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Inside The Song Of The Year Nominees | 2021 GRAMMY Awards

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Inside The Song Of The Year Nominees | 2021 GRAMMY Awards

Songs by Beyoncé, Roddy Ricch, Taylor Swift, Post Malone, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, H.E.R. and JP Saxe featuring Julia Michaels are up for this songwriter's award for the year's top tune

GRAMMYs/Nov 24, 2020 - 10:46 pm

From Domenico Modugno's win for "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)" at the inaugural GRAMMY Awards for 1958 to Billie Eilish's win for "Bad Guy" at the 62nd GRAMMYs earlier this year, the Song Of The Year category has remained one of the highest honor achievable for  songwriters for over six decades. Today, we celebrate a new crop of creators for their command of the melodies and lyrics and breakdown the exclusive list of eight songs that earned GRAMMY nominations in the Song Of The Year category.

To find out who will win Song Of The Year this year, tune into the 2021 GRAMMYs Sunday, March 14, on CBS.

"BLACK PARADE," Beyoncé

Queen Bey is back, and she's giving back. This year the larger-than-life cultural icon celebrated Juneteenth with power, pride and generosity, releasing the charity single "BLACK PARADE" to benefit her BeyGOOD's Black Business Impact Fund, administered by the NAACP, and posting an extensive directory of Black-owned businesses on her website. The song's staccato beat and cascading melodies explore the rich beauty and strength of Black culture with the divine, catchy command only Beyoncé can wield.

Read More: Beyoncé Celebrates Juneteenth With "BLACK PARADE" & Epic Black-Owned Business Directory

Her credited co-writers for "Black Parade" include Denisia Andrews, Stephen Bray, Brittany Coney, Derek James Dixie, Akil King, Kim "Kaydence" Krysiuk, Rickie "Caso" Tice, and her legendary husband Shawn Carter.

"The Box," Roddy Ricch 

Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial was everywhere this year, but mostly it could be found at the top of the charts. Compton rapper Roddy Ricch has gotten comfortable at the front of the pack, entering the Billboard 200 at No. 1 when the album dropped in December 2019,  and watching "The Box" take him to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for an months, even though it wasn't releases as a single initially, and even take off virally on TikTok. So when Ricch asks, "And I really wanna know where you at, at?," his answer is, seriously, everywhere.

"It’s an incredible feeling to be able to see a new artist dominate the charts and beat out some illustrious talent to claim the number one spot," the 22-year-old told TIME about the song's success.

Ricch, who earned his first career GRAMMY last year for Best Rap Performance for his work on Nipsey Hussle's "Racks In The Middle," co-wrote "The Box" with GRAMMY-nominated producer Samuel Gloade a.k.a. 30 Roc. 

"Cardigan," Taylor Swift

The pandemic changed almost everyone's plans in 2020, including Taylor Swift's. Instead of heading out for her worldwide Lover tour on the wings of her triumphant seventh album, she went inward, writing and recording the intimate song stories that became folklore. "Cardigan" sits as the emotional centerpiece on the critically acclaimed effort, showing a new angle of Swift's signature sentimentality under a more mature and confident light than ever before.

Co-written with Aaron Dessner of The National, "Cardigan" stands as the latest major songwriting accomplishment in her ever-deepening catalog. The nomination also marks the 10-time GRAMMY winner's fifth of her career in the Song Of The Year category, where she is still seeking her first career win.

POLL: What's Your Favorite Song On folklore?'

"Circles," Post Malone

Since his 2016 debut album, Stoney, Post Malone has continued to break with convention, win over critics and release smash records. "Circles" shows off the superstars writing chops with the circular melodies that haunt its emotive verses and big-time chorus. From the chart-dominant artist's third LP, the feature-heavy Hollywood's Bleeding, "Circles" proved Post's rare ability to flex his songwriting range and still climb to No. 1 the Billboard Hot 100. The song was co-written by Post, who is seeking his first career GRAMMY win, with Louis Bell, Adam Feeney, Kaan Gunesberk and Billy Walsh.

"Don't Start Now," Dua Lipa

British-born two-time GRAMMY winner Dua Lipa delivered one of the most highly anticipated sophomore albums in recent memory when she dropped Future Nostalgia back in March. While the timing of the release, relative to the coronavirus shutdown, was tricky, the pop juggernaut was determined to fill the dance floor with her fans, even if it's in their own homes.

"In the preparation to put it out, I remembered that I created this record to get away from any pressures or anxieties from the outside world," Dua Lipa recently told the Recording Academy. "The album made me feel happy and want to dance. That persuaded me, like maybe this would at least get people's minds off what's going on and make them want to dance and feel happy."

Read More: Dua Lipa Talks 'Club Future Nostalgia,' Working With Madonna & How She's Navigating The Music Industry In The COVID-19 Era

Dua Lipa took home both of the GRAMMY awards she was nominated for two years ago, including Best New Artist. She co-wrote "Don't Start Now" with Caroline Ailin, Ian Kirkpatrick and Emily Warren.

"Everything I Wanted," Billie Eilish

The defending champs in the Song Of The Year category, sister/brother dynamo Billie Eilish and FINNEAS are back in the mix this year with the single "Everything I Wanted." Stark production and whisper vocals, both trademarks of the duos industry-changing stylings, adorn this simple, haunting composition. Indeed, Eilish told Billboard the song was inspired by a horrible dream, and her brother revealed it almost didn't get released at all.

Fortunately for fans, "Everything I Wanted" escaped the nightmare where it began to become another huge hit for the sibling songwriters. Will it be enough to earn them repeat victory in the category following last year's aforementioned win for "Bad Guy"?

"I Can't Breathe," H.E.R.

Every movement is made up of moments. When H.E.R. released "I Can't Breathe" on June 10, the fight against social injustice in America had intensified in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Rising to the occasion as an artist who believes in the power of music to change the world, H.E.R. channeled Floyd's own dying words for the title for the song and delivered an impassioned performance of perhaps the year's most timely and tender protest anthem. The juxtaposition of H.E.R.'s silky smooth guitar work, sultry beat and airy vocal runs with her in-your-face, unflinching, spoken-word bridge/outro poem gives great gravity and lends levity to the song – and to the moment.

Watch: H.E.R. Celebrates Prince At "Let's Go Crazy" Tribute

Co-written with Dernst Emile II and Tiara Thomas, the nomination gives H.E.R. a shot at the third GRAMMY of her already-remarkable career.

"If The World Was Ending," JP Saxe Featuring Julia Michaels

The year 2020 has been a trying one, but it has also shown many of us what really matters. All the more eerie in its foreshadowing, JP Saxe and Julia Michaels co-wrote a heartfelt hit that asks the ultimate question: "If the world was ending, you'd come over, right?" The answer was a GRAMMY nomination.

The minimal piano duet cuts to the core of a love abandoned but not forgotten in the face of catastrophe. The romance on tape turned has played back in real life, as Saxe checked in with the Recording Academy early on during the pandemic to let us know how lockdown was going with his hit-making partner.

Quarantine Diaries: JP Saxe Is Playing Banangrams & Watching "Westworld" With Girlfriend Julia Michaels

"If The World Was Ending" dropped Oct. 17, 2019, earning Canadian singer/songwriter Saxe his first hit and now his first GRAMMY nomination. Michaels has two previous career nominations, both from the 60th GRAMMY Awards including Best New Artist and Song Of The Year, and is seeking her first career win.

2021 GRAMMYs: Complete Nominees List

FYI/TMI: Are Taylor Swift And Ed Sheeran Getting Together?
Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

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FYI/TMI: Are Taylor Swift And Ed Sheeran Getting Together?

Rumors surface that the two are in a red-hot relationship; Sony/ATV Music Publishing named top publisher of fourth quarter in 2012

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

(In an effort to keep you fully informed, and fully entertained, below we present today's FYI and TMI — news you need and news that's, well, sometimes needless….)

FYI …

Sony/ATV Claims Top Publisher In Q4 2012
Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which in June 2012 acquired administration of EMI Music Publishing, was the top publisher in the fourth quarter of 2012 based on its 25.8 percent share of the top 100 songs during the period, according to figures released by Nielsen BDS. No. 2 was Kobalt Music Group (16.5 percent share), followed by Universal Music Publishing Group (15.9 percent share), Warner/Chappell Music (14.2 percent share), and BMG Chrysalis (5.3 percent share).

TMI …

Swift Getting Together With Sheeran?
Taylor Swift may never be getting back together with a few people — like, ever — but that isn't stopping her from joining "The A Team." According to a report, Swift and GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran were reportedly seen together at a hotel in late February. Adding more red-hot fuel to the fire, Sheeran collaborated with Swift on her latest album, Red, the name of which is also a tattoo on Sheeran's left arm. Since Swift and Sheeran supposedly dated briefly last spring, maybe they are, like, getting back together.

Bruno Mars Wins Song Of The Year | 2018 GRAMMYs

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Bruno Mars Wins Song Of The Year | 2018 GRAMMYs

The Hawaiian native takes home Song Of The Year for "That's What I Like" at the 60th GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 08:11 am

Feeling the 24K Magic, Bruno Mars' successful progress through the categories he's been nominated in at the 60th GRAMMY Awards picked up another one at Song Of The Year for "That's What I Like."


Christopher Brody Brown and Philip Lawrence co-write with Mars under the name Shampoo Press & Curl. The other winning songwriters for Mars' hit tonight in this category are James Fauntleroy and production team "The Sterotypes" — Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus and  Jonathan Yip.

For additional "Finesse" on stage at the 60th GRAMMY Awards, Mars was joined by Cardi B for a reprise of their 148-million-views hit remix.

The Album Of The Year GRAMMY Award wrapped up the night and wrapped up Bruno Mars' complete rampage through his six nominated categories — now six wins.

Attention Music Fans: Take The GRAMMY Challenge NOW On KIK And Facebook Messenger

Taylor Swift Plots 2020 World Tour With U.S. Dates For Lover Fest East & West

Taylor Swift

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/VMN19/Getty Images

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Taylor Swift Plots 2020 World Tour With U.S. Dates For Lover Fest East & West

Following dates in Europe and South America, Swift will land in the U.S. for Lover Fest East and West, where the pop star will open Los Angeles' brand new stadium

GRAMMYs/Sep 18, 2019 - 02:38 am

Taylor Swift  will be spreading the love in support of her hit album Lover.in 2020, but it may or may not be in a city near you. The GRAMMY winner announced plans for her summer 2020 tour in support of her seventh studio album, including two shows each in Foxborough, Mass. and Los Angeles for Lover Fest East and West respectively as the only four U.S. dates announced so far.

The tour kicks off in Belgium on June 20 and hits festivals in seven European countries before heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 18 then heading to U.S. Swift will then present Lover Fest West with back-to-back Los Angeles July 25 and 26 at the newly named SoFi Stadium. The concerts will serve as the grand opening of the much-anticipated NFL venue. The tour will wrap a double header at Gillette Stadiuim in Foxborough July 31 and Aug 1

"The Lover album is open fields, sunsets, + SUMMER. I want to perform it in a way that feels authentic," she tweeted. "I want to go to some places I haven’t been and play festivals. Where we didn’t have festivals, we made some. Introducing, Lover Fest East + West!" 

Lover was released Aug. 23 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Her sold-out tour for her previous album, 2017's Reputation, was the highest grossing U.S. tour ever, breaking her own record.

Tickets for the new dates go on sale to the general public via Ticketmaster on Oct. 17. 

Julia Michaels Deconstructs "Issues," Writing Songs | "Required Listening" Podcast

Scott Goldman and Julia Michaels

Photo: Rebecca Sapp/WireImage.com

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Julia Michaels Deconstructs "Issues," Writing Songs | "Required Listening" Podcast

Go inside the bright mind of one of pop's most promising singer/songwriters and learn about her songwriting process, her transition to the spotlight and the three female artists she admires

GRAMMYs/Feb 8, 2018 - 11:57 pm

Julia Michaels' career has soared within the past year. Already a talented songwriter with writing credits such as Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Ed Sheeran, and Fifth Harmony to her name, Michaels took a leap of faith with the release of her third solo EP, 2017's Nervous System.

Listen Now: "Required Listening," Episode 3 With Julia Michaels

Though Michaels has admitted to being nervous about moving to the forefront as an artist in her own right, the gamble paid off. The single "Issues" went gangbusters all the way to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and her EP cracked the Top 50. Plus, the Davenport, Iowa, native scored two nominations for the 60th GRAMMY Awards: Song Of The Year for "Issues" and Best New Artist.

What makes Michaels tick musically, how did she overcome her trepidation and why does she rely on feelings to guide her songwriting?

You'll learn the answers and so much more on the latest episode of "Required Listening," the new music podcast by HowStuffWorks and the GRAMMY Museum in partnership with the Recording Academy.

"It depends on the person. A lot of the times I'll just talk to them [first]," said Michaels regarding collaborating with other artists. "I mean we're all human. We all cry the same. We all bleed the same. So I try to make people feel as comfortable as possible to be able to tell me things, even if the artist that I'm with doesn't write, just having them talk is lyrics in itself. You know, them explaining their day or expressing how they feel. It's like, "That's amazing ... if that's how you're feeling we should write that.'"

As a matter of fact, Michaels told the host of "Required Listening," GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Scott Goldman, that she lets her feelings pilot her songwriting instead of traditional conventions — a process that has yielded gems such as "Issues."

"I'm not that calculated when I write," said Michaels. "I'm all heart when I write so I don't think about the algorithm of a song or the mathematics of a song. I just think, 'This feels good to me,' and just kind of go with that."

When peppered by Goldman with a question about coming into the limelight as a recording artist, Michaels was quick to point out that she has benefitted from plenty of help and encouragement.

"I think a lot of people have helped me get there," said Michaels. "My manager, Beka Tischker, she's been with me for six years. She's always believed in me. … And this year a lot of people have come into my life. I mean even my band — Dan Kanter, who's my guitar player … he's been with me since the beginning of the artist transition. I can't even do it without him at this point. ... There's a lot of people in my life, especially this year, that have made me feel comfortable and confident."

Speaking of confidence, Michaels has taken cues from plenty of her self-assured peers. She cited three artists, in particular, who have inspired her career path.

"I'm not that calculated when I write. I'm all heart." — Julia Michaels

"[Pink is] a bad*," said Michaels. "I love Fiona Apple. I love a lot of artists that are not afraid to say what they want to say. I love artists that write their own music. Laura Marling — she's very much from her point of view, very much whatever she wants to do. And plus her voice is so haunting and beautiful."

"Required Listening" launched on GRAMMY Sunday, Jan. 28, with the first episode featuring an in-depth conversation with GRAMMY winners Imagine Dragons and the second detailing "The Defiant Ones" with Allen Hughes and Jimmy Iovine.

Future guests will include Sean "Diddy" Combs, Dan Auerbach, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, and Lindsey Buckingham and Christie McVie of Fleetwood Mac, among others.

Attention Music Fans: Take The GRAMMY Challenge Now On Kik And Facebook Messenger