Many expected Khalid to do well in the 62nd annual Grammy nominations. The singer has broad appeal across lines of genre, generation, race and gender. But when the nominations were announced last week, Khalid received just one nomination: record of the year for his smash “Talk.”
“Talk,” which Khalid co-wrote with brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence of the English dance duo Disclosure, was passed over for nominations for song of the year and best R&B song. His performance of the song was passed over for a nom for best R&B performance. His other smash, “Better,” was passed over for a nomination for best pop solo performance. Khalid’s sophomore album, Free Spirit, was passed over for noms for album of the year and best urban contemporary album.
Two years ago, Khalid received five Grammy noms–best new artist; best R&B song for “Location;” best urban contemporary album for his debut, American Teen; and song of the year and best music video for the socially-minded “1-800-273-8255,” on which he teamed with Logic and Alessia Cara.
What happened this year? Who knows? The committees that determined the final nominations in these categories obviously made other choices. (Perhaps Khalid fell between the cracks between pop and R&B.) Of course, if you’re going to be nominated in just one category, record of the year may be the best category in which to be nominated. It is perhaps the most high-profile Grammy category.
It’s a similar story with Lewis Capaldi, who also received just one nomination: song of the year for “Someone You Loved. He was passed over for a nomination for best new artist. “Someone You Loved” was passed over for a nomination for record of the year. Capaldi’s performance of the song was passed over for a nomination for best pop solo performance. His debut album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, was passed over for a nomination for best pop vocal album. Still, he’s up for song of the year, another of the highest-profile awards.
About all the Grammys can say is “quality over quantity. You’re not up for a lot of awards, but you’re up in one of the categories that everyone pays attention to.”
Rogers’ debut album, Heard It in a Past Life, was passed over for a nomination for best pop vocal album; Black Pumas’ eponymous debut album was passed over for a nomination for best alternative music album; Tank and the Bangas’ sophomore album, Green Balloon, was passed over for a nomination for best urban contemporary album.
As one of the “Big Four” categories, best new artist receives more media, industry and fan attention than any of those genre album awards. As such, it will probably do these artists’ careers more good than a nomination in one of those other categories would have. Still, it’s kind of odd that artists that weren’t nominated in their genre album categories wind up with a nomination for best new artist.
Lana Del Rey is nominated in just two categories: album of the year for Norman F***ing Rockwell and song of the year for the title track. The album was passed over for a nom for best pop vocal album — a category in which she was nominated with two previous albums, Paradise (2013) and Lust for Life (2017). The title track was passed over for a nom for record of the year. Del Rey’s performance of it was passed over for a nom for best pop solo performance.
Del Rey can hardly complain. She is nominated for two of the three biggest awards. But she doubtless would have liked to receive more nominations.
One explanation is that the Grammys want to share the wealth. Rather than shower a limited number of artists with nominations across-the-board, they are letting more artists save a taste of Grammy glory.