Grammy Nominations Predictions (2019)

GrammyTomorrow, the Recording Academy of America will reveal the nominations for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. The awards ceremony will take place in early 2019 for what they themselves dub “music’s biggest night.” Whether you love or hate award shows, the Grammys are the highest honour in mainstream music so they’re always the ones I check for each year.

Following last year’s Grammys, President of the Recording Academy Neil Portnow received (deserved) criticism for saying female musicians and artists need to “step up” in response to comments that the Grammys were especially male-centric, so it will be interesting to see whether the voters lean a little harder on music by women this year. 2018 was a little more open to women in music compared to 2017 (except country) so I do expect more women among the nominations but we shall see.

Speaking of more nominations, the Big 4 categories will be expanding from 5 nominations to 8. This will be interesting as it could resulting in more surprises among the final tallies – or more mediocracy.

As is tradition, I’m going to make my predictions for who I think will make up the nominees for the four main awards. I say this every year but this year is particularly challenging for several reasons.

  • 1: The expansion – I have more of a chance of getting more right but less of a chance of getting them all right.
  • 2: Following criticism of the results in recent years, mainly toward black artists and women, voters may lean heavier on music from both, particularly as 2018 was a huge year for hip-hop. This makes predicting challenging because there may not be a response at all. I fully expected Beyonce to win Album of the Year in 2015 – and she didn’t. But at the same time, 3 out of 5 of the titles that made up last year’s Album of the Year category were hip-hop albums – and 0 were by white men.
  • 3: I’ve fallen out of touch with what’s ‘in’ in 2018. I’ve kept my own music listening to my own favs so predicting artists I’m not familiar with can be tough, even with the Grammys, which have historically been somewhat predictable.

But I will try anyway!

Album of the Year

While the age of ‘major albums’ is slowly fading, artists can still make a name for themselves by releasing solid cohesive albums. This year’s list will likely contain a nice mix representing a cross-section of genres and maybe even a couple soundtracks – which is quite rare in itself. The obvious contenders include Grammy favourite Taylor Swift, newcomer Cardi B. and critical darling Janelle Monáe. From there you’re picking from the genres. Kacey Musgraves is likely to represent country. Drake is a good bet for rap. Ariana Grande may come from pop. And the soundtrack to the Golden Globe-nominated Black Panther may end up on the final list. That leaves one spot. Rock music has struggled on the mainstream stage this decade but with the category expanding to 8 spots, that might be what’s needed to have representation from the genre. Some possible contenders include Jack White or Paul McCartney – mostly because they’re Grammy favs and not at all creative predictions on my part.

Other possible nominations include Jay Z and Beyoncé‘s collaborative album, Sam Smith, Chris Stapleton, surprise contender John Prine and the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman. I’ll also mention that I would *love* to see Brandi Carlile included in here but I won’t be *that* bold.

My Predictions:
Ariana Grande – Sweetener
Cardi B. – Invasion of Privacy
Drake – Scorpion
Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
Jack White – Boarding House Reach
Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
Soundtrack – Black Panther
Taylor Swift – Reputation

Record of the Year

This category often focuses on the bigger hits of the past year, but exceptions are common. Last year, Jay Z was nominated for The Story Of O.J. and that only briefly graced the charts. This year, the obvious contenders include songs from Ariana Grande, Cardi B, Childish Gambino, Drake and Kendrick Lamar. From there, it gets a little trickier. Jay Z and Beyonce are both Grammy favourites, but will the voters include them when the category is already heavy with rap? Possible alternatives include Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, Kacey Musgraves and possibly something like The Middle by Zedd & Maren Morris or Boo’d Up by Ella Mai (but watch out for Meant To Be).

My Predictions:
Ariana Grande – God Is A Woman
Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin – I Like It
Childish Gambino – This Is America
Drake – God’s Plan
Kacey Musgraves – High Horse
Kendrick Lamar & SZA – All The Stars
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – Shallow
Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey – The Middle

Song of the Year

I used to find this category somewhat easier to pick but it’s become the harder of the two song-based categories. This is usually the one with the dark horse surprise – the song that nobody could have predicted would make the list. Last year was 4:44 by Jay Z. I’m keeping my predictions relatively safe this year, including a lot of duplicates from the Record of the Year finals.

My Predictions:
Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry
Childish Gambino – This Is America
Chris Stapleton – Broken Halos
Drake – God’s Plan
Ella Mai – Boo’d Up
Kacey Musgraves – High Horse
Kendrick Lamar & SZA – All The Stars
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – Shallow

Best New Artist

Best New Artist is tough for me mostly because I haven’t picked up on many of the year’s new artists beyond partial familiarization of a song or two. That and the most obvious guesses are all ineligible. No Cardi B, no Post Malone and no Camila Cabello.
The resulting list is a mixture of legit new artists who had a good year and will likely have a better 2019 (Ella Mai, Juice Wrld), or artists who have been around for a few years but somehow escaped Grammys boot (Bebe RexhaDua Lipa, Troye Sivan). None are really obvious picks but with 8 slots available, I’m sure some or most of these will make it.

My Predictions:
Bebe Rexha
Ella Mai
Dua Lipa
Greta Van Fleet
Juice Wrld
Kane Brown
Troye Sivan

We’ll find out tomorrow how I did!

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