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Giveon's Debut Album 'Give Or Take' Is A Promise To Never Give Up On Love
Giveon performs at the 2022 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

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Giveon's Debut Album 'Give Or Take' Is A Promise To Never Give Up On Love

Giveon — the Justin Bieber collaborator with the distinct baritone — contemplates love and happiness, with a little help from Mom, on his debut album, 'Give or Take.'

GRAMMYs/Jun 27, 2022 - 01:16 pm

Giveon Dezmann Evans’ mesmeric baritone vocals are a rare jewel in R&B music, where his distinctive voice flutters from a uniquely low register to even deeper. In 2022,  the 27-year-old crooner hit the GRAMMY stage alongside Canadian singing sensations Justin Bieber and Daniel Caesar to perform "Peaches." Onstage, the GRAMMY-nominated tropical summer singalong was reimagined into an instrumental rendition that showcased each performer’s piercing vocals.

"That was the first time we ever performed together," Giveon says over Zoom, squeezing his hand rings firmly. "For it to be at the GRAMMYs was insane, because I think of how organic the song came together. You can't help but feel the gravity of the song once you're on the GRAMMY stage performing it live."

Giveon’s honeyed vibrato left the live audience awestruck, and that moment can be replayed through his long delayed 15-track album, Give or Take. "The album concept is just me having a conversation with my mom," Giveon explains. "I am finally expressing to her everything I've been through for the last 18 to 24 months. As if I'm reading right out of a diary, I told her that I want to have a conversation. I just wanted it to be her and myself."

Giveon's diaristic debut album narratively reckons with the extremities of fame, the curse of being a relentless lover, and how to see through heartbreak even in its darkest days. The opening single, "Let Me Go" starts the discussion between Giveon and his mother, who is mystified by her son’s new reality. "Make You Mine" features a monologue where Giveon ponders being an unyielding believer in love, and Giveon later stretches to alto notes on the confessional "Lost Me" as his mom reminds her son of how imperfect love truly is.

Ahead of his North American tour, which kicks off on Aug. 16, Giveon spoke with GRAMMY.com about building a tea bar in his LA home to bring coziness to his Give or Take album-making process, spending time with his mother, and the harrowing stories of heartbreak that are foolproof ingredients for an relatable R&B record.

You have been on everyone’s radar and playlist since "Heartbreak Anniversary" was released in 2020. How have you felt since breaking out during the pandemic in 2020?

It took some time getting used to for sure. While everything was happening, the world was completely locked down in 2020. It wasn't what it is like now, so I had a sense of discomfort because I didn't know how my music would live outside of the pandemic and how I would be received. I had no idea how it would all work out. Now, I've gotten the hang of it. I feel like I've arrived.

How did the song, "Peaches" come together between you, Justin Bieber, and Daniel Caesar? I feel like it’s such a perfect mixture of all of your identities as different artists with the carefree sound of it and there's also the emotionally-charged impact of summer, love and nostalgia in the single.

The world was already there. I think Justin already had the song and at this point, we already knew each other. He just called me and asked me to be a part of this song. When I first listened to "Peaches" I knew this was going to be such a fun song. I didn't step completely out of myself and it felt refreshing to hop on something a little more rhythmic.

Have you felt like a physical shift within yourself with Give or Take, having to take on more performances and in-person moments with your fans?

Yes, for sure. I think that is one of my favorite parts — the songs and the stories. You get the stories, but you don't necessarily get me and my full personality and everything that is about me. So one thing I love about performing is I kind of get to show people me … versus just listening to me through their earphones or speakers.

Maturity has been a natural guiding force all of your life. When it comes to puberty, your voice maturing allows you to have the sound it has now. Through your sounds evolving over each body of work in the past three years to this new release. How have you re-experienced maturity for the creation of Give or Take?

I definitely feel like I've grown so much as an artist and as a person. I've matured in a sense that I keep a focus on what's really important. I think coming into this, I was so fresh and new to just the world of it all. I kind of was attaching value to certain things that actually shouldn't have much value. Now I've matured and grown and know what really matters and what really makes something a success.

What was your mom’s reaction to Give or Take when she first heard it?

We've always had a sense of transparency and I can always be vulnerable and honest with her. We're just in our natural state at this point. I think with the songs and this project, we can't help but grow a little closer, even if you don't think you could get any closer because the love is unconditional. 

Your mom is mentioned early in the album in the very first song, what did her wise perspective add to your debut album?

I think she was just happy to see her son be able to create and express himself and it be received so well. I don't even think she's grasped the idea of me being an artist yet. Every time she calls me, she'll say how she can't believe it. It's been like two years. [Chuckles] At some point, you're going to have to believe it.

Have you ever asked your mom where the name Giveon comes from?

 I asked her when I wanted to go to college and put my name on a resume to get a job. I feel like it looks so weird on a resume and I might not get a call back because they don't even know how to pronounce my name. 

What made you choose this name? And she just said: "I just knew that one day you'll be a giving person."

What was your morning routine like in preparation for Give or Take?

While I was making my two earlier EPs [2020's Take Time and 2021's When It's All Said And Done…Take Time], I was in the house all the time. I already had those stories because that was my first body of work, that was my introduction to the world. But with Give or Take, it's [written] within the last 18 to 24 months so I had to make sure I was actually going out and living life.

I wanted to make sure my routines consisted of just me actually giving myself a chance to live life, to be able to create these stories because I create the music in real time. Any minor inconvenience. I'm writing a story about it.

I will use my notes app or I'll do a voice note. When I was actually recording, I loved to have candles lit in my home studio and some tea with honey in it. I have a tea bar set up at my house now and I'm making it an actual thing. I don't have a name for it yet. I might call it Gibbys… 

I love how lights have taken a meaningful form in your music videos and album covers. From the EP, Take Time to the music video of your latest single, "Lie Again" where downtown L.A. was lit with larger-than-life spotlights, really setting the stage for your takeover now. What about the hyper-visibility you have now has made you keenly aware of the impact of your art? 

There is more pressure to perform, but I already have enough of that on myself. Especially, when it comes to exploring a new sound, I have to slowly and gradually introduce it to anyone who is a supporter or a fan of my music, or they'll be like: What is this?

I have to think of it as a visual artist. There are so many different sounds and so many different worlds. When a painter only paints in colors black and white. Eventually, they're going to start putting more color on a canvas but the way the consumer views this is unfamiliar. Why are you adding pink? Why are you adding this? 

So you kind of have to slowly add new elements the colors. To avoid a sense of shock.

You are obviously no stranger to heartbreak and all of its darkest moments. Do you think your natural impulse as an artist is to write music when you are feeling more intense emotions?

The moment I have an inconvenience or a bad day, that's when I need to go tell my phone about it or tell my microphone about it, and it makes me feel better.

Music is therapeutic and writing is therapeutic. Oftentimes, when I'm feeling down or when I need therapy, I create music. When I'm happy, I'm just outside being happy.I'm just running around feeling good. 

Do moments of joy stimulate the same type of creative rhythm? 

I'm so big on enjoying when I feel good and just taking it for what it's worth and milking it. My happiness really stems from being with family, friends, laughter, and good food.

In "Make you mine," there is a monologue where you discuss taking time to listen. What time have you taken for yourself this past year? 

 I've been having a lot more days of going outside. Self care days. I'm big on skin. I love to get massages. Mani pedis. I love to get a haircut. I love to shop. I want to always make sure I keep up with the simple things.

What is the significance of the dates July 16th and December 11th, which are both song titles in Give or Take? 

I wanted it to feel like there was a timeline being told throughout the project, but without it being overbearing. Just two dates. In December I was on tour and that song is specifically about a moment on tour. 

It kind of just creates the timeline for the rest of the album especially with what is about to happen on July 16th. 

You take on different sounds sonically on Give or Take, and there are so many string instrumentals. How did you map out sounds for this debut album? 

I needed this album to sound elevated, bigger, and more cinematic than my last work. With my last body of work, I wanted my voice to be the star because it was my introduction; the introduction of my voice to the world to everyone. So, I wanted everything minimal on the last project as far as production and all that. 

For Give or Take, I wanted it to feel just like a movie as if you were in my life for 42 minutes.

R&B music thrives when heartbreak is confronted and seen through. What about the muse of heartbreak has been so eye-opening for your musical and personal healing? 

Music about heartbreak offers so much comfort for anyone — and heartbreak doesn't discriminate.You can get your heart broken at 5 or you could get your heart broken at 80. I think that it is just an infinite muse at this point. 

There are so many stories that can be told around heartbreak and it could be romantic or it could be your heart broken from an experience. I am just trying to tell the infinite amount of experiences of heartbreak that can occur, 15 songs at a time.

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Meet This Year’s Song Of The Year Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show

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Meet This Year’s Song Of The Year Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show

Here's everyone who's up for the vaunted GRAMMY for Song Of The Year at the 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show: Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys, Olivia Rodrigo, H.E.R., Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, SZA, Silk Sonic, Lil Nas X, Justin Bieber and Brandi Carlile

GRAMMYs/Nov 23, 2021 - 10:54 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.

What were the songs that defined your 2021, a year where the world tentatively felt its way back to normalcy? Were they Olivia Rodrigo's bedroom-floor ruminations? Billie Eilish's hushed revelations? Lil Nas X's colorful odes to LGBTQ+ romance? Silk Sonic's gilded funk-soul throwbacks?

Well, all those artists are up for Song Of The Year at the 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show — as are Ed Sheeran ("Bad Habits"), Alicia Keys feat. Brandi Carlile ("A Beautiful Noise"), Olivia Rodrigo ("drivers license"), H.E.R. ("Fight for You"), Billie Eilish ("Happier Than Ever"), Doja Cat feat. SZA ("Kiss Me More"), Silk Sonic ("Leave The Door Open"), Lil Nas X ("MONTERO [Call Me By Your Name]"), Justin Bieber feat. Daniel Caesar and Giveon ("Peaches") and Brandi Carlile ("Right On Time").

While the 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show will offer all the esteemed categories viewers have come to expect, there's truly no category like Song Of The Year. It's a testament to artists who have mastered how to pack personality, punch and poetry into just a few minutes.

These are artists who best leveraged their outlets to shepherd us through uncertain times, find joy in the small things and weave the sounds, rhythms and melodies that drive our days and nights. Ahead of the ceremony on April 3, 2022, here are the nominees for Song Of The Year.

Nominations for the 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show are officially here! See the full list of nominations.\

 

"Bad Habits" — Ed Sheeran

Don't let the title of "Bad Habits" — or Sheeran's Dracula-fanged visage in its video — tell you otherwise. The four-time GRAMMY winner's slinky lead single from his new album, =, is a guilt-free pleasure.

And the tune's sheer pop patina belies a surprising fact: Sheeran didn't initially hear "Bad Habits" as the single.

"My single was scheduled to come out in June, and I was like, 'I don't know if the world needs a depressing sad, slow acoustic song when it's all opening up,'" he told James Corden on The Late Late Show in 2021. "So, I was in the studio and we created this song and it's just fun, I think."

That's an understatement when it comes to its firepower — "Bad Habits" is a sly, hooky delight.

Read More: Fall 2021 Album Guide: From Taylor Swift to ENHYPEN to NBA Youngboy, 10 Upcoming Releases To Listen To As The Seasons Change

"A Beautiful Noise" — Alicia Keys feat. Brandi Carlile

There's no lever of democracy like the power to vote — so why do roughly half of those eligible in America choose not to do so?

The answer is complicated and manifold, but that didn't stop Keys and Carlile — plus a consortium of other powerful female songwriters, from Brandy Clark to Lori McKenna to Linda Perry — from doing something about it ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Together, they concocted the impactful "A Beautiful Noise," a gentle-yet-firm song of urging to get regular folks to use their oft-neglected democratic powers.

Sure, one person's vote might be a drop in the ocean, Keys acknowledges in the song. But together, the electorate is like an unstoppable deluge.

"When you're all alone, it's a quiet breeze," she sings. "But when you band together, it's a choir of thunder and rain."

Take A Look Back: For The Record: Inside Alicia Keys' Masterpiece Songs in A Minor At 20

"drivers license" — Olivia Rodrigo

The lovelorn ballad that leveled the internet proved to only be the beginning for Rodrigo. Her 2021 album Sour uses it as a diving-board into a multitude of styles.

Still, it arguably remains her signature song. Why? Because it's possible no other songwriter has captured this very specific locus on the map of heartache.

"drivers license" is about spending your entire relationship ideating the point where you can drive to your beau's pad — only for him to move on right at the moment of truth.

The gut punch? "Guess you didn't mean what you wrote in that song about me," Rodrigo sings in the chorus. "'Cause you said forever, now I drive alone past your street."

"Fight For You" — H.E.R.

If the global racial reckoning in 2020 was like the cauterization of a wound, H.E.R.'s "Fight for You" is like those first spasms of pain — good, necessary, authentic pain.

From Gabi Wilson's first, wordless aria to the spectral chorale that carries it to the end, the song feels like a Pandora's box of psychological nightmares, finally exorcised into the ether.

"Their guns don't play fair/All we got is a prayer," she sings over a rhythm-and-blues backing that wouldn't sound out of place on a Marvin Gaye or Donny Hathaway record. "It was all in their plans/Wash the blood from your hands."

Musically, it shows Silk Sonic weren't the only vanguards for horn-fueled soul in 2021: H.E.R.'s contribution to Judas and the Black Messiah feels like a throwback in the most vivid, meaningful way.

Take A Look Back: H.E.R. Wins Song Of The Year For "I Can't Breathe" | 2021 GRAMMY Awards Show

"Happier Than Ever" — Billie Eilish

Let's set lyrics aside for a second and talk about pure sound: is there another pop phenom doing more with less than Eilish?

The title track to 2021's Happier Than Ever is little more than guitar, voice and some subtle, spacey ambience from her brother and co-conspirator FINNEAS.

As for the words themselves, they're economical and beautiful: "When I'm away from you/ I'm happier than ever," she croons in the chorus. "Wish I could explain it better/ I wish it wasn't true."

But then, the production tilts from dreamland into realism, and the words shift with the vibe: the object of her heartache is careening drunk while behind the wheel. Eilish, too, swerves from philosophical to flat-out vindictive. And as the song explodes into punishingly noisy and bitcrushed dimensions worthy of a Microphones track, it all crescendos with five words: "Just f<em></em>*ing leave me alone!"

Read More: Billie Eilish's Road To Happier Than Ever: How The Superstar Continues To Break Pop's Status Quo

"Kiss Me More" — Doja Cat feat. SZA

Put yourself in this character's shoes. A fetching spaceman — played by Grey's Anatomy actor Alex Landi — winds up in a far-flung galaxy populated by (you guessed it) Doja Cat and SZA.

Just as things get steamy, it's revealed that he's unconscious in a tube of liquid, his consciousness plugged into a video-game netherworld. In other words, he's a plaything.

Such is the girl-power message of the duo's "Kiss Me More," where sex and love and flirtation are on their own terms. But the sentiment wouldn't mean much without a high-thread-count pop song to match, and every second of the hooky track delivers.

"I feel like me and SZA are similar in the way that we both grew up with spiritual backgrounds, but she was perfect for this song," Doja — who grew up in Alice Coltrane's ashram — told Capital XTRA Breakfast at the time. "She was in my heart when I wrote this."

Read More: From Meme Queen To Popstar: Revisiting Doja Cat's Inevitable Breakout

"Leave the Door Open" — Silk Sonic

Take it from a writer who combs through hundreds of hyperbolic pitches about the Next Big Thing per day — it's nice to finally get some truth in advertising.

"We're making music to make women feel good and make people dance, and that's it," Anderson .Paak, who is one half of the R&B/soul duo Silk Sonic with Bruno Mars, recently told Rolling Stone. "It's not gonna make people sad."

This frank evaluation of what Silk Sonic does may not seem particularly deep at first blush, but this simplicity is a feature, not a bug.

On a musical level, Mars and .Paak are making far more than feel-good party music. Even YouTube music dissector Rick Beato was blown away by the sophisticated, jazzy chords they brought back to the airwaves decades after AOR classics like Steely Dan's Aja.

Silk Sonic finally dropped their debut full-length, An Evening With Silk Sonic, after months of living with the funky, soulful, glittery highlight "Leave the Door Open."

Even with all these other tunes to enjoy, it remains the gravitational center of the release — and a reminder that Beato-friendly music is hurtling back into the zeitgeist.

Read More: The 64th GRAMMY Awards: Everything You Need To Know About The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show & Nominations

"MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" — Lil Nas X

On 2019’s smash "Old Town Road," we met Lil Nas X: a TikTok star with a boy-next-door grin even as he participated in a subversive, age-old cultural fusion of Black and white culture.

But in 2021, with the hat and spurs and Billy Ray Cyrus in the rearview, we met Montero.

That's the real name of the born Montero Lamar Hill, and the name of his long-awaited debut album. And on the titular single "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)," his Blackness and gayness — and musical intrepidity — are on fearless display.

"I feel like we've come to a time in music where everything is nice and nothing is really cutting-edge or starting conversations any more," Lil Nas X recently told Time about its delightfully racy video. "I want to be part of a conversation that actually applies to my situation and so many people that I know."

"MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" hasn't just started a conversation — it set the course for the rest of this American original's career.

Take A Look Back: Lil Nas X, BTS & Billy Ray Cyrus Enter The "Old Town Road" Multiverse At The 2020 GRAMMYs

"Peaches" — Justin Bieber feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon

Fifty-five years after the Beach Boys wished that females the nation round could be "California Girls," Bieber sang in no uncertain terms about what the various regions of the USA could do for him.

"I got my peaches out in Georgia/ I get my weed from California," he sings in "Peaches," his single from 2021's Justice. "I took my chick up to the North/ I get my light right from the source."

It's pretty obvious that Biebs is paying tribute to his wife, Hailey — and his collaborators also shout out long-lasting, long-suffering relationships.

While Daniel Caesar proclaims "There's no time, I wanna make more time / And give you my whole life," Giveon croons, "Your kisses taste the sweetest with mine/ And I'll be right here with you 'til the end of time."

For anyone ready and willing to settle down with one's main squeeze, that's a sentiment one can vibe with.

Take A Look Back: The GRAMMY Oral History: Justin Bieber's Purpose

"Right On Time" — Brandi Carlile

As a member of the Highwomen amid a contemporary wave of confessional, thoughtful Americana singer/songwriters (see also: Margo Price, Jason Isbell, Julien Baker, et al) Carlile knows her way around a lyric that acts as a knife-twist.

"Right on Time," the crestfallen lead-off track from her 2021 album In These Silent Days, is full of them. "I never held my breath for quite this long," she sings near the end. "And I don't take it back / I did what I had to do."

To hear Carlile tell it, she wrote "Right on Time" to attempt to best her last signature song, "The  Joke" (which also received a SOTY nod in 2018). "It was a once-in-a-lifetime song," she told Spin in 2021. "I wanted to hit that mark of drama again." And when this tune came spilling from her pen?

"[I] felt like the pressure was off in terms of getting my heart to come out of my mouth," she recalled. And she need not worry whether she measured up to her last zenith: "Right on Time" is a classy, timeless triumph.

2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Nominations List

Behind The Board: Sevn Thomas Discusses His Roots As A Producer & Why "A Good Mix Is Make-Or-Break"

Sevn Thomas

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Behind The Board: Sevn Thomas Discusses His Roots As A Producer & Why "A Good Mix Is Make-Or-Break"

Canadian producer Sevn Thomas, who is one of the producers and composers on Giveon's 2020 debut EP, 'Take Time,' discusses his background as a beatmaker

GRAMMYs/Feb 23, 2021 - 04:12 am

Ever a cross-disciplinary thinker, the celebrated producer Sevn Thomas likens his craft to filmmaking. "My philosophy for making music is like making movies," he says. 

But this has less to do with a sense of cinema than the number of chefs in the kitchen: "There’s so many people that are on the credits after the movie," he continues. "These are all important components to what makes a movie."

This week’s episode of Behind The Board is all about synergy and collaboration in all its forms. Thomas, who's influenced by highly cooperative genres like reggae and dancehall, is one of a number of producers and composers on Giveon's 2020 debut EP, Take Time, which is nominated for Best R&B Album at the 2021 GRAMMYs Awards show

Watch Sevn Thomas explain his process as a producer and beatmaker below.

Behind The Board: Producer-Engineer David Greenbaum On His Musical Beginnings & Capturing Happy Accidents

Meet This Year's Record Of The Year Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show

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Meet This Year's Record Of The Year Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show

Take a look at the tracks that are up for Record Of The Year by ABBA, Jon Batiste, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Brandi Carlile, Doja Cat & SZA, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, and Silk Sonic

GRAMMYs/Nov 23, 2021 - 10:53 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.

Right off the bat, 2021 showed promise for another year of massive hits with unforgettable hooks thanks to Olivia Rodrigo's record-breaking smash "driver's license." 

Less than two months later, Anderson .Paak and Record Of The Year veteran Bruno Mars kicked off the Silk Sonicera with the instantly memorable jam "Leave the Door Open." In the months that followed, Billie Eilish struck again with her sophomore album, Doja Cat and SZA teamed up for one hell of an earworm, and both Lil Nas X and ABBA shook the world (for very different reasons).

Suffice to say, the race for Record Of The Year — which is awarded to the artist and the producer(s), recording engineer(s) and/or mixer(s) and mastering engineer(s) — is going to be a tight one at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards show. 

With ABBA, Jon Batiste, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Brandi Carlile, Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, Doja Cat and SZA, Olivia Rodrigo, Silk Sonic, and Justin Bieber, Daniel Caesar and Giveon delivering equally impactful tunes, it's really anyone's to win. 

Before tuning into the show on April 3, 2022, get fully acquainted with this year's ROTY nominees below.

Nominations for the 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show are officially here! See the full list of nominations.

ABBA — "I Still Have Faith in You"

ABBA sent the world into a frenzy upon their much-anticipated return in September, when they released the first two songs from Voyage, their first album in 40 years. 

"I Still Have Faith In You," a heartfelt ode to their friendships that have endured throughout their time apart, is a song that the group wrote in 2018 along with its partner single, "Don't Shut Me Down." 

"New spirit has arrived/ The joy and the sorrow/ We have a story and it survived," the Swedish superstars sing on the chorus over a majestic rhythm, building to a series of dazzling harmonies for the song's epic finish. It's a musical odyssey that is oh-so-classic ABBA.

Believe it or not, this nomination marks ABBA's first GRAMMY nomination in their career. ("Dancing Queen," however, was inducted into the Recording Academy's Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015.) 

Considering that the group's Agnetha Fältskog has suggested that this album (and forthcoming tour) might be their last, there will likely be many fans glued to their TV to find out if ABBA get to call themselves GRAMMY winners.

Jon Batiste — "FREEDOM"

In an era where more and more artists are advocating acceptance, New Orleans musician Jon Batiste brought a big-band flair to an important message. 

Backed by jazzy instrumentation and a snappy beat, "FREEDOM" is an anthem for simply feeling good and feeling free. "Free to live (How I wanna live)/ I'm gon' get (What I'm gonna get)/ 'Cause it's my freedom," Batiste proclaims in the chorus.

The three-time GRAMMY nominee encapsulated the culture and energy of his hometown in three uplifting minutes, his soulful and impassioned voice bringing listeners on a joyful journey of celebrating themselves.

Ultimately, "FREEDOM" is lyrically and melodically what today's sociopolitical climate needs.

Read More: Jon Batiste Talks New Album We Are, His Brain-Breaking Itinerary & Achieving "Freedom" From Genre

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga — "I Get a Kick Out Of You"

Who would've ever thought that a song first sung in 1934 would be nominated for a GRAMMY — let alone the coveted Record of the Year — in 2021? 

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett made that possible with their take on the classic "I Get a Kick Out of You," the lead single from Love for Sale, the duo's second collaborative album of jazz standards by composer Cole Porter. 

Their adoring, decade-long friendship is apparent on the lively track, which builds from a mellow piano beginning into full jazz and swing orchestration by the song's end.

Between the two of them, Gaga and Bennett have 30 GRAMMYs (12 and 18, respectively). Yet, taking home Record of the Year would mark a special moment for the pair, as Gaga has never won the award and Bennett's last ROTY win was in 1963. 

What's more, Love for Sale is said to be Bennett's last album, as the 95-year-old was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016, just before he and Gaga began recording the LP.

Take A Look Back: For The Record: The Liberating Joy Of Lady Gaga's Born This Way At 10

Justin Bieber Featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon — "Peaches"

Just one year after Justin Bieber released his R&B-tinged LP, Changes, he unveiled what would become his biggest R&B hit to date, "Peaches." 

The suave track, which features R&B stars Daniel Caesar and Giveon, incorporates swirling production and a wavy melody, creating a perfect soundtrack for a windows-down cruise. 

The fifth single from Bieber's sixth studio album, Justice, "Peaches" has been highly praised as an album standout. The stats prove it: With nearly 1 billion streams on Spotify alone, the song gave Bieber his eighth Hot 100 No. 1 (and his only No. 1 from Justice). 

But the achievement that may be Bieber's proudest is notching a No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, a feat he couldn't quite manage with last year's GRAMMY-nominated "Yummy." 

It also marks his first Record of the Year nomination as the lead artist (he received a nod for his role on Luis Fonsiand Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" in 2017), making "Peaches" a true career highlight for the Biebs.

Read More: The 64th GRAMMY Awards: Everything You Need To Know About The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show & Nominations

Brandi Carlile — "Right On Time"

Another timely tune, Brandi Carlile's "Right On Time" is a commentary on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting on conflict and regret. 

The piano-laced ballad put Carlile's powerful vocals at the forefront, particularly on the dynamic chorus that's reminiscent of the singer's previous ROTY nominee, 2017's "The Joke." Perhaps that's because Carlile herself has said she believes in "Right On Time" as much as she did "The Joke," something she has been waiting to feel for years.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the singer/songwriter expounded on the song's meaning: "There's something really human about the obstacles that we've put in front of ourselves, and then deciding to just somehow explode through it and say, maybe I didn't come out of this right, maybe I didn't handle this the right way, maybe it wasn't right, but something had to happen — so it was right on time."

GRAMMY Flashback: Backstage At The 63rd GRAMMYs: Brandi Carlile Praises The "Artistic Threads That Chain Us All Together" Ahead Of Music’s Biggest Night

Doja Cat feat. SZA — "Kiss Me More"

If the hook of "Kiss Me More" sounds familiar, try listening to Olivia Newton-John's 1981 hit "Physical." 

Doja Cat and SZA's bouncy collab brilliantly interpolates the single, but swelling production and a punchy beat make "Kiss Me More" anything but a cheap ripoff. The lead single from Doja Cat's highly acclaimed third album Planet Her, the track spotlights the star's prowess as both a singer and a rapper, bringing in SZA for a flawless match-up of female power.

The song's rolling melody made it an instant radio hit (and, in turn, inescapable), earning Doja Cat her second No. 1 at pop radio and SZA her first. 

It reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it became the longest-running all-female top 10 hit in the chart's history, surpassing Brandy and Monica's GRAMMY-winning 1998 duet "The Boy Is Mine." 

Read More: From Meme Queen To Popstar: Revisiting Doja Cat's Inevitable Breakout

Billie Eilish — "Happier Than Ever"

After two back-to-back Record of the Year wins, Billie Eilish strikes again with "Happier Than Ever." 

The five-minute track is essentially two songs in one: The first half focuses on Eilish's softer register as she begins to tear into everything that was wrong in a past relationship ("When I'm away from you/ I'm happier than ever," she declares in the chorus); the second part elevates into a gritty guitar-driven, cathartic tell-off as Eilish demands at the song's finish, "Just f–kin leave me alone."

Eilish calls "Happier Than Ever," the titular track from her sophomore album, "probably the most therapeutic song I've ever written or recorded, like ever, ever, ever, 'cause I just screamed my lungs out," according to Genius.

But like much of Eilish's catalog, she presents that therapy session with a captivating melodic ride that keeps listeners hanging on with every word.

It's an amalgamation of everything Eilish has brought to the table in her whirlwind career thus far: haunting vocals, raw lyrics and a mosh-pit-worthy finale.

Read More: Billie Eilish's Road To Happier Than Ever: How The Superstar Continues To Break Pop's Status Quo

Lil Nas X — "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)"

It's hard to imagine that Lil Nas X could make a song more ubiquitous than 2019's "Old Town Road," but he put a solid player in the ring with "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)." 

The track became the talk of the industry upon the release of its controversial video, which featured raunchy scenes with the devil himself (yes, you read that right).

But beyond the shock factor, "MONTERO" played an important role in Lil Nas X's career, as it was his first official single to address his sexuality since he publicly came out as gay in 2019 ("C7osure [You Like]" from his debut EP, 7,touched on it, but was not released as a single). 

It also ushered in a new sound for the rapper, leaning more into hip-hop and trap and eliminating any country influence he brought with his first project.

The pivot worked: "MONTERO" debuted atop the Hot 100, earning Lil Nas X his second No. 1. The song has more than 1 billion streams on Spotify — and though that's only half of the stream count for "Old Town Road," "MONTERO" ultimately proved that Lil Nas was no one-hit wonder.

Take A Look Back: Lil Nas X, BTS & Billy Ray Cyrus Enter The "Old Town Road" Multiverse At The 2020 GRAMMYs

"driver's license" — Olivia Rodrigo

Whether you're 16 or 65, Olivia Rodrigo tugged at your heartstrings this year with her anthemic power ballad of teenage heartbreak, "driver's license." 

The piano-driven smash first gained traction when Rodrigo teased a snippet on social media last year, resulting in an almost unbelievable debut for the then 17-year-old upon its January release. 

The song broke the Spotify record for the most single-day streams for a non-holiday song, subsequently debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for eight consecutive weeks — earning Rodrigo the title of the youngest artist to debut atop the chart as well as the longest-running number-one debut.

Starting off with an apropos car engine start (a sound that seamlessly flows into the song's plinking piano), "driver's license" allows Rodrigo's tender voice to shine before she lets out howls of heartbreak on the chorus. 

The narrative becomes a full-on sing-along at the song's climax, a bridge you can't help but belt out. 

With so many layers and infectious hooks, the single became such a phenomenon that it even got its own sketch on "Saturday Night Live." Therein, one character summed it up perfectly: "If Olivia taught us anything, it's that pain can be creatively generative."

"Leave the Door Open" — Silk Sonic

A week after Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak announced that they were joining forces for a superduo back in February, the pair — together, named Silk Sonic — released their first single, "Leave the Door Open." 

And it did not disappoint: The sensual track calls back to the '70s funk and soul music that inspires both singers (after all, Bootsy Collins did bestow them their name), with twinkling instrumentation and a finger-snapping beat that immediately gets you tapping your toes. 

The tune showcases each of their vocal specialties in masterful form, also incorporating their knack for lyrics as smooth as they are cheeky (for one, "And if you're hungry, girl, I got filets"). 

While Mars is no stranger to No. 1s, "Leave the Door Open" gave Anderson his first No. 1 on the Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and Rhythmic Airplay. 

If the song takes home Record of the Year, it'll be the four-time GRAMMY winner's first ROTY win, and the 11-time winning Mars' third.

2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Nominations List

Explore The Visual Worlds Of This Year's Best Music Video Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs
2022 GRAMMYs

Graphic: The Recording Academy

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Explore The Visual Worlds Of This Year's Best Music Video Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs

After another year of awe-inspiring and conversation-starting visuals, AC/DC, Jon Batiste, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber (with Daniel Caesar and Giveon), Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, and Olivia Rodrigo compete for the night's music video honor

GRAMMYs/Nov 26, 2021 - 10:33 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.

These days, a song's visual component is practically as important as the song itself. The artists nominated for Best Music Video at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards show understand that well, and now one of them will have a GRAMMY to prove it.

This year's lineup spans pop, hip-hop, rock, and even a jazz classic: AC/DC's 'Shot In The Dark', Jon Batiste's 'Freedom', Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga's 'I Get A Kick Out Of You', Justin Bieber's 'Peaches' (featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon), Billie Eilish's 'Happier Than Ever', Lil Nas X's 'Montero (Call Me By Your Name)' and Olivia Rodrigo's 'good 4 u."

As we wait for the 64th GRAMMY Awards — airing on CBS on April 3, 2022 — to find out who will take home Best Music Video (which is awarded to the artist, video director, and video producer), revisit this year's nominees below.

"SHOT IN THE DARK" — AC/DC

David Mallet, video director; Dione Orrom, video producer

https://youtu.be/54LEywabkl4

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When AC/DC needed a music video that matched the muscle of their 2020 comeback single, "Shot In The Dark," the legendary hard rock band turned to longtime friend and collaborator David Mallet.

Mallet is a rock lifer, having directed music videos and concert films for rock royalty like Queen's Freddie Mercury, Def Leppard and, of course, AC/DC. His relationship with the band dates back to his music video for the reissued "You Shook Me All Night Long" in 1986.

For "Shot In The Dark," which appears on AC/DC's 17th album (and first since 2014), Power Up, Mallet captures the band in full flight on an arresting black and red stage. Flashes of singer Brian Johnson, lead guitarist Angus Young, bassist Cliff Williams, and rhythm guitarist Stevie Young illuminated with bolts of light — "electric sparks," as they might say — trade off with the epic performance.

The video is reminiscent of their performance-based "You Shook Me All Night Long" clip, and watched side-by-side, it's hard to believe 35 years have passed.

Read More: Take A Deep Dive Into This Year's Best Pop Vocal Album Nominations | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show

"FREEDOM" — Jon Batiste

Alan Ferguson, video director; Alex P. Willson, video producer

Following the March 2021 release of his eighth artist album, WE ARE, singer and band leader Jon Batiste clearly sensed the world needed some cheering up.

In June, Batiste unveiled the music video for "FREEDOM," a track from WE ARE, the singer's eighth album that's full of bright horns, body-moving percussion and the singer's distinctive vocal tones. The video for the uplifting song brings that vivacity to life.

Shot over two days in the Seventh Ward of New Orleans — Batiste's hometown — "FREEDOM" brings in all the joy and spirit of the neighborhood (and its marching bands) with a high-energy street party.

Director Alan Ferguson is a virtuoso behind the camera, as evidenced by his past music videos for Lizzo, Solange and Janelle Monáe. Ferguson's video for Batiste's soul-lifting anthem is all quick cuts and bursts of color. By the time the song hits the first "let me see you wobble" refrain, you'll want to do just that.

Read More: Who Has The Most GRAMMY Nominations This Year? The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show Nominees By The Number

"I Get a Kick Out Of You" — Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga

Jennifer Lebeau, video director; Danny Bennett, Bobby Campbell & Jennifer Lebeau, video producers

It's always an occasion when mutual admirers Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga get together in the studio, and the pair's 2021 version of Cole Porter's "I Get A Kick Out of You" carries even more gravitas.

The song appears on Bennett and Gaga's second collaborative album (and Album Of The Year nominee), Love for Sale. Featuring 10 covers of Porter's jazz standards, the project has been billed as Bennett's final album, capping one of the great American musical careers.

The heartwarming video for "I Get A Kick Out of You" sees Gaga and Bennett trading off verses as they record the track at New York City's Electric Lady Studios. It's both touching and emotional, as Gaga adoringly watches Bennett croon, at one point with tears in her eyes.

Industry veteran Jennifer Lebeau caught the mood in the lighthearted visual, as it mirrors the song's laidback feel and analogue warmth — perfectly capturing the affection between the cross-generational collaborators.

Read More: Meet This Year's Best New Artist Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show

"Peaches" — Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon

Collin Tilley, video director

"Peaches," featuring R&B favorites Daniel Caesar and Giveon, the fifth single from Justin Bieber's latest Album Of The Year nominee, Justice, has proven to be the LP's biggest hit. A purely feel-good jam, the song needed a music video with charm to match.

Bieber called on in-demand director Colin Tilley, who has since directed the singer's video for his Kid LAROI collab "STAY" and his emotionally raw "Ghost" clip. For "Peaches," Tilley shot Bieber, Caesar and Giveon cruising a neon-lit cityscape in a vintage car, taking turns riding on the hood and top of the vehicle to deliver their lines.

The vid flips between two other scenes that allow the singers to dance as they serenade, the first showing the song's title in massive letters lining a mirrored runway. Finally, the trio gather inside a dome with flashing colored lights, with Bieber sporting a fittingly peach-colored suit.

Read More: Meet This Year’s Song Of The Year Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show

"HAPPIER THAN EVER" — Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish, video director; Michelle An, Chelsea Dodson & David Moore, video producers

Billie Eilish's hugely anticipated second album, Happier Than Ever developed a slower, slinkier tone for her sophomore effort to delve deep into the anxieties and contradictions of life in the spotlight. Lead single "my future" and its follow-up "Therefore I Am" set that pensive mood, with the latter's music video directed by Eilish herself.

Eilish returned as director on the music video for title track "Happier Than Ever," which arrived in conjunction with the album's release in July. It mirrors the song's slow build to a cathartic pay-off, as Eilish escapes from a flooded house and lets it all out on the rainswept roof.

Compared to the intentionally lo-fi feel of the "Therefore I Am" visual, "Happier Than Ever" marked an ambitious step up, with Eilish using the shoot to confront her own fear of water.

Read More: Meet This Year's Record Of The Year Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show

"MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" — Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X & Tanu Muino, video directors; Frank Borin, Ivanna Borin, Marco De Molina & Saul Levitz, video producers

If Lil Nas X hadn't already made it clear that he's not afraid to push boundaries, his "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" did the trick. The controversial clip takes an untraditional approach to biblical and mythology-inspired scenes, including The Garden of Eden, a Roman colosseum, and heaven and hell.

Like the song itself, the "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" video serves as a representation of Lil Nas X's unabashed openness about his sexuality (the rapper came out as gay in 2019). He kisses a snake, dresses in Marie Antoinette-esque drag, and pole dances, before the video reaches its pinnacle shock-factor moment that sees the rapper giving the devil a lap dance — sporting thigh-high heeled leather boots, no less.

While it certainly caused a stir among conservative and religious groups upon its release, the "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" video is actually quite a thought-provoking combination of themes. Above all, it was an important bold statement for Lil Nas to make, with a Variety article even stating that the video "has changed everything for queer music artists."

Read More: Meet This Year's Album Of The Year Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show

"good 4 u" — Olivia Rodrigo

Petra Collins, video director; Christiana Divona, Marissa Ramirez & Tiffany Suh, video producers

After the runaway success of the heartbreak anthem "driver's license," Olivia Rodrigo quickly proved she wasn't going to be a one-hit wonder with "good 4 u" — both thanks to its scream-along chorus and its nostalgia-inducing video.

The noughties-channelling pop-punk smash about a scorned lover demanded an acid-dipped visual, and millennial expert Petra Collins perfectly executed that need. In the clip, Rodrigo plays a revenge seeking high school cheerleader — referencing characters from feminist horror movies like Jennifer's Body and Audition — as she raises hell across an unsuspecting high school.

At the song's bridge, Rodrigo (who has done her fair share of acting, most notably in the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: the Series) looks into the camera, hauntingly caressing it with her black leather gloves. Meanwhile, a messy-haired version of herself sets her ex-boyfriend's bedroom ablaze, giving a devilish grin before delivering the final "good for you" howl.

2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Nominations List