 64th GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on April 3, 2022. Until then, learn more about this year's nominees below.

"Mohabbat" — Arooj Aftab

In July, the beautifully haunting "Mohabbat" by Pakistan-born, Brooklyn-based singer and composer Arooj Aftab appeared on former President Barack Obama's 2021 summer playlist. The inclusion was a major acknowledgement for an artist with an incredible future.

Stretching over seven spellbinding minutes, "Mohabbat" is an interpretation of a ghazal, a form of South Asian poetry and music that was ever-present in her life growing up in Pakistan. Aftab's version, which appears on her celebrated 2021 album Vulture Prince, came out of a period of all-consuming grief.

The song's light instrumentation — provided by seasoned players like Jamey Haddad on percussion and Gyan Riley on guitar — ably supports Aftab's affecting voice, which first lit up the internet on her acoustic cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in 2007.

"Do Yourself" — Angelique Kidjo & Burna Boy

Beninese singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo and Nigerian singer/rapper Burna Boy are two artists united in a mission to bring the sounds of Africa to the world. Their cross-generational collaboration, "Do Yourself," from Kidjo's 2021 album, Mother Nature (which also received a nomination for Best Global Music Album), is a true meeting of minds.

Kidjo is a four-time GRAMMY winner, most recently for her 2019 album, Celia. She and Burna Boy — who celebrated his first win last year for his album Twice As Tall — come together on 'Do Yourself' over a breezy Afropop beat that suits both vocal styles.

Kidjo and Burna Boy trade off verses in their native languages (Fon and Yoruba, respectively), also singing some lines in English. “You for keep am real Africa/ They don't know how it feels to be Africa-na-na,” Burna Boy declares.

The sentiment is similar to the message he delivered in his acceptance speech last year: "This should be a lesson to every African out there: no matter where you are, no matter what you plan to do, you can achieve it."

"Pà Pá Pà" — Femi Kuti

Nigerian icon Femi Kuti is part of an incredible musical lineage that continues to this day. The son of legendary Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, Femi played in his father's band Egypt 80 before going on to his own illustrious career, releasing music across four decades.

"Pà Pá Pà" is a direct and rousing call to arms that sees Kuti appealing to his fellow countrymen and women to hold the ruling class in Nigeria to account. True to his Afrobeat roots, however, the message is delivered over rhythms you can dance to.

"Pà Pá Pà" is the opening song on Legacy+, Kuti's joint album alongside his equally prodigious son Made Kuti. Though Made wasn’t part of "Pà Pá Pà,” he still earned a GRAMMY nomination this year: Legacy+ is up for Best Global Music Album.

"Blewu" — Yo-Yo Ma & Angelique Kidjo

In the uncertain beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma launched his #SongsOfComfort series, recording videos of himself playing alongside musicians he admired, each performing in their own homes. "In these days of anxiety, I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort," he wrote in an Instagram post.

Ma approached one of his favorite performers, Beninese singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo, to record a version of late Togolese singer Bella Bellow's heart-wrenching "Blewu." Kidjo has performed the song around the world, including in 2018 in front of world leaders at Paris’ Arc De Triomphe to honor fallen African soldiers on Armistice Day. Kidjo's performance alongside Yo-Yo Ma is far more intimate, but no less powerful.

The singer (who is nominated twice in the inaugural Best Global Music Performance category) dedicated "Blewu" to "all the people out there who are making our life in confinement possible." As Ma added himself, "This is for those we have lost and for those who risk their lives so we don’t lose more."

"Essence" — Wizkid Featuring Tems

While Nigerian superstar Wizkid is no stranger to making summer anthems — you may remember him from Drake’s 2016 worldwide smash “One Dance” — he served up another global hit with "Essence." Featuring fellow Nigerian singer Tems, the song was an immediate standout on Wizkid's fourth studio album, Made In Lagos, which also earned the singer/rapper a nomination for Best Global Music Album this year.

A perfect meeting of Afropop and R&B, "Essence" sees Wizkid and Tems flirtatiously yearning for each other’s affection. ​​"You don't need no other body," Tems sings on the hook; "No one loves you like this/ No one wants you the same way," Wizkid follows on the bridge. 

Before it was even released as an official single, "Essence" caught the attention of Barack Obama, who included it on his list of favorite songs from 2020. The song enjoyed a new surge in 2021, including a remix featuring silky vocals from Justin Bieber, who called the original his "song of the summer."

2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Nominations List

Burna Boy Wins Best Global Music Album For 'Twice As Tall' | 2021 GRAMMY Awards Show

Burna Boy accepts his 2021 GRAMMY

Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Burna Boy Wins Best Global Music Album For 'Twice As Tall' | 2021 GRAMMY Awards Show

The Nigerian powerhouse Burna Boy takes home Best Global Music Album at the 2021 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony

GRAMMYs/Mar 15, 2021 - 12:28 am

Burna Boy won Best Global Music Album for Twice As Tall at the Premiere Ceremony of the 63rd GRAMMY Awards. This marks his first career GRAMMY win. They are the first winner of the recently renamed category, formerly known as Best World Music Album. Watch his heart-warming acceptance speech below, given in English and Yoruba.

His album bested fellow nominees AntibalasBebel Gilberto, Anoushka Shankar and Tinariwen

Later, Burna gave a fire performance to close out the Premiere Ceremony, featuring two Twice As Tall tracks—watch it here.

Stay tuned to GRAMMY.com for all things GRAMMY Awards (including the Premiere Ceremony livestream), and make sure to watch the 2021 GRAMMY Awards show, airing live on CBS and Paramount+ tonight, Sun., March 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.

Check out all the complete 2021 GRAMMY Awards show winners and nominees list here.

Watch Burna Boy Slay With Performance Of "Level Up," "Onyeka" & "Ye" At 2021 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony

Japanese Breakfast, Blackpink, Enhypen, Stray Kids, Mxmtoon & More | Listen To GRAMMY.com's AAPI Month 2022 Playlist
(Clockwise L-R): ENHYPEN, Karen O, Arooj Aftab, Japanese Breakfast, mxmtoon, Jhené Aiko

Source Photos (Clockwise L-R): The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images; Rick Kern/WireImage; Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella; Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella; FilmMagic/FilmMagic for Outside Lands; Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella

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Japanese Breakfast, Blackpink, Enhypen, Stray Kids, Mxmtoon & More | Listen To GRAMMY.com's AAPI Month 2022 Playlist

As we celebrate the contributions of AAPI artists throughout the month of May, GRAMMY.com presents a genre-spanning playlist of emerging and established artists you should know, including BTS, Jhené Aiko, B.I, TWICE, Arooj Aftab, and many more.

GRAMMYs/May 19, 2022 - 11:02 pm

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) musicians have created a plethora of transformative art, which is ripe for exploration. To help you do it, GRAMMY.com has put together a 30-song list with music from AAPI musicians including Luna Li, Wallice, Weston Estate, Kainalu and OHYUNG, along with other AAPI artists you should know like Deb Never, Lucy Liyou and Sunset Rollercoaster. You may even find your new favorite artist along the way.

This playlist spans genres and moods, and its primary goal is to expose you to fantastic new AAPI artists you might not find in less curated places, like your motionless Spotify algorithm or crooning through your car radio. You can think of this playlist as a first-rate tasting menu of what AAPI-made music has to offer — something to turn to when you’re looking for solidarity, inspiration or just some really good music.  

Listen to GRAMMY.com’s official 2022 AAPI Month playlist below and follow the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and PandoraPlaylist powered by GRAMMY U.

5 Emerging AAPI Artists You Need To Listen To: Luna Li, Wallice, OHYUNG & More

2021 In Review: 8 Trends That Defined Pop

Taylor Swift

Photo: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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2021 In Review: 8 Trends That Defined Pop

Pop's reach became even wider this year, with newcomers, superstars and global acts all delivering some of the year's biggest hits and memorable moments

GRAMMYs/Dec 30, 2021 - 10:06 pm

It seems there's never a dull moment in pop music. But in 2021, the genre's rising stars and longtime greats all came out swinging, always giving fans something to be excited about.

Taylor Swift and her unofficial protege, Olivia Rodrigo, made for two of the biggest stories of the year: Swift began releasing her rerecorded albums, and Rodrigo had the world listening after she dropped her global phenomenon "driver's license."

Pop expanded its palette this year, too, with K-pop experiencing its biggest year yet and Nigeria proving that its Afropop stars have some serious promise.

On top of all of that, fans finally received some of pop's most-anticipated albums in 2021, making for a year that was truly monumental and memorable. Take a look at eight of the genre's most prominent trends below.

Teenage Angst Took Over

From the moment 2021 began, there was no denying it was going to be the year of Olivia Rodrigo. With the runaway chart and streaming successes of her two biggest hits so far — the teenage heartbreak ballad "driver's license" and the angsty, Paramore-sampling "good 4 u," which both debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100 — the 18-year-old was at the helm of young stars who weren't afraid to get raw and real in 2021.

A sense of vulnerability was the through-line of pop's new wave this year, and it clearly resonated. In addition to Rodrigo's triumphs, Australian breakout The Kid LAROI landed a Top 10 hit with the gut-wrenching acoustic track "Without You" as well as a Hot 100 and pop radio No. 1 with the Justin Bieber-assisted bop "Stay." And if the honest lyrics of his hit singles aren't enough indication, just look at the title of its parent album: F--- Love.

Tate McRae, another 18-year-old, also hit a sweet spot with her peers with her anti-sympathetic breakup song, "you broke me first." The song has amassed more than one billion streams worldwide, also reaching No. 1 on pop radio.

Of course, Gen Z first got in their feelings thanks to Billie Eilish, and she continued to carry her torch in 2021 with the release of her second album, Happier Than Ever. Though the album's jazz-influenced, downtempo nature was a departure from the trap-led sound of her debut, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, it lyrically stayed right in line with the trenchant honesty that made her a star — and, seemingly, opened the floodgates for her teen successors.

"Taylor's Versions" Caused a Frenzy

Nearly two years after Taylor Swift announced that she'd be re-recording her first six albums in order to regain artistic and financial control, the first two albums arrived in 2021. And boy, did Swifties have a field day.

The country starlet turned pop superstar knew exactly what her loyal legion of followers would want, releasing remakes of fan favorites Fearless and Red this year. Upon the April release of Fearless (Taylor's Version), the album had the biggest opening day for an album on Spotify in 2021, garnering 50 million global streams on its first day and subsequently debuting atop the Billboard 200.

Yet, it was Red (Taylor's Version) that became a phenomenon, becoming the most-streamed album in a day from a female artist on Spotify with nearly 91 million global first-day streams (breaking the record she previously set with 2020's Folklore). The album's immediate draw owed partial thanks to a 10-minute version of her beloved power ballad "All Too Well," which took on a life of its own. Along with becoming a short film that Swift debuted in New York City and earning the singer her eighth No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, it also blew up the Twittersphere with scathing (yet amusing) tweets about the song's supposed subject, actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

Among Red (Taylor's Version)'s many other feats, the 10-minute, 13-second version of "All Too Well" also became the longest song to top the Hot 100. With four re-records still left to release, who knows what kind of records Swift will break next?

Black Women Took The Genre By Storm

While 2021 wasn't necessarily a breakout year for Doja Cat or Normani, it was the year that both stars came into their own — and, ultimately, reinvented the pop star ideal.

After teasing her pop sensibility with her 2020 smash "Say So," Doja Cat struck pop gold again with the SZA-featuring "Kiss Me More." The disco-tinged hit was just one of the many A-list collaborations on Doja's hailed album Planet Her, which has accumulated more than 3 billion streams since its June release and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

On the opposite end, Normani — who got her start in pop girl group Fifth Harmony and saw her first two solo hits (2018's "Love Lies" and 2019's "Dancing With a Stranger") take over pop radio — reminded listeners of her versatility in 2021. Following an empowered team-up with Megan Thee Stallion for the Birds of Prey soundtrack, Normani recruited Cardi B to help bring out her R&B side on the sexy slow jam "Wild Side," which earned the 25-year-old singer her first hit on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (in the top 5, no less).

Two artists who did have breakout years were Beyoncé protegee Chloë and German singer/songwriter Zoe Wees. Chloë, one half of R&B duo Chloe x Halle, released her debut solo single "Have Mercy" to critical acclaim, putting on showstopping performances of the song at the MTV Video Music Awards and the American Music Awards. Wees closed out the AMAs with a powerful rendition of her poignant song, "Girls Like Us," the follow-up to her viral hit "Control."

Artists Loudly Proclaimed Their Sexuality

As acceptance becomes more prominent within mainstream music, stars are latching on to the new era of being open about however they identify.

Though Lil Nas X came out as gay in 2019, his sonic proclamation came in controversial form with "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)." The video for the flamenco-dripped track — whose title references the 2017 gay romance film Call Me By Your Name — depicted biblical and Satanic scenes in racy fashion. Despite resulting in backlash from religious groups, the song and video's bold statement served as an impactful one for the LGBTQ+ community — as Lil Nas put it himself, pushing for "more acceptance, more open-mindedness amongst humanity as a whole."

Demi Lovato (who announced they are non-binary in May) featured a song about their sexual fluidity on their seventh album, Dancing With the Devil, released in April. The wavy "The Kind of Lover I Am" declares "Doesn't matter, you're a woman or a man/ That's the kind of lover I am" on its rolling chorus.

Bringing back one of pop's first sexual fluidity anthems, Fletcher interpolated Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" for her own single "Girls Girls Girls," which marked "the freedom and the celebration I've been craving my whole life," she said in a press release. One month later, she teamed up with Hayley Kiyoko (who has been dubbed "Lesbian Jesus" by her fans) for "Cherry," a flirty sapphic jam.

K-Pop's English Infusion Blew Up

Thanks to the likes of BTS and BLACKPINK — and now countless other groups — K-pop has made its way into the U.S. pop market in a major way in recent years. As it has continued to boom, more and more artists are releasing songs that are completely in English — and the genre is arguably bigger than ever.

Less than a year after BTS first dabbled in English-language singles with 2020's smash "Dynamite," they delivered the biggest hit of their career with the smooth sensation "Butter." The song debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for 10 non-consecutive weeks — a streak initially broken up by their third English-language hit, "Permission to Dance."

BLACKPINK saw two of its members go solo in 2021, Lisa and Rosé, who each issued English-language singles of their own. Lisa's "Money" and Rosé's "On The Ground" both landed on the Hot 100, respectively garnering more than 375 million and 255 million YouTube views alone.

Several other acts released notable English-language tracks, with SEVENTEEN and TWICE each putting out their first: "2 MINUS 1" features SEVENTEEN members Joshua and Vernon, and "The Feels" became TWICE's first top 20 hit on the Billboard Global 200, where it reached No. 12.

Read More: 5 K-Pop Songwriters & Producers Who Defined 2021: SUMIN, Teddy Park, ADORA, RM & SUGA

Pop Became More Global Than Ever Before

South Korea isn't the only far-flung country having a moment. In fact, Nigeria is arguably one of the most fruitful geographical founts of music — particularly thanks to the recent Afropop explosion.

Wizkid — who first saw global success with his Drake collaboration, "One Dance," in 2016 — earned his first Billboard Hot 100 hit as a lead artist with the R&B-tinged single "Essence." The song features fellow Nigerian singer Tems, making history as the first Nigerian song to break the Hot 100 top 10. The sultry track caught the attention of Justin Bieber, who hopped on a remix and declared it the "song of the summer."

Bieber also enlisted Nigerian star Burna Boy for his widely praised LP, Justice, one of the singer/rapper's many pop-driven appearances in 2021, including Sia, Jon Bellion and John Legend

Two other rising Nigerian acts, Joeboy and Fireboy DML, saw their Afropop takes resonate this year, too. Joeboy's "Alcohol" inspired a viral TikTok craze, and the success of Fireboy's "Peru" landed a remix with Ed Sheeran in December.

Elsewhere, Latin still proves to have a profound impact in the pop world. Puerto Rican newcomer Rauw Alejandro's irresistibly catchy "Todo De Ti" made its way to mainstream radio, as did Maluma's global hit "Hawái," the latter thanks to a remix with The Weeknd. And Pop queens Christina Aguilera and Selena Gomez also honored their Latin roots: Aguilera dropped two singles, "Pas Mis Muchachas" and "Somos Nada"; Gomez released her first Spanish-language project, Revelación.

In the streaming world, Bad Bunny — Spotify's most-streamed artist for the second year in a row — and BTS (No. 3 on Spotify's year-end tally) proved that Latin and K-pop are equal contenders to pop powerhouses like Taylor Swift and Bieber, who were No. 2 and 5, respectively.

Superstars Joined Forces

Sure, every year sees star-studded collaborations. But with artists having unprecedented downtime in 2020 and into 2021, some iconic pairings were born.

Ariana Grande and The Weeknd — no strangers to working together — scored their first Hot 100 No. 1 with a remix of The Weeknd's "Save Your Tears." Another Grande collaborator, Lizzo, teamed up with Cardi B for her latest single, "Rumors."

One of the most unexpected (and brilliant) partnerships came from Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, who joined forces for the '70s funk-inspired duo Silk Sonic. The pair dropped their silky debut single, "Leave the Door Open," just one week after announcing their joint project in February, and unveiled An Evening With Silk Sonic in November.

Veterans recruited some of pop's newer voices, too. Australian icon Kylie Minogue dueted with British electropop star Years & Years on "A Second to Midnight," a track from her reissue album, Disco: Guest List Edition. She also featured Dua Lipa on the album on a song titled "Real Groove."

Lipa co-starred with another legend, Elton John, on the chart-topping (and "Rocket Man"-sampling) hit "Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)." The single was part of John's jam-packed collaborative album, The Lockdown Sessions, which also featured Charlie Puth, Stevie Nicks and Stevie Wonder, among many others.

Long-Awaited Albums Arrived

Silk Sonic appeased those eagerly waiting for Bruno Mars to follow up his 2016 Album Of The Year-winning LP, 24K Magic, as the duo’s material featured plenty of signature Bruno power hooks and slinky melodies. But those still longing for a solo Bruno Mars record may have at least been satisfied by the other 2021 arrivals.

Six years in the making, Adele’s 30 finally landed in November — and, unsurprisingly, became the top-selling album of the year in just its first three days. The LP has now sold more than 1 million copies, and spawned the singer’s fifth Hot 100 No. 1 with the poignant lead single, “Easy on Me.” Beyond accolades, 30 sees Adele at her most vulnerable — as she's said herself, it centers around her divorce from entrepreneur Simon Konecki — which resulted in her most raw and powerful work yet.

Considering Ed Sheeran’s extensive touring schedule that had the singer/songwriter on the road until the end of August 2019, it was almost hard to believe it had been four years since his last album. Surely some Sheerios felt the agony, but it was worth the wait: =, Sheeran's fourth studio album, offered 14 new tracks that expand on the star's signature talents, from heartfelt falsetto to boot-stomping melodies.

In what felt like the day that may never come, Kanye West delivered his tenth album, Donda, in August. The project had seen multiple postponements since its originally scheduled release of July 2020, but perhaps that's because the final product has a whopping 27 songs. While the album leans more into West's hip-hop roots, its impressive roster of guest stars — from The Weeknd to Watch the Throne cohort JAY-Z — offered any kind of Kanye fan something to enjoy.

After such a whirlwind year, one big question stands out as we enter 2022: what's next?

2021 In Review: 8 Trends That Defined Latin Music

Watch The 2022 Nominees For Best Song Written For Visual Media Nominees At The 2023 GRAMMY Awards

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Watch The 2022 Nominees For Best Song Written For Visual Media Nominees At The 2023 GRAMMY Awards

Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Jessy Wilson and Angelique Kidjo, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, and Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of 'Encanto' compete for the 2022 Best Song Written for Visual Media.

GRAMMYs/Nov 18, 2022 - 04:29 pm

From dramatic biopic to heartwarming animation, the expansive arc of storytelling possible in modern cinema necessitates an equally impressive continuum of memorable music. The artists nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 2023 GRAMMY Awards demonstrate that far-reaching potential, and one song will soundtrack yet another memorable moment by taking home this year’s GRAMMY.

The songwriters and performers behind this year’s nominees demonstrate just how heart-rending this year in visual media has been: Beyoncé for "Be Alive" from King Richard, Taylor Swift for From Where the Crawdads Sing, Lady Gaga from Top Gun: Maverick, Jessy Wilson and Angélique Kidjo from The Woman King, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell writing for fictional boy band 4<em>Town for Turning Red, and Lin-Manuel Miranda writing for the cast of Encanto*.

As the 65th GRAMMY Awards near — airing on CBS on Feb. 5, 2023 — learn more about who is competing to take home Best Song Written for Visual Media by revisiting this year's nominees below.

View the complete list of 65th GRAMMY Award nominees across all 91 categories.

Beyoncé — "Be Alive" [From King Richard

Beyoncé & Darius Scott Dixson, songwriters

Beyoncé tapped deeply into the emotional core of King Richard, a biopic centered on Richard Williams’ quest to coach his daughters Serena and Venus toward tennis greatness. Undoubtedly, the story of a father helping push young Black women to achieve the unparalleled greatness within them — and the hard work, struggle, pain, and deep love that comes with reaching that peak — resonated with the pop star, resulting in a steely rhythm and muscly vocality that refuse to bend to immense pressure.

Writing with Darius Scott Dixson (who also records as Dixson and has produced and written for artists like Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, and Kirk Franklin), Beyoncé thrives in the determination, joy, and pride in Vens and Serena’s story — barrelling past the hurdles set in their path and exalting Black excellence.

Taylor Swift — "Carolina" [From Where the Crawdads Sing]

Taylor Swift, songwriter

Taylor Swift’s contribution to the soundtrack for southern murder mystery Where the Crawdads Sing draws from the pop star’s folk-indebted era — though the roots of that folk sink into murky swampwater.

Swift embodies Daisy Edgar-Jones’ protagonist, the pop star reaching her smokiest depths as the track builds through light banjo plucking, low-slung mandolin, and synth string beds, the pop star reaches her smokiest depths. The lyrics offer hints of trouble that never quite come into clarity — the talk of scars, sin, and ghosts buried in the sand or washed away in the sea. The National’s Aaron Dessner helped Swift fulfill her vision for Folklore and Evermore, and here his deft production helps float the chilled melody down the icy water.

Lady Gaga — "Hold My Hand" [From Top Gun: Maverick]

Bloodpop® & Stefani Germanotta, songwriters

Top Gun: Maverick returned eager fans to the epic action films of the ‘80s, and with "Hold My Hand" Lady Gaga did the same for arena rock power ballads. Buttressed by skyscraping synth bursts and thunderous percussion, Gaga’s grand vocals soar as majestically as any Tom Cruise-piloted jet.

In fact, the film’s star himself agrees that "Hold My Hand" hits inspirational heights: "Gaga came in with this song… [and] it became the heartbeat of the film," Cruise said in an interview with CinemaBlend. Co-written and co-produced by Bloodpop® (aka Michael Tucker, who also contributed to Gaga’s Joanne and Chromatica), the track is a testament to Gaga’s unflinching ear for pop bombast, her vocals matched at the song’s conclusion by a rippling guitar solo before everything fades into the sunset.

Jessy Wilson feat. Angelique Kidjo — "Keep Rising (The Woman King)" [From The Woman King

Angelique Kidjo, Jeremy Lutito & Jessy Wilson, songwriters

When Jessy Wilson first recorded the bulk of "Keep Rising," she didn’t know the song would close a film about a force of female warriors protecting the West African kingdom of Dahomey in the early 19th century. "When I wrote the song, I was talking to Black people … [but] I'm also talking to myself," she told NPR. "When will we be seen as enough? When will I be seen as enough?"

That passion and burn resonate in the booming percussion and circular piano riff, Wilson powering the song’s core with a regal fire. Angelique Kidjo provides the perfect counterpart to Wilson: the legendary vocalist-activist hails from Benin, the modern location of what was once Dahomey. The track lowers to a simmer before her undeniable voice pierces through, leading Wilson back to a full roar befitting the cinematic warriors.

4Town, Jordan Fisher, Finneas O’Connell, Josh Levi, Topher Ngo, Grayson Villanueva — "Nobody Like U" [From Turning Red]

Billie Eilish & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters

Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell were tasked with creating boy band material worthy of being idolized not only by the film’s characters, but by the audience of the Disney/Pixar film Turning Red. The resulting 4*Town lives up to that challenge, particularly the sugary, crushable "Nobody Like U" — the lyrical insistence of love and support equally suited to any teenager’s dream of love as to the friendships at the film’s core.

O’Connell himself voices one of the five animated pop stars, while actor/singer Jordan Fisher’s turn as the oh-so-sensitive Robaire provides this song’s chorus. While hopes for a full 4*Town record someday may need to sit on the shelf while Eilish and O’Connell continue their own respective star turns, "Nobody Like U" will prove eminently replayable in the meantime.

Carolina Gaitán - La Gaita, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero, Stephanie Beatriz & Encanto Cast — "We Don’t Talk About Bruno" [From Encanto]

Lin-Manuel Miranda, songwriter

The latest in a long line of beloved Disney animated musicals, Encanto has irrevocably been lodged in the ears of countless children and their parents — but songs like the salsa pop "We Don’t Talk About Bruno" are cleverly crafted and compelling enough for any listener. The track details the Madrigal black sheep, each family member sharing memories or rumors of an uncle who’s been missing for years after a dark, mysterious event. As each vocalist takes their turn, the track melts from subtle electronic murmur to pizzicato sparkle, the long story told in a winding musical river.

"Everyone sings the same chord progression with a totally different rhythm and a totally different cadence," Miranda says in a press release announcing the song’s release, a brilliant way for each of the Madrigals (and their voice actors) to get a moment to shine and reveal their character.

2023 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Complete Nominees List