61st GRAMMY Awards: Nominations & Predictions

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The GRAMMYs air on Sunday, Feb. 10th this year – a bit later than last year’s ceremony (Jan. 28). While lots of people believe that the awards show really doesn’t matter in the industry, it’s still super fun to participate in award season and come up with your own predictions in regards to who is going to win what.

When the nominations came out, I shared on Twitter that I had no interest in doing another predictions post this year because I was so unimpressed with the nominees. I take this back now, because playing the guessing game is too much fun to sit out on.

When I shared this post last year (click here to read), I made a point to leave out the less popular categories, like classical music, historal, world music, etc, because it’s really pointless for me to comment on something that I’m not familiar with. You can see the entire list of nominations here.

I would like to note that I am no expert on the way The Academy decides to vote and my predictions could definitely be inaccurate. This is based on how the awards have gone in previous years and my attempt at trying to guess from voting patterns.

Record Of The Year

Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) and mastering engineer(s), if other than the artist.

  • I LIKE IT / Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin
  • THE JOKE / Brandi Carlile
  • THIS IS AMERICA / Childish Gambino
  • GOD’S PLAN / Drake
  • SHALLOW / Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
  • ALL THE STARS / Kendrick Lamar & SZA
  • ROCKSTAR / Post Malone Featuring 21 Savage
  • THE MIDDLE / Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey

Current Title: 24k Magic / Bruno Mars

Likely: If I had to guess, I’d put my money on “The Middle” or “The Joke.” I think that “I Like That” strays too far away from the standard song that usually wins this award. “This Is America” points out all of the insane issues our country has and can definitely speak to how conservative The Grammy voters are in terms of tending to vote for white artists who arguably create “safe” music (minus Bruno Mars in ‘18). I can’t imagine them awarding a song like that (not that I think it deserves that treatment). “Rockstar” and “All The Stars” are too out there, also. My third guess would go to “Shallow.”

My Preference: Out of this list, I would like to see it go to “I Like It” or “This Is America.”

Album Of The Year

Award to Artist(s) and to Featured Artist(s), Songwriter(s) of new material, Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s), Mixer(s) and Mastering Engineer(s) credited with at least 33% playing time of the album, if other than Artist.

  • INVASION OF PRIVACY / Cardi B
  • BY THE WAY, I FORGIVE YOU / Brandi Carlile
  • SCORPION / Drake
  • H.E.R. / H.E.R.
  • BEERBONGS & BENTLEYS / Post Malone
  • DIRTY COMPUTER / Janelle Monáe
  • GOLDEN HOUR / Kacey Musgraves
  • BLACK PANTHER: THE ALBUM, MUSIC FROM AND INSPIRED BY / (Various Artists)

Current Title: 24k Magic / Bruno Mars

Likely: Like I hinted to above, Cardi B. is too nontraditional to take home AOTY. Adele won for 25 in 2016, Taylor Swift in 2015 for 1989, Beck for Morning Phase in 2014, etc. You get the point. I think Bruno’s win last year was the academy’s attempt to diversify the list of winners. With that being said, if they want to continue emphasizing awarding diverse artists, this award should definitely be going to Janelle Monáe for Dirty Computer. I think right now, it will be between her and Kacey for Golden Hour, but wouldn’t be surprised if it goes to Brandi Carlile – because they seem to like to award the obscure “who is that?” artist sometimes (I do know who she is, though). A movie soundtrack hasn’t won this category since 2002 and it’s only happened four times, so we’ll see.

My Preference: Dirty Computer

Song Of The Year

A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

  • ALL THE STARS / Kendrick Duckworth, Solána Rowe, Al Shuckburgh, Mark Spears & Anthony Tiffith, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar & SZA)
  • BOO’D UP / Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai & Dijon McFarlane, songwriters (Ella Mai)
  • GOD’S PLAN / Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels & Noah Shebib, songwriters (Drake)
  • IN MY BLOOD / Teddy Geiger, Scott Harris, Shawn Mendes & Geoffrey Warburton, songwriters (Shawn Mendes)
  • THE JOKE / Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth, songwriters (Brandi Carlile)
  • THE MIDDLE / Sarah Aarons, Jordan K. Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Marcus Lomax, Kyle Trewartha, Michael Trewartha & Anton Zaslavski, songwriters (Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey)
  • SHALLOW / Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper)
  • THIS IS AMERICA / Donald Glover, Ludwig Goransson & Jeffery Lamar Williams, songwriters (Childish Gambino)

Current TItle: “That’s What I Like” / Bruno Mars

Likely: First off, I’ve stated this in my blog before, but SOTY is for the songwriting. ROTY is for everyone who is involved in executing a song. So this is solely for lyrics. I think this will go to “The Joke” or “The Middle.”

My preference: The only song out of this list that made my favorite songs of 2018 was “This Is America.” So.

Best New Artist

An artist will be considered for Best New Artist if their eligibility year release/s achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and notably impacted the musical landscape.

  • CHLOE X HALLE
  • LUKE COMBS
  • GRETA VAN FLEET
  • H.E.R.
  • DUA LIPA
  • MARGO PRICE
  • BEBE REXHA
  • JORJA SMITH

Current Title: Alessia Cara

Likely: Oh man. This is the category that is always so unpredictable. I personally think the guidelines for this category need to be changed – for instance, I first saw Alessia Cara perform in 2015 and she sold out an entire tour. She won for the 2017 year. She had been around and gaining buzz for two years before she won this award. It’s definitely not her fault for the way this works and I don’t blame her for winning cause I think she’s talented, but I wish it worked differently. In my opinion, the only person who is truly viable for this award is Dua Lipa and would be astounded if she loses.

My Preference: Dua Lipa

Best Pop Solo Performance

For new vocal or instrumental pop recordings. Singles or Tracks only.

  • COLORS / Beck
  • HAVANA (LIVE) / Camila Cabello
  • GOD IS A WOMAN  Ariana Grande
  • JOANNE (WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOIN’?) / Lady Gaga
  • BETTER NOW / Post Malone

Current Title: “Shape Of You” / Ed Sheeran

Likely: If this doesn’t go to Camila Cabello I’ll be really annoyed. I don’t like that song very much, but it was one of the biggest of the year and has the record for the most streams on Spotify for a female, ever. That’s insane and you can’t deny its impact. I personally thought “God Is A Woman” was incredibly overrated but I think it’s the next one to have a shot at winning. I hated everything about Joanne and find it incredible it’s included in this.

My Preference: “Havana”

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

For new vocal or instrumental duo/group or collaborative pop recordings. Singles or Tracks only.

  • FALL IN LINE / Christina Aguilera Featuring Demi Lovato
  • DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART / Backstreet Boys
  • ‘S WONDERFUL / Tony Bennett & Diana Krall
  • SHALLOW /  Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
  • GIRLS LIKE YOU / Maroon 5 Featuring Cardi B
  • SAY SOMETHING / Justin Timberlake Featuring Chris Stapleton
  • THE MIDDLE / Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey

Current Title: “Feel It Still” — Portugal. The Man

Likely: I haven’t heard half of these (first three) so i’m going to rule those out. I would say that “Shallow” has the best chance here, followed by “The Middle.”

My Preference: I liked “A Star Is Born” but didn’t think it was the best thing that happened in 2018. But I like “Shallow” and think it deserves this one.

Best Pop Vocal Album

For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal pop recordings.

  • CAMILA / Camila Cabello
  • MEANING OF LIFE / Kelly Clarkson
  • SWEETENER / Ariana Grande
  • SHAWN MENDES / Shawn Mendes
  • BEAUTIFUL TRAUMA / P!nk
  • REPUTATION / Taylor Swift

Current Title: Divide / Ed Sheeran

Likely: reputation was shut out of AOTY (and honestly, I don’t think it deserves it) and Taylor has a great track record with Grammy voters (she’s won 10). This is the only category fans of hers can award her in this year, and based on buzz, tour revenue and album sales, I would have to guess it’ll be going to her. I can see if going to Camila next, then Ariana.

My Preference: reputation, of course.

Best Dance Recording

For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances. Vocal or Instrumental. Singles or tracks only.

  • NORTHERN SOUL / Above & Beyond Featuring Richard Bedford
  • ULTIMATUM / Disclosure (Featuring Fatoumata Diawara)
  • LOSING IT / Fisher
  • ELECTRICITY / Silk City & Dua Lipa Featuring Diplo & Mark Ronson
  • GHOST VOICES / Virtual Self

Current TItle: “Tonight” / LCD Soundsystem

Likely: I have no idea. “Electricity” has the most name value in terms of the artists, but FIsher had a Billboard No. 1 in 2018 and Above & Beyond has been nominated for Grammys for YEARS. I have no idea who this is going to so I’ll just guess for A&B.

My Preference: “Electricity” slaps but I have no idea if it’s worthy based on its competition.

Best Dance/Electronic Album

For vocal or instrumental albums. Albums only.

  • SINGULARITY / Jon Hopkins
  • WOMAN WORLDWIDE / Justice
  • TREEHOUSE / Sofi Tukker
  • OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES / SOPHIE
  • LUNE ROUGE / TOKiMONSTA

Current Title: 3-D The Catalogue / Kraftwerk

Likely: I know that Justice is huge, so let’s guess them. I have no idea.

My Preference: I think SOPHIE did some really cool stuff with her album, so I’d like to see that awarded.

Best Rock Performance

For new vocal or instrumental solo, duo/group or collaborative rock recordings.

  • FOUR OUT OF FIVE / Arctic Monkeys
  • WHEN BAD DOES GOOD / Chris Cornell
  • MADE AN AMERICA / THE FEVER 333
  • HIGHWAY TUNE / Greta Van Fleet
  • UNCOMFORTABE / Halestorm

Current Title: “You Want It Darker” / Leonard Cohen

Likely: I would guess Arctic Monkeys. Lots of buzz around their follow-up to AM (2013) and have never won a Grammy. I will die of laughter of GVF wins.

My Preference: Arctic Monkeys

Best Rock Song

A Songwriter(s) Award. Includes Rock, Hard Rock and Metal songs. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

  • BLACK SMOKE RISING / Jacob Thomas Kiszka, Joshua Michael Kiszka, Samuel Francis Kiszka & Daniel Robert Wagner, songwriters (Greta Van Fleet)
  • JUMPSUIT / Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)
  • MANTRA / Jordan Fish, Matthew Kean, Lee Malia, Matthew Nicholls & Oliver Sykes, songwriters (Bring Me The Horizon)
  • MASSEDUCTION / Jack Antonoff & Annie Clark, songwriters (St. Vincent)
  • RATS / Tom Dalgety & A Ghoul Writer, songwriters (Ghost)

Current Title: “Run” / Foo Fighters

Likely: Twenty One Pilots have won Grammys before, but I can see this one going to GVF. 

My Preference: The only song i really like from this list is “Masseduction” but I’d be surprised if it wins. I don’t really consider it to be rock, but it’s not pop, so I’m not sure.

Best Alternative Music Album

Vocal or Instrumental.

  • TRANQUILITY BASE HOTEL + CASINO / Arctic Monkeys
  • COLORS / Beck
  • UTOPIA / Björk
  • AMERICAN UTOPIA / David Byrne
  • MASSEDUCTION / St. Vincent

Current Title: Sleep Well Beast / The National

Likely: Going to guess it’s going to Arctic Monkeys.

My Preference: Masseduction 

Best Urban Contemporary Album

For albums containing at least 51% playing time of newly recorded contemporary vocal tracks derivative of R&B.

  • EVERYTHING IS LOVE / The Carters
  • THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT / Chloe x Halle
  • CHRIS DAVE AND THE DRUMHEDZ / Chris Dave And The Drumhedz
  • WAR & LEISURE / Miguel
  • VENTRILOQUISM / Meshell Ndegeocello

Current Title: Starboy / The Weeknd

Likely: Everything Is Love

My Preference: Everything Is Love

Best Rap Performance

For a Rap performance. Singles or Tracks only.

  • BE CAREFUL / Cardi B
  • NICE FOR WHAT / Drake
  • KING’S DEAD / Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future & James Blake
  • BUBBLIN / Anderson .Paak
  • SICKO MODE / Travis Scott, Drake, Big Hawk & Swae Lee

Current Title: “Humble” / Kendrick Lamar

Likely: “Nice For What”

My Preference: “Be Careful”

Best Rap Sung Performance

For a solo or collaborative performance containing both elements of R&B melodies and Rap.

  • LIKE I DO / Christina Aguilera Featuring Goldlink
  • PRETTY LITTLE FEARS / 6lack Featuring J. Cole
  • THIS IS AMERICA / Childish Gambino
  • ALL THE STARS / Kendrick Lamar & SZA
  • ROCKSTAR / Post Malone Featuring 21 Savage

Current Title: “Humble” / Kendrick Lamar

Likely: If they’re going to award Gambino for anything, it’d be this one. I think.

My Preference: “This Is America”

Best Rap Song

A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

  • GOD’S PLAN / Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels & Noah Shebib, songwriters (Drake)
  • KING’S DEAD / Kendrick Duckworth, Samuel Gloade, James Litherland, Johnny McKinzie, Axel Morgan, Mark Spears, Travis Walton, Nayvadius Wilburn & Michael Williams II, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future & James Blake)
  • LUCKY YOU / R. Fraser, G. Lucas, M. Mathers, M. Samuels & J. Sweet, songwriters (Eminem Featuring Joyner Lucas)
  • SICKO MODE / Khalif Brown, Rogét Chahayed, BryTavious Chambers, Mike Dean, Mirsad Dervic, Kevin Gomringer, Tim Gomringer, Aubrey Graham, John Edward Hawkins, Chauncey Hollis, Jacques Webster, Ozan Yildirim & Cydel Young, songwriters (Travis Scott, Drake, Big Hawk & Swae Lee)
  • WIN / K. Duckworth, A. Hernandez, J. McKinzie, M. Samuels & C. Thompson, songwriters (Jay Rock)

Current Title: “Humble” / Kendrick Lamar

Likely: Going to go with “God’s Plan.”

My Preference: I really don’t have one.

Best Rap Album

For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new rap recordings.

  • INVASION OF PRIVACY / Cardi B
  • SWIMMING / Mac Miller
  • VICTORY LAP / Nipsey Hussle
  • DAYTONA / Pusha T
  • ASTROWORLD / Travis Scott

Current Title: DAMN. / Kendrick Lamar

Likely: I have no idea because we all know I really don’t listen to rap. But I’d say Cardi B. – she was locked out entirely last year by Kendrick with her nominations for “Bodak Yellow” so this is the time to award her.

My Preference: Cardi B. – hands down!

Best Song Written For Visual Media

A Songwriter(s) award. For a song (melody & lyrics) written specifically for a motion picture, television, video games or other visual media, and released for the first time during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

  • ALL THE STARS / Kendrick Duckworth, Solána Rowe, Alexander William Shuckburgh, Mark Anthony Spears & Anthony Tiffith, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar & SZA) Track from: Black Panther
  • MYSTERY OF LOVE / Sufjan Stevens, songwriter (Sufjan Stevens) Track from: Call Me By Your Name
  • REMEMBER ME / Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez, songwriters (Miguel Featuring Natalia Lafourcade) Track from: Coco
  • SHALLOW / Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper) Track from: A Star Is Born
  • THIS IS ME / Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, songwriters (Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble) Track from: The Greatest Showman

Current Title: “How Far I’ll Go” — Lin-Manuel Miranda, songwriter (Auli’i Cravalho) 

Likely: It’d be shocking if “Shallow” doesn’t get this, but I’d say the next choice is “This Is Me”

My Preference: “Shallow”

Best Music Video

Award to the artist, video director, and video producer.

  • APES*** / The Carters. Ricky Saiz, video director; Mélodie Buchris, Natan Schottenfels & Erinn Williams, video producers
  • THIS IS AMERICA / Childish Gambino, Hiro Murai, video director; Ibra Ake, Jason Cole & Fam Rothstein, video producers
  • I’M NOT RACIST / Joyner Lucas & Ben Proulx, video directors; Joyner Lucas, video producer
  • PYNK / Janelle Monáe, Emma Westenberg, video director; Justin Benoliel & Whitney Jackson, video producers
  • MUMBO JUMBO / Tierra Whack, Marco Prestini, video director; Sara Nassim, video producer

Current Title: “Humble” / Kendrick Lamar

Likely: “APE****”

My Preference: “This Is America,” no contest.

Thanks for reading. I had fun doing this, and it’s always interesting to see the full list of nominations again a few weeks after their initial release. I’m curious to see how my predictions line up with other publication’s since I’m doing mine fairly early in the game. I’m ready for awards season!

– Kristin

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