Exploring The GRAMMYs' R&B Field Nominees

Go inside the nominations in the R&B Field categories for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards
  • Photo: Greetsia Tent/WireImage.com
    Chris Brown
  • Photo: Matthew Simmons/WireImage.com
    Eric Benét
  • Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images
    R. Kelly
  • Photo: John Shearer/WireImage.com
    Raphael Saadiq
  • Photo: Jordan Strauss/WireImage.com
    The Roots' Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter
  • Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.com
    Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Photo: Jeff Fusco/Getty Images
    Marsha Ambrosius
  • Photo: Jason Squires/WireImage.com
  • Photo: John Parra/WireImage.com
    Betty Wright
  • Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty Images
    El DeBarge
  • Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage.com
    Kelly Price and Stokley
  • Photo: C Flanigan/Getty Images
    Cee Lo Green
  • Photo: Isaac Brekken/WireImage.com
    Charlie Wilson
  • Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com
    Melanie Fiona
January 23, 2012 -- 5:02 pm PST

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

You've seen the list of nominees, now take a closer look at the artists nominated in the R&B Field for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

A compelling mix of industry veterans such as El DeBarge and Charlie Wilson, along with some of R&B's youngest talent, including Chris Brown and Melanie Fiona, emerged as contenders in the field for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Cee Lo Green and the Roots are the only nominees who have a chance of taking home awards in back-to-back years, a testament to the field's fresh, evolving pool of talent.

Best R&B Performance

Almost all nominees in this category are either past GRAMMY winners or nominees, with the exception of Stokley, who garners his first nomination for his pairing with Kelly Price on the emotionally charged "Not My Daddy." Charlie Wilson's "You Are" and Ledisi's "Pieces Of Me" champion the love of a mate and of yourself, respectively, while six-time GRAMMY nominee Marsha Ambrosius' "Far Away" deals with the aftermath of the suicide of a friend. A Best New Artist nominee in 2006, Corinne Bailey Rae turns Bob Marley's classic "Is This Love" into a slow jam with her sultry remake.

Best Traditional R&B Performance

While male artists dominate the Best Traditional R&B Performance category, Betty Wright, who was nominated in this category for the 53rd GRAMMY Awards last year for "Go [Live]," scored a nomination for "Surrender," her collaboration with the Roots. The Philadelphia-based band won Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance last year for "Hang On In There," their collaboration with John Legend. Cee Lo Green and Melanie Fiona deliver the category's most upbeat selection with "Fool For You." Feelings of loss dominate the remaining nominations in the category as multiple GRAMMY winner Raphael Saadiq laments a lost love and betrayal on "Good Man" and R. Kelly begs for the return of his lover on the hopeful "Radio Message." Eric Benét rounds out the category with "Sometimes I Cry," a sad look at a failed relationship.

Best R&B Song

The realization of the power of emotion is a defining theme in the songs in this category, which celebrates songwriters. Each of the nominated songs was co-written by the performer. Ambrosius' "Far Away," written by Ambrosius with Larrance Dopson, Lamar Edwards, Sterling Simms, and Justin Smith, deals with the deep pain of losing a friend. Green and Fiona's "Fool For You," written by the duo with Jack Splash, tackles the overwhelming ecstasy of being in love. The strength required to take a stand against an abusive relationship is displayed on Price and Stokley's "Not My Daddy," written by Price; while the joy inherent in realizing your own potency is the basis of Ledisi's "Pieces Of Me," written by Ledisi with Charles Harmon and Claude Kelly. And the bliss of utopian love drives Wilson's "You Are," written by Wilson with Dennis Bettis, Carl M. Days Jr., Wirlie Morris, and Mahin Wilson.

Best R&B Album

A year following John Legend and the Roots' GRAMMY win for Best R&B Album for Wake Up!, this year an individual artist will be taking home the prize. Chris Brown's F.A.M.E. marked a triumphant return to music for the talented entertainer. El DeBarge's Second Chance comes on the heels of his nomination at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards last year for Best R&B Song for the album's title track. No stranger to R&B (he earned his first GRAMMY in the field in 1997), R. Kelly's Love Letter collection pays tribute to his love of classic R&B/soul. Ledisi's Pieces Of Me and Price's Kelly, albums that document the highs and lows of life and love, round out the category.

Who will take home the awards in the R&B Field categories? Tune in to the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 12, taking place at Staples Center in Los Angeles and airing live on CBS from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

(Note: The videos embedded reflect official videos available through official artist and record label Web channels.)

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