56th Annual Grammy Nominations bring Sounds of Diversity

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Grammy-nominationsA mixed field of rap, pop and dance talent dominated the top categories in nominations for the 56th annual Grammy Awards, making for a wide-open race with no clear favorite and few megastars in the running for top honors at the music biz’s January kudofest.

Rapper Jay Z, whose highly promoted “Magna Carta…Holy Grail”, was the year’s most nominated performer, with nine bids. Pop superstar Justin Timberlake, back from a five-year layoff from music,  of “The 20/20 Experience,”  his seven nods came in the lower-profile pop and R&B fields. Kanye West landed two bids for “Yeezus,” both rap categories.

Album of the year nominees are a grab bag of genres, from “The Blessed Unrest” by pop singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles to dance dynamo “Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk to “Red” by pop-country queen Taylor Swift to a pair of rap platters: “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City” by Kendrick Lamar and “The Heist” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Competing for record of the year are Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams’ “Get Lucky,” Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” Lorde’s “Royals,” Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell.

Going head-to-head for song of the year  are “Royals” (by Joel Little and Lorde, aka Ella Yelich O’Connor), “Locked Out of Heaven” (by Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine & Mars), Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” (by Jeff Bhasker, Pink & Nate Ruess), Katy Perry’s “Roar” (by Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Henry Walter & Perry), and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” (by Ben “Macklemore” Haggerty, Mary Lambert & Ryan Lewis).

New artist mentions went to L.A. rapper Lamar, Seattle rap duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, British pop electronic artist James Blake, country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves and Brit singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.

Tapped in both the song of the year and record of the year categories (and in a total of four categories) was 17-year-old New Zealand native Lorde, who drew comparisons to sextuple 2012 winner Adele with her debut hit “Royals.” However, in perhaps the year’s biggest surprise — and unlike her English predecessor, who took home the best new artist hardware in 2009 — the Kiwi vocalist was not recognized with a nomination in the category.

Nominees in the top categories were unveiled during a one-hour CBS special from the Nokia Theatre in L.A. Friday. CBS will telecast the Grammycast live on Jan. 26 from Staples Center in Los Angeles.

HT to Variety