With news of Grammy Awards nominations sinking in, statements are flying as record labels recognize the nods received for the Recording Academy's 48th annual event. Among the notices, top nominee Kany

With news of Grammy Awards nominations sinking in, statements are flying as record labels recognize the nods received for the Recording Academy's 48th annual event. Among the notices, top nominee Kanye West and first time nominees Sugarland, Rascal Flatts and Mudvayne also expressed their reactions to the news.

"I'd like to thank the Academy for paying attention to my music," West says of his leading eight nominations. "Not my mouth."

West, who leads the field with Mariah Carey and John Legend, was outspoken last year when he didn't take the best new artist honor at the American Music Awards. At February's 47th annual Grammy ceremony, where he was up for a record 10 awards, he left with two: best rap album ("The College Dropout") and best rap song ("Jesus Walks"). "A lot of people were wondering what I was going to do if I didn't win any [awards]," he said at the end of a passionate acceptance of the former. "I guess we'll never know."

This time around, West's sophomore Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam album, "Late Registration," is nominated for album of the year and best rap album (the set debuted in September at No. 1 on The Billboard 200). His single "Gold Digger" is up for record of the year and best rap solo performance, while "Diamonds From the Sierra Leone" is mentioned in the best rap song category, and he's up with Legend and Common for the best rap/sung collaboration award for the latter's "They Say."

As a producer, West earned nominations in the album of the year category for Carey's "The Emancipation of Mimi" (Island) and in the best R&B song field for Alicia Keys' "Unbreakable."

Honored earlier this week with an Artist Achievement Award at the 2005 Billboard Music Awards, West is on the road supporting his sophomore album, "Late Registration." The U.S. tour stops tonight (Dec. 9) in Portland, Ore., and will include a pair of shows opening for U2 before closing on New Year's Eve in Las Vegas. A slate of European dates is scheduled for early next year, with a handful of U.K. dates already slated for February.

Country trio Sugarland is reveling in listing in the best new artist category.

"When I consider the people who have been nominated for this award in years past, I am humbled and emotional," lead singer Jennifer Nettles says. "To represent country music in such an auspicious category is overwhelmingly beautiful. It signifies and validates the power of all types of music!"

The group, which won the similar breakthrough favorite new artist trophy two weeks ago at the American Music Awards, will compete against R&B artists Ciara and Legend and rock acts Fall Out Boy and Keane for the Grammy.

Sugarland has a pair of tour dates left on its schedule this year -- tomorrow in State College, Pa., and Sunday in Salem, Va. -- and will close out the year with performances of the songs "Something More" and "Down In Mississippi (Up To No
Good)" on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve special on ABC. Both songs appear on the group's Mercury debut, "Twice the Speed of Life," which peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.

Rascal Flatts received its first Grammy nomination for "Bless the Broken Road," which made a showing in the best country vocal performance for duo or group for category. The song, which reached No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Songs chart, also appeared on the song of the year and country song of the year lists, netting Grammy nominations for songwriters Jeff Hannah, Marcus Hummon and Bobby Boyd.

"It is such an amazing honor to be nominated," Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox says. "We view the Grammy's as the pinnacle of our business and even as blessed as we have been so far in our careers, this is the one thing we've really hoped for."

As previously reported, the group will be alongside Ciara and Carrie Underwood performing during the annual "Christmas in Washington Special," which will air Dec. 14 on TNT.

"It's been a great ride," Mudvayne lead singer Chad Gray says of the band's year, which has included a stint on the summer's Ozzfest tour in support of its Epic album "Lost and Found."

The set's "Happy?" was recently named Billboard Radio Monitor's active rock song of the year. Now the band finds the album's "Determined" up for the best metal performance Grammy alongside tracks from Ministry, Rammstein, Shadows Fall and Slipknot.

"We're extremely honored, grateful and proud to be in such great company," Gray adds. "We want to thank our fans for making this a year to remember and promise to come back stronger and harder in '06. We're just getting started, folks."

Mudvayne is currently out on the Masters of Horror tour, which has nine more stops on its itinerary, including a show tonight in Wichita, Kan. The bill also features Sevendust, who has been writing about the trek in Billboard.com's Tour Diary, 10 Years After and Bobaflex.