Brandi Carlile is the first female songwriter to land two Grammy nods for song of the year in the same year. She is nominated for her own track “Right on Time” and for “A Beautiful Noise,” which she recorded with Alicia Keys. Carlile and Keys co-wrote the latter song with six other female writers.
Carlile is one of two songwriters with two song of the year nods this year. Dernst Emile II, better known as D’Mile, also has double nods for H.E.R.’s “Fight for You” and Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open.”
The double nods for Carlile were made possible by the Recording Academy’s expansion of the number of nominees in each of the Big Four categories from eight to 10 this year. The Academy has confirmed that “Right on Time” is one of two songs that received a nomination as a result of that eleventh-hour decision. (The other was the Doja Cat/SZA gem “Kiss Me More.”)
This is the first time that any songwriter or songwriting team has had two song of the year nominations in the same year since 1994. It’s the first time that two separate songwriters have accomplished the feat in the same year since 1979, when, owing to ties, eight songs were nominated in the category.
Final round voting for the 64th annual Grammy Awards is underway. Voting members of the Recording Academy have until Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. PT to cast their ballots. The winners will be announced on the Grammy telecast on Jan. 31.
Here are all of the songwriters that have received two song of the year nominations in the same year. They are listed in reverse chronological order.
2021—Brandi Carlile: The singer/songwriter is nominated for her own track “Right on Time,” which she co-wrote with Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth, and for “A Beautiful Noise,” which she recorded with Alicia Keys and co-wrote with Keys, Ruby Amanfu, Brandy Clark, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Linda Perry and Hailey Whitters.
2021—D’Mile: The songwriter has double nods for H.E.R.’s “Fight for You,” the Oscar-winning song which he co-wrote with H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas, and Silk Sonic’s spot-on ’70s soul flashback “Leave the Door Open,” which he co-wrote with Christopher Brody Brown and the members of Silk Sonic, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak.
1994—Elton John & Tim Rice: The pair were nominated for both “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “Circle of Life.” They wrote both songs for the box-office smash The Lion King. Bruce Springsteen won the song of the year Grammy for “Streets of Philadelphia.” Both “Streets” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” won Oscars for best original song, but due to different eligibility periods at the Oscars and the Grammys, they went head-to-head here. (John, a long-time AIDS activist, probably didn’t mind losing the Grammy to a song that expressed empathy and compassion for people with AIDS.)
1983—Michael Jackson: MJ was nominated for both “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” Both classic singles from Thriller reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The double nods may have split his vote, allowing Sting to win for “Every Breath You Take.”
1979—Michael McDonald: The blue-eyed-soul master won for co-writing “What a Fool Believes” and was nominated for co-writing “Minute by Minute.” The Doobie Brothers, of which he was a member, popularized both songs. McDonald co-wrote the former with Kenny Loggins; the latter, the title song of the group’s then-current album, with Lester Abrams.
1979—Dino Fekaris & Freddie Perren: The pair was nominated for co-writing “I Will Survive,” the disco smash and instant anthem popularized by Gloria Gaynor, and “Reunited,” the tender ballad popularized by Peaches & Herb. Both singles reached No. 1 on the Hot 100. As noted above, “What a Fool Believes” won. Perren was the first Black songwriter to receive two song of the year nods in the same year. (Jackson and D’Mile were second and third, respectively.)
1971—Kris Kristofferson: The songwriter and future film star was nominated for the exquisite “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” popularized by Sammi Smith, and “Me and Bobby McGee,” popularized by Janis Joplin. Kristofferson teamed with Fred Foster to write the latter song. Carole King won for “You’ve Got a Friend.”
1969—Burt Bacharach & Hal David: The peerless pair were nominated for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” popularized by B.J. Thomas, and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” popularized by Dionne Warwick. They wrote the former song for the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; the latter for the Broadway show Promises, Promises. Joe South won for “Games People Play.” It probably won because it was seen as “relevant,” a buzzword of the era.
1968—Bobby Russell: Russell won that year for the philosophical “Little Green Apples,” popularized by both O.C. Smith and Roger Miller. Russell was also nominated for the tearjerker “Honey,” popularized by Bobby Goldsboro.
1967—Jimmy Webb: The prodigy, then just 21, won for the effervescent “Up, Up and Away,” popularized by the Fifth Dimension. He was also nominated for the sublime “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” popularized by Glen Campbell.
1963—Johnny Mercer: Mercer won that year for the melancholy “Days of Wine and Roses,” which he co-wrote with Henry Mancini. Mercer had a second nomination with “I Wanna Be Around,” which he co-wrote with Sadie Vimmerstedt. Andy Williams helped popularize the former; Tony Bennett popularized the latter.