The songwriting teams who collaborated to create the Song Of The Year nominees for the 61st GRAMMY Awards were successful by combining the musical talents of individuals into strong tunes that transported millions into their musical worlds. It all starts with a song, and these eight nominated numbers began with the spark on an idea, but their final result speaks for itself. Their results sing. Here's a look at this year's GRAMMY nominees for Song Of The Year.
"All The Stars" (performed by Kendrick Lamar & SZA)
The songwriting category nominees are listed not by their stage names but by legal birth names, known to hardcore fans. Kendrick Duckworth is Kendrick Lamar, Pulitzer recipient and winner of 12 GRAMMY awards. Solána Rowe is the official songwriting name of SZA. Together, their "All The Stars" led the charge that added Black Panther's origin story to the Marvel universe and became the cornerstone of the movie's soundtrack. Their GRAMMY-winning co-writers for "All The Stars," Al Shux, Sounwave and Top Dawg are also known as Al Shuckburgh, Mark Spears & Anthony Tiffith respectively.
"Boo'd Up" (performed by Ella Mai)
The R&B hit "Boo'd Up catapulted Ella Mai into the national spotlight, fueling her breakout year as an artist. Co-writer Larrance Dopson or Rance has been nominated twice before and Dijon McFarlane is better known as DJ Mustard. Co-writer Joelle James is a singer/songwriter and producer, who performed at Showtime at the Apollo when she was age 11, and has collaborated as a grown-up on duets with Chris Brown.
"God's Plan" (performed by Drake)
"October's Very Own" GRAMMY winner Drake, nominated as Aubrey Graham, co-wrote the moving "God's Plan" with talented collaborators Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, GRAMMY winner Noah "40" Shebib, and previously nominated Cardo and Boi-1da, the stage names of Ron LaTour and Matthew Samuels. The song succeeded on release with both Drake's loyal fans and new listeners, spending double-digit weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"In My Blood" (performed by Shawn Mendes)
Shawn Mendes, a chart-topping young singer/songwriter, worked with a crew of long-time collaborators to pen his biggest hit of the year, "In My Blood." These are singer/songwriter and producer Teddy Geiger, songwriter and producer Scott Harris and Geoffrey Warburton. Together their writing has made millions of hearts beat faster with sincere messages that musically represent Mendes himself.
"The Joke" (performed by Brandi Carlile)
Working with GRAMMY-winning songwriter and producer Dave Cobb, singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile added to her canon of originals with "The Joke." The twin Hanseroth brothers, Phil and Tim, who co-wrote "The Joke" also play guitar and bass on the song. "I wrote 'The Joke' about a reckoning and a revolution and a time that's coming when we'll realize that love has already conquered the world and pick it back up," says Carlile about the powerful and uplifting song.
"The Middle" (performed by Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey)
"The Middle" shows off the vocals of GRAMMY-winning country singer Maren Morris, over a highly danceable beat. GRAMMY winner Anton Zaslavski, better known as Zedd, co-wrote the song with Kyle and Michael Trewartha, who are the duo Grey, as well as four other hitmakers including Sarah Aarons, who has written for Grey before and for many hip young artists, Jordan K. Johnson, Stefan Johnson, and Marcus Lomax, the latter three who are songwriters and producers from The Monsters And The Strangerz team in Miami.
"Shallow" (performed by Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper)
"Shallow" is the lone eligible song from Lady Gaga's A Star Is Born hit soundtrack album. It was co-written by the six-time GRAMMY-winning diva and three collaborators. Singer/songwriter and punk guitarist Anthony Rossomando rocked with previous nominee Andrew Wyatt and five-time GRAMMY-winning songwriter and producer Mark Ronson. Gaga has added her starring role as Ally in the film to her impressive series of distinct expressions of self, inspiring millions to draw on the inner creativity and courage that can be heard in the lines and melodies on "Shallow."
"This Is America" (performed by Childish Gambino)
Released in May, "This Is America" and its sensational cultural commentary helped usher in a big summer for GRAMMY winner Childish Gambino, real name Donald Glover. The song was co-written with long-time collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who also had the lead "Music by" credit on the soundtrack for 2018's Black Panther. Our oral history of the pair's Awaken My Love anticipates the messages of "This Is America" by Glover's comment that the GRAMMY-nominated album had been a challenge to create while "America [was] going through a lot."