Drake leads Cana­dian charge

Times Colonist - - Arts - DAVID FRIEND

TORONTO — Cana­dian su­per­star Drake emerged one of the lead­ing artists at the Grammy Award nom­i­na­tions on Fri­day, pick­ing up seven nods, many of them in key cat­e­gories.

Join­ing the for­mer De­grassi High ac­tor on the list of nom­i­nated Cana­di­ans are sev­eral per­form­ers with ties to Van­cou­ver Is­land. Diana Krall earned two nom­i­na­tions for her col­lab­o­ra­tion with Tony Ben­nett. Love is Here To Stay is in the run­ning for best tra­di­tional pop vo­cal al­bum, while their duet, ‘S Won­der­ful, is com­pet­ing for best pop duo/group per­for­mance.

Vic­to­ria-raised artist Roy Henry Vick­ers drew a best boxed or spe­cial lim­ited edi­tion pack­age nom­i­na­tion for his art di­rec­tion on Pa­cific North­west ‘73-74’: The Com­plete Record­ings. The boxed set by the Grate­ful Dead was over­seen by Vic­to­ria-based au­dio­vi­sual ar­chiv­ist David Lemieux. While he didn’t of­fi­cially re­ceive a nom­i­na­tion, Vic­to­ria gui­tarist Quinn Bac­hand also felt some Grammy Award love on Fri­day. He played on a nom­i­nated record­ing by the group Kit­tel & Co., whose leader and com­poser, Jeremy Kit­tel, re­ceived a best in­stru­men­tal com­po­si­tion for his song, Chrysalis.

The recognition for Drake’s work on his 2018 dou­ble-al­bum Scor­pion, as well as con­tri­bu­tions to other rap­pers’ tracks, comes af­ter the Toronto-raised per­former boy­cotted last year’s Gram­mys by choos­ing not to sub­mit any­thing from his pre­vi­ous re­lease, More Life.

Drake’s change of heart this year helped Scor­pion pick up nom­i­na­tions in sev­eral top cat­e­gories — al­bum, record and song of the year for God’s Plan.

Shawn Mendes emerged with the first Grammy nom­i­na­tions of his ca­reer. The pop singer, raised in Pick­er­ing, Ont., was named in two cat­e­gories — song of the year for In My Blood and best pop vo­cal al­bum.

Song­writer Geoffrey Warburton, who also hails from Pick­er­ing, shares the In My Blood song nom­i­na­tion with Mendes.

In two cat­e­gories, Drake will com­pete with him­self for the golden gramo­phone. His song God’s Plan is also vy­ing for best rap per­for­mance against Travis Scott’s Sicko Mode, a track on which Drake ap­pears as a guest.

He’s also nom­i­nated twice in the rap song cat­e­gory, where God’s Plan and Sicko Mode are among the con­tenders for the award given to the song­writ­ers.

Sev­eral of Drake’s as­so­ciates also landed Grammy recognition.

Boi-1da, born Matthew Sa­muels in Toronto, was nom­i­nated as pro­ducer for his body of work this year, which in­cludes songs with Drake, Cardi B, GEazy, and Bey­oncé and Jay-Z. Sa­muels also re­ceived two nom­i­na­tions in the best rap song cat­e­gory as a song­writer on Eminem’s Lucky You and Jay Rock’s Win.

Noah She­bib, an­other one of Drake’s col­lab­o­ra­tors, is rec­og­nized with three nom­i­na­tions for songs from the Scor­pion al­bum.

In other cat­e­gories, Daniel Cae­sar ap­peared in the R&B per­for­mance cat­e­gory for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, this time for the song Best Part, a duet with Cal­i­for­nia-based singer H.E.R.

Jim (Kimo) West, who was born in Toronto and is known as “Weird Al” Yankovic’s gui­tarist, is nom­i­nated for Moku Maluhia — Peace­ful Is­land in the new age al­bum cat­e­gory.

Bran­don, Man.-raised vi­o­lin­ist James Ehnes is nom­i­nated for clas­si­cal in­stru­men­tal solo for his con­certo Ker­nis, while Toron­to­born con­duc­tor Peter Ound­jian also re­ceived a nod for clas­si­cal com­pen­dium.

Vi­o­lin­ist Christina Day Martin­son, from Saskatchewan, is nom­i­nated in the clas­si­cal in­stru­men­tal solo cat­e­gory for Biber: The Mys­tery Sonatas with the Bos­ton Baroque.

Kendrick La­mar emerged as the top Grammy con­tender with eight nom­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing seven for his mu­si­cal com­pan­ion to the Marvel Stu­dios jug­ger­naut Black Pan­ther star­ring Chad­wick Bose­man and Michael B. Jor­dan. Black Pan­ther: The Al­bum, Mu­sic From and In­spired By is up for al­bum of the year, a cat­e­gory where women make up five of the eight nom­i­nees.

Cardi B, Kacey Mus­graves, Janelle Monae, H.E.R. and Brandi Carlile also are up for the top prize, along with Drake and Post Malone.

The up­com­ing Gram­mys is the first where the acad­emy ex­tended its top four cat­e­gories from five nom­i­nees to eight.

The Pan­ther nom­i­na­tion would give La­mar a chance to win al­bum of the year af­ter los­ing three times. His most re­cent loss was in Fe­bru­ary when his crit­i­cally ac­claimed DAMN fell short to Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic, though La­mar’s pro­ject would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize for mu­sic two months later, mak­ing him the first non-clas­si­cal or jazz artist to win the pres­ti­gious hon­our.

La­mar’s Top 10 hit, the SZAas­sisted All the Stars, is nom­i­nated for both record and song of the year (a song­writer’s award). Five other songs scored nom­i­na­tions in both cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Shal­low from A Star Is Born; Child­ish Gam­bino’s This Is Amer­ica; Drake’s God’s Plan; Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey’s The Mid­dle; and Carlile’s The Joke.

Ella Mai’s Boo’d Up joined Mendes in song of the year nods, while Post Malone’s Rock­star and Cardi B’s I Like It fea­tur­ing Bad Bunny and J Balvin, round out the nom­i­nees for record of the year.

Cardi B, Gaga, H.E.R., Morris, Gam­bino, pro­ducer Soun­wave and engi­neer Mike Bozzi scored five nom­i­na­tions each.

The nom­i­nees for the 2019 Gram­mys mark a de­par­ture from this year’s show, where women were un­der­rep­re­sented in the top four cat­e­gories. Of the eight best new artist nom­i­nees, six are women, in­clud­ing H.E.R., Chloe x Halle, Dua Lipa, Margo Price, Bebe Rexha and Jorja Smith. Rock band Greta Van Fleet and coun­try singer Luke Combs also earned nom­i­na­tions.

Record­ing Acad­emy CEO Neil Port­now was crit­i­cized ear­lier this year at the Gram­mys when he said women need to “step up” when asked about the lack of women in the top cat­e­gories, which he later ac­knowl­edged was a “poor choice of words.” It forced the acad­emy to launch a new task force fo­cused on in­clu­sion and diver­sity; Port­now also an­nounced he would be leav­ing the acad­emy in 2019.

“In any given year there could be more folks from one area or one gen­der or one genre or one eth­nic­ity that are mak­ing record­ings and be­ing suc­cess­ful with them than in an­other year. So, in many ways we’re just a re­flec­tion of that,” Port­now said in an in­ter­view with the As­so­ci­ated Press. “This year clearly there were many women not only mak­ing mu­sic but mak­ing great mu­sic and mak­ing mu­sic that res­onates with our peer vot­ers in terms of ex­cel­lence, and so that cer­tainly is at the fore­front.”

An­other mile­stone for women is in the non-clas­si­cal pro­ducer of the year cat­e­gory, where song­writer ex­traor­di­naire Linda Perry earned a nom­i­na­tion. She’s just the sev­enth woman ever nom­i­nated for prize and first since 2004.

“Linda rep­re­sents what we hope be­comes the norm, which is the elim­i­na­tion of gen­der bias in pro­duc­ing and en­gi­neer­ing in our in­dus­try,” Port­now said.

Perry will com­pete with Phar­rell Wil­liams, Boi-1Da, Larry Klein and Kanye West, the only nom­i­na­tion he earned.

Taylor Swift, a two-time al­bum of the year win­ner, also only earned one nom­i­na­tion — her rep­u­ta­tion al­bum is up for best pop vo­cal al­bum. Justin Tim­ber­lake, whose Man of the Woods al­bums flopped this year, picked up a nod for Say Some­thing, his col­lab­o­ra­tion with Chris Sta­ple­ton.


Cana­dian singer Drake earned seven Grammy nom­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing al­bum of the year for God’s Plan.


Kendrick La­mar led all Grammy nom­i­nees with eight.

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