The eligibility year for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards ends today (Aug. 31). Needless to say, it has been a Grammy year like no other.
Midway through the eligibility year, which began Sept. 1, 2019, a global pandemic impacted virtually aspect of American life. On May 25, the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police put a bright spotlight on race.
How will these events impact the Grammy nominations? We won’t know for sure until the nominations are announced later this year. (Last year’s nods were announced on Nov. 20, to give you some idea about timing.) Here are 18 artists who could land major nominations.
Taylor Swift: Swift is likely to land her fourth album of the year nod for Folklore. Her last two studio albums, Reputation and Lover, were passed over in that marquee category, but Folklore has been more warmly received. To date, only one female artist, Barbra Streisand, has received four or more album of the year nominations. (That legendary star has amassed six nods.) But this year, Swift, Lady Gaga and an all-female trio, The Chicks, could each land their fourth. Folklore has topped the Billboard 200 for five weeks, which puts it in a three-way tie with Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding and Lil Baby’s My Turn for the most weeks at No. 1 in this eligibility year. (Of course, Folklore may well add to its total.)
Swift’s “Cardigan,” which entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 1, has a good chance of landing a song of the year nod. It would be Swift’s fifth nod in that category, which would be more than any other female songwriter. Swift is currently tied with lyricist Marilyn Bergman as the most-nominated female songwriter, with four nods each.
The Weeknd: The Weeknd is a near-lock to receive his second record of the year nod for “Blinding Lights,” which logged four weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100. The R&B/pop star is also likely to receive his second album of the year nod for After Hours. The Weeknd was nominated in these categories five years ago for “Can’t Feel My Face” and Beauty Behind the Madness, respectively.
“Blinding Lights” won video of the year at the MTV Video Awards on Aug. 30. If it also wins record of the year — a strong possibility — it would become only the second work to win both of these awards. The first? Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” 15 years ago.
Harry Styles: The pop idol has a good chance of landing nominations for record, album and song of the year. These would be Styles’ first Grammy nominations — in any category, solo or as part of One Direction. The only question is whether the Nominations Review Committee, which determines the final nominations in the Big Four categories, will favor “Adore You” or the sexy summer smash “Watermelon Sugar” (a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100).
Fiona Apple: Apple has a good chance of landing an album of the year nod for her critically-hailed Fetch the Bolt Cutters. Apple has been nominated twice for best alternative music album, but hasn’t been nominated in a Big Four category since she was a best new artist finalist 23 years ago. Fetch would be the first alternative album by a female solo artist to be nominated for album of the year since Sinéad O’Connor’s I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got 30 years ago.
Billie Eilish: Eilish has a good chance of landing record and song of the year nods for either “Everything I Wanted” or the more recent “My Future.” Eilish won both awards last year for “Bad Guy.” She would become the first artist to be nominated for record of the year the year after winning since U2 nearly two decades ago. The Irish band won the 2000 award for “Beautiful Day” and was nominated again the following year with “Walk On,” which also won.
Maren Morris: The versatile singer has a good chance of landing her second record of the year nod for her country ballad “The Bones.” Maren was nominated two years ago for “The Middle,” her smash pop hit with Zedd and Grey. Morris would join Swift on the short list of artists who have received record of the year nominations for both pop and country records. Swift was nominated in the category once when she was a core country artist (for “You Belong With Me”), once when she was flirting with pop but still officially country (“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”) and twice as a pure pop artist (“Shake It Off” and “Blank Space”).
Lady Gaga: Gaga could land her first album of the year nod in nine years with Chromatica. Gaga’s three previous nods in that category were for The Fame (2009), The Fame Monster (2010) and Born This Way (2011). Moreover, Gaga and Ariana Grande could land a record of the year nomination for their smash “Rain on Me,” which entered the Hot 100 at No. 1. It would be the second nod in this category for both artists. Gaga was previously nominated for “Poker Face”; Grande, last year, for “7 Rings.”
Megan Thee Stallion–Beyoncé: Their collab, “Savage,” a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100, has a good chance at a record of the year nomination. This would be Beyoncé’s sixth nod in that category, which would enable her to surpass Streisand as the female artist with the most career nods. Incidentally, if both “Savage” and “Rain on Me” are nominated for record of the year, this would be the first time in Grammy history that two all-female collabs were nominated in that category in the same year. Just two all-female collabs have ever been nominated for record of the year: Brandy & Monica‘s “The Boy Is Mine” (1998) and the Iggy Azalea/Charli XCX collab “Fancy” (2014).
Post Malone: Posty is likely to be nominated for album of the year for Hollywood’s Bleeding and record of the year for the delectable ear candy “Circles.” This would be his second album of the year nod and his third record of the year nod in as many years. He was nominated two years ago for “Rockstar,” featuring 21 Savage, and last year for “Sunflower,” his team-up with Swae Lee. Post is vying to become only the fourth artist in Grammy history to make the finals in this category three (or more) years running. The first three were Frank Sinatra (who was nominated four years in a row from 1958-61), Roberta Flack (1972-74) and Steve Winwood (1986-88). (This would make for a pretty cool quartet.)
Lil Baby: “The Bigger Picture,” in which Lil Baby demonstrates his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, has a good chance of landing a song of the year nod. H.E.R.’s “I Can’t Breathe,” which won the VMA Award in the socially-minded best video for good category, could also be nominated. Several like-minded songs have been nominated for song of the year in recent years, namely Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” (2015), Beyoncé’s “Formation” (2016) and Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” (2018, which won both song and record of the year). “The Bigger Picture,” which was released less than three weeks after George Floyd’s killing, entered the Hot 100 at number three. Lil Baby’s aforementioned album, My Turn, is also in play for an album of the year nod.
Luke Combs: Combs’ sophomore album What You See Is What You Get has a good chance of landing an album of the year nod. The album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1 and has logged 26 weeks at No. 1 on Top Country Albums. No country album was nominated for album of the year last year. Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour was nominated (and won) two years ago.
The Chicks: Gaslighter, the country trio’s first studio album in 14 years, could put them back in the album of the year finals. The Chicks’ last three studio albums, Fly (1999), Home (2002) and Taking the Long Way (2006), were all nominated in this category. If Gaslighter is nominated, The Chicks would become the first act to make the album of the year finals with four consecutive studio albums since Billy Joel did it with 52nd Street (1979), Glass Houses (1980), The Nylon Curtain (1982) and An Innocent Man (1983).
Roddy Ricch: Ricch could land two record of the year nods, for his own smash “The Box,” which topped the Hot 100 for 11 weeks, and DaBaby’s “Rockstar,” on which he was featured, which spent seven weeks on top. That would make him only the second artist in Grammy history with two record of the year nods in the same year. The first was Pharrell Williams, who was featured on nominated hits by Daft Punk and Robin Thicke seven years ago. Ricch also has a reasonable chance of landing an album of the year nod for his debut, Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial. But don’t look for Ricch in the best new artist category. He won a Grammy last year as a featured artist on Nipsey Hussle’s “Racks in the Middle,” which makes him ineligible in that category.
Bad Bunny: The Puerto Rican singer, rapper, and songwriter has a good chance of landing an album of the year nod for YHLQMDLG. It would be the first Spanish-language album to be nominated in that category. The album already made history when it entered the Billboard 200 at No. 2, becoming the highest-charting all-Spanish album in the chart’s 54-year history.
BTS: Will this be the year that the K-Pop sensations finally receive their first Grammy nod? They won four VMA Awards, including three for their hit “On.” Either “On” or the newer “Dynamite” could rate a nod for best pop duo/group performance and even, perhaps, record of the year.
Doja Cat: The singer/rapper, whose “Say So” topped the Hot 100, won the VMA push best new artist award. She could land a Grammy nomination for best new artist Grammy, and maybe even a record of the year nod. But when she was younger, she made some negative comments about Blacks and gays, which certainly won’t help. And Dr. Luke, who produced “Say So” (under a pseudonym) and co-wrote the song, has some baggage of his own, due to Kesha’s allegations.
Dua Lipa: The British pop star won best new artist two years ago. She’s an album of the year contender with Future Nostalgia; a record of the year candidate with “Don’t Start Now.”
Lil Uzi Vert: The rapper, who was nominated for best new artist three years ago, is an album of the year possibility with his acclaimed Eternal Atake.