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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, 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***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

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.

Alicia Keys Unveils Dates For New Storytelling Series

Alicia Keys

Photo by Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images

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Alicia Keys Unveils Dates For New Storytelling Series

The artist will take her upcoming 'More Myself: A Journey' biography on a four-city book tour

GRAMMYs/Mar 5, 2020 - 04:07 am

After performing her powerhouse piano medley at the 62nd Annual GRAMMYs, R&B superstar, GRAMMY-winning artist and former GRAMMY’s host Alicia Keys has revealed that she will set out on a four-stop book tour next month. The storytelling tour will support her forthcoming book More Myself: A Journey, which is slated for a March 31 release via Flatiron Books and is reported to feature stories and music from the book, told and performed by Alicia and her piano, according to a statement.

Part autobiography, part narrative documentary, Keys' title is dubbed in its description as an "intimate, revealing look at one artist’s journey from self-censorship to full expression."  You can pre-order the title here.

The book tour will kick off with a March 31 Brooklyn stop at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. From there, Keys will visit Atlanta’s Symphony Hall on April 5 and Chicago’s Thalia Hall with Chicago Ideas the following day, April 6. The short-run will culminate on April 7 in Los Angeles at the Theatre at Ace Hotel.

Pre-sales for the tour are underway and public on-sale will begin on Friday, March 6 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. Tickets for the intimate dates and full release dates and times are available here.

Keys won her first five career awards at the 44th Annual GRAMMYs in 2002. On the night, she received awards in the Best New Artists, Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance categories respectively. She has received a total of 29 nominations and 15 GRAMMYs in her career.

This year, Keys will also embark on a world tour in support of Alicia, the artist’s upcoming seventh studio album and the follow up of 2016’s Here, due out March 20 via RCA Records.

Meet Justin Bieber With GRAMMY Charity Online Auctions
Justin Bieber

Photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage.com

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Meet Justin Bieber With GRAMMY Charity Online Auctions

Bid on an exclusive VIP concert experience to meet Justin Bieber

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

GRAMMY Charity Online Auctions has launched a new auction offering bidders the opportunity to bid on an exclusive VIP concert experience with Justin Bieber. Open now through Oct. 25, the auction package features two tickets and meet-and-greet passes to an upcoming Bieber concert.

To place your bid on this exclusive experience, visit www.charitybuzz.com. All proceeds will benefit the GRAMMY Foundation.

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A Tribute In Black To Johnny Cash

A star-studded roster of GRAMMY-winning talent celebrates the music and 80th birthday of Johnny Cash in Austin, Texas

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Though Johnny Cash passed away in 2003, he's having a very good year in 2012. The latest in a series of events honoring the man in black — an 80th-birthday tribute titled We Walk The Line: A Celebration Of The Music Of Johnny Cash — drew a slew of GRAMMY-winning performers to Austin, Texas, for a lively Friday-night show on April 20 at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater.

Top billing went to Cash's surviving Highwaymen brethren, GRAMMY winners Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, who teamed with Shooter Jennings (son of late GRAMMY-winning Highwayman Waylon Jennings) and Jamey Johnson in a reunion of sorts on the song "Highwayman." Under a large banner bearing an image of Cash strumming a guitar, flanked by two silhouettes, Nelson also teamed with GRAMMY winner Sheryl Crow on "If I Were A Carpenter."

Crow sounded almost as if she were addressing Cash when she joked to Nelson, "I would definitely have your baby — if I could. If I didn't have two others of my own. And if you weren't married. And if I wasn't friends with your wife." 

Audience members cheered lustily in approval, as they did throughout most of the show, a taped-for-DVD benefit for the childhood muscular dystrophy foundation Charley's Fund. Just hours earlier, many of them had watched as Nelson helped unveil his new statue in front of the theater, which sits on a street also named after him.

The event was produced by Keith Wortman with GRAMMY-winning producer Don Was serving as musical director. Was recruited Buddy Miller, Greg Leisz, Kenny Aronoff, and new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Ian McLagan of the Faces as the house band. The handpicked all-star roster of performers ranged from Iron & Wine's Sam Beam, Brandi Carlile, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Andy Grammer, Amy Lee of Evanescence, and Pat Monahan of Train to Ronnie Dunn, Shelby Lynne, Old 97's lead singer Rhett Miller, Lucinda Williams, and even Austin-based actor Matthew McConaughey, who, in addition to emceeing, sang "The Man Comes Around."

"We wanted a real broad, diverse group of artists," Wortman said backstage. "With Cash, you're as likely to find his music in a punk rock music fan, a heavy metal fan and a Nashville music fan, so he's not just a country music guy." 

GRAMMY winner Monahan, who sang Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through The Night," commented before the show, "I think of Johnny Cash as a style, as you would think of clothing, or music or whatever. He was his own thing. No can can really describe Johnny Cash entirely. 

"And no one could deliver a song quite like him," continued Monahan. "He sang hundreds of other songwriters' songs and he made those songwriters important because of the way he delivered what they were saying. There's not much that I don't respect about him, and I told his son [John Carter Cash] earlier that I'm almost more inspired by the love for his family than his music."

Lynne, who won the Best New Artist GRAMMY in 2000, sang "Why Me Lord," another song penned by Kristofferson, and delivered a spirited duet with Monahan on "It Ain't Me Babe," said Cash has influenced "all of us."

"We appreciate the majestic rebellion that Johnny gave us all in the music business. And he's also one of the great American icons of all time," she added.

Among the acts who earned the loudest applause in a night full of high-volume appreciation was the GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, the bluegrass quartet re-exposing the genre's African-American roots. Their rendition of "Jackson" was among many highlights. Earlier, co-founder Dom Flemons revealed the personal inspiration of Cash's catalog.

"Johnny Cash's music has had an impact on me as a rock and roll singer, a country singer, as a folk music performer and great interpreter of song. I just love everything that he's done," said Flemons.

Bandmate Hubby Jenkins added, "Johnny Cash was really great about putting emotional investment into every song that he sang."

Co-founder Rhiannon Giddens said Cash’s core was his voice and his subject matter, and no matter how much production was added, it never diluted his message. 

Miller, who named his band after "Wreck Of The Old '97," a song popularized by Cash, said their intent was to sound like "Johnny Cash meets the Clash." He also recalled always picking "Ring Of Fire," a classic inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1999, on the tabletop jukebox during childhood visits to a Dallas diner. 

"I didn't know what it was about, but I knew that the guy who was singing it was singing it with everything he had," said Miller, dressed in black in homage to "one of my all-time heroes." "And there was so much heart behind it, and so much conviction. And nobody could sell a song like Johnny Cash. He meant every word he said, and if he didn't mean it, he made it sound like he meant it."

(Austin-based journalist Lynne Margolis currently contributes to American Songwriter, NPR's Song of the Day and newspapers nationwide, as well as several regional magazines and NPR-affiliate KUT-FM's "Texas Music Matters." A contributing editor to The Ties That Bind: Bruce Springsteen from A To E To Z, she has also previously written for Rollingstone.com and Paste magazine.)