With a revised set of rules to the voting process this year, the Recording Academy’s CEO Harvey Mason promised that the upcoming Grammy Awards would be focused on “embracing the spirit of inclusion.” If the latest nominations are any indication, then the Grammys may certainly be headed in the right direction.
On Tuesday (Nov. 23), the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 64th annual Grammys. The annual selection came with the usual surprises and snubs, like singer Jon Batiste scoring a whopping 11 nominations while BTS remained shut out of the big four categories once again. But as far as LGBTQ representation goes, this year’s Grammy noms saw a wide array of queer artists earning recognition from the Academy.
In a statement released following the nominations, GLAAD president & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said that she was thrilled to see so many LGBTQ professionals get recognized. “The vast inclusion of LGBTQ artists amongst this year’s Grammy nominees – including Lil Nas X, Brandi Carlile, Lady Gaga, and many others – highlights not only a growing shift in cultural acceptance, but also the dominant impact that LGBTQ artists are making across the music industry,” she said.
Lil Nas X and Brandi Carlile both lead among LGBTQ artists with five nominations each, with both artists being nominated for record and song of the year. Other LGBTQ nominees include Halsey, Arlo Parks, St. Vincent, and many more. From Lil Nas X’s second run at the big four, to Brandi Carlile’s new category classification, check out Billboard’s five key takeaways regarding LGBTQ representation from the 2022 Grammy nominations.
Lil Nas X’s big look
In the early stages of Tuesday morning’s nominations, things were looking less than stellar for Lil Nas X; the superstar had only managed to secure two nominations — best melodic rap performance and best music video for “Industry Baby” and “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” respectively — before the big four categories were announced. The 22-year-old was shut out in the pop and rap categories, where many thought he would dominate thanks to the critical and commercial success of his debut album Montero.
Eventually, though, Lil Nas X prevailed, scoring three nominations in the big four categories, for album of the year (for Montero), as well as record and song of the year (both for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”).This will be the rapper’s second time competing for album and record of the year — he was nominated in both categories back in 2020 when Billie Eilish took those and the other big four awards home. In a heartfelt message to his fans on Twitter, Lil Nas made it clear what the gesture meant to him. “Don’t have to win a single award, truly thankful for all the insight this year has brought me,” he said. “And thankful for the journey. Love u guys.”
Brandi Carlile pops into a new genre category
When it comes to being a successful LGBTQ artist at the Grammys, Brandi Carlile is about as good an example as you can get. That certainly remains true this year, as Brandi nabbed five nominations. Nominated twice in song of the year (for her single “Right on Time,” as well as her Alicia Keys collaboration “A Beautiful Noise”) as well as one each in record of the year (“Right on Time”) and best American roots performance (for her feature on Brandy Clark’s “Same Devil”), her final nomination was in a very surprising category; best pop solo performance for her single “Right on Time.”
While Carlile is no doubt honored to be nominated in such a stacked category, she also made it abundantly clear on her social media that she is an Americana artist, and felt that the decision to move “Right on Time” into the pop category was wrong. “While I’m incredibly flattered to be considered ‘pop’ as a 40 year old crooning lesbian mother, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit surprised and disappointed to learn the Recording Academy decided to move ‘Right On Time’ out of the American Roots genre and into the pop category,” she wrote.
Brothers Osborne bring a hopeful message to two country nominations
After officially coming out as gay earlier this year, T.J. Osborne of beloved the country duo Brothers Osborne opened up about feeling accepted within the genre at the 2021 CMA Awards. Now, with the band’s two nominations at the 2022 Grammys for best country album and best country duo/group performance, the brothers have even more reason to celebrate. In the performance category, the band is nominated for their song “Younger Me,” a touching note-to-self by T.J. in which he encourages his younger self to embrace who he is, rather than keep hiding.
The alternative field gets dominated by LGBTQ women
While Halsey’s critically beloved If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power may have been shut out of album of the year, the 27-year-old star can rest easy knowing that the project earned a nod for best alternative music album. She can even get excited, knowing that those joining her in the category are mostly queer women, including St. Vincent (Daddy’s Home), Arlo Parks (Collapsed in Sunbeams) and Japanese Breakfast (Jubilee). The alternative field is certainly following in the stride of the last few Grammys, in which queer women made up the majority of LGBTQ nominees.
Best new artist boasts LGBTQ stars on the rise
The 2022 category is also filled with LGBTQ women, including Parks and Japanese Breakfast.