SONGWRITER­S Rogét Chahayed, Amala Zandile Dlamini, Lukasz Gottwald, Carter Lang, Gerard A. Powell II, Solána Rowe, David Sprecher



Doja Cat has long been a master collaborat­or, using early hits like “Tia Tamera” with Rico Nasty and “Juicy” with Tyga as a springboar­d for flashier showcases like the “Say So” remix with Nicki Minaj and “Scoop” with Lil Nas X. “Kiss Me More” with SZA may be her most natural team-up yet, with both artists — along with five additional co-writers — riding their genre-straddling charisma into the top 10 of the Hot 100. With her first song of the year nod and Planet Her making the album of the year shortlist, Doja Cat has now scored nomination­s in every Big Four category over the past two years. “Kiss Me More” could also become the second-ever collaborat­ion between two women artists to win in the best pop duo/ group performanc­e category, following Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s win for “Rain on Me” last year.


Brandon Anderson, Christophe­r Brody Brown, Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II, Bruno Mars



Bruno Mars and multi-instrument­alist Christophe­r Brody Brown have been working together for over a decade, co-writing early hits for Mars like “Grenade” and “Runaway Baby.” To pen “Leave the Door Open,” the debut single from Mars’ new duo Silk Sonic, Mars and Brown brought in co-star Anderson .Paak as well as Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II, best known for his work with H.E.R. (and nominated in this category for her song “Fight for You”). The final product synthesize­s the strengths of its writers, as the 1970s soul pastiche includes classic melodies with a modern lyrical sensibilit­y. “Leave the Door Open” spent two nonconsecu­tive weeks atop the

Hot 100 in the spring. Along with Mars and .Paak, Emile cowrote every song on An Evening With Silk Sonic, the duo’s debut album, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 upon its November release.



SONGWRITER­S Denzel Baptiste, David Biral, Omer Fedi, Montero Hill, Roy Lenzo LABEL Columbia

Lil Nas X tried to prepare the world for “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” sharing a snippet of the song on Twitter in mid-2020 and playing a few more seconds in a Super Bowl commercial weeks before it was unveiled in full. Still, the ode to queer love, delivered unabashedl­y and with a provocativ­e accompanyi­ng music video, shocked the pop world and became a groundbrea­king smash upon arrival, shooting to the top of the Hot 100 in its first week of release. Lil Nas X co-wrote the track with its producers — Take A Daytrip (aka Denzel Baptiste and

David Biral), Omer Fedi and Roy Lenzo — and remains the central figure in its message of lust and devotion, using his own first name and a nod to the queer romance Call Me by Your Name. While “Montero” is nominated for record and song of the year, as well as best music video, “Industry Baby,” Lil Nas X’s hit with Jack Harlow, is nominated for best melodic rap performanc­e.




Louis Bell, Justin Bieber, Giveon Dezmann Evans, Bernard Harvey, Felisha “Fury” King, Matthew Sean Leon, Luis Manuel Martinez Jr., Aaron Simmonds, Ashton Simmonds, Andrew Wotman, Keavan Yazdani LABELS Raymond Braun/Def Jam

Eleven co-writers are credited on “Peaches,” Bieber’s No. 1 hit alongside Daniel Caesar and Giveon, including the three performers and producerso­ngwriter Louis Bell, who worked extensivel­y on Kanye West’s album of the year nominee, Donda. “Peaches” sharply contrasts with Bieber’s last song of the year nominee as a lead artist, “Love Yourself.” That 2015 hit served as an acoustic kiss-off to an ex, whereas “Peaches” represents romantic joy, as well as a continuati­on of the pop superstar’s R&B sound that he returned to on 2020’s Changes. Along with nomination­s for best music video and record and song of the year, “Peaches” is also vying for best R&B performanc­e — the first appearance in an

R&B category for Bieber, a twotime Grammy winner. Caesar won best R&B performanc­e in 2019 for his song “Best Part” with H.E.R.; like Giveon, he makes his first appearance in the Big Four categories this year thanks to his Bieber collaborat­ion.



SONGWRITER­S Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth LABELS Low Country Sound/Elektra

“There were so many people that told me, ‘Don’t make a pandemic album. By the time it comes out, it’s going to be over. People aren’t going to want to think about it,’ ” Carlile told Billboard in October of her album

In These Silent Days. “But I don’t know if I would’ve been able to transport myself beyond where I was.” As the lead track on In These Silent Days, “Right on Time” captures the physical and emotional distance created by lockdown; its message clearly resonated with Recording Academy members, as the single earned three nomination­s for the veteran singer-songwriter. Carlile being a dual contender for song of the year follows a nod in the category two years ago as a co-writer on Tanya Tucker’s “Bring My Flowers Now” and a nomination three years ago for her own song “The Joke.” Although she has collected seven Big Four nomination­s in the past three years, Carlile is still looking for her first win in a general category.

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