Grammy nom­i­na­tions are an­nounced

The Day - - DAYBREAK - By RANDY LEWIS

Record­ing Acad­emy vot­ers were most im­pressed this year with the sound of Wakanda, the fic­tional African coun­try from the film “Black Pan­ther.”

The mu­sic Compton rap­per Kendrick La­mar as­sem­bled to ac­com­pany the Marvel Stu­dios block­buster re­ceived a field-lead­ing eight nom­i­na­tions for its al­bum and sin­gles, in­clud­ing the hat trick of recognition in the top three cat­e­gories of record, al­bum and song of the year.

This is the sec­ond time in La­mar’s ca­reer that he has led the Grammy nom­i­nees. La­mar went into the 2016 cer­e­mony with 11 nom­i­na­tions tied to his “To Pimp a But­ter­fly” and last year, his “Damn” com­peted for al­bum of the year, ul­ti­mately los­ing to Bruno Mars.

This year his hip-hop peer Drake scored seven nods, and a pair of artists have six nom­i­na­tions: Wash­ing­ton state-bred singer-song­writer Brandi Carlile and pro­ducer Boi-1Da.

La­mar has com­pany in pulling off nom­i­na­tions for record, al­bum and song of the year: Carlile and Drake also have nom­i­na­tions in the three mar­quee cat­e­gories, per­haps a re­flec­tion this year of the acad­emy’s ex­pan­sion of the top award fields this year to ac­com­mo­date a broader range of nom­i­nated artists.

In­stead of the usual five nom­i­nated works in each of those fields, this year Record­ing Acad­emy vot­ers spread the wealth among eight nom­i­nees in each cat­e­gory, one of the first steps the acad­emy has taken since last year’s awards were roundly crit­i­cized for a dearth of fe­male win­ners at the top of the heap.

At first glance, it ap­pears this year’s top nom­i­nees are more eq­ui­tably dis­trib­uted: Among the 11 mul­ti­ple nom­i­nees with five or more nods, the break­down is six males and five fe­males.

But look­ing be­yond to the 42 peo­ple with three or more nom­i­na­tions, a gen­der dis­par­ity is still ap­par­ent: 32 are male and just 10 are fe­male.

While hip-hop and R&B again dom­i­nate the most rec­og­nized works, the in­creased num­ber of en­tries made room for Carlile’s emo­tion­ally re­veal­ing in­die folk-pop, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s paean to star-crossed lovers that is “Shal­low” from “A Star is Born,” and the mas­sive hit “The Mid­dle” from Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey, an Auto-Tuned slice of con­tem­po­rary pop.

“I think what we see is an ac­cu­rate pulse,” Acad­emy Pres­i­dent and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Neil Port­now told The Times.

“That’s what I see and that’s what we strive to have,” he said. “What I see (in the nom­i­na­tions) re­flects the sto­ries in mu­sic this year, but also, as we don’t view this through the lens of charts and sales or mar­ket­ing or stream­ing or even so­cial me­dia at­ten­tion gen­er­ated; we see it through the lens of ex­cel­lence and peer re­view, and I’m very proud of what we have in front of us in all these 84 cat­e­gories.”

Along with “Black Pan­ther,” which fea­tures con­tri­bu­tions from a plethora of ma­jor artists, al­bum-of-the-year nods went to Carlile’s “By the Way, I Forgive You,” Drake’s “Scor­pion,” Cardi B’s “In­va­sion of Pri­vacy,” H.E.R.’s “H.E.R.,” Post Malone’s “Beer­bongs & Bent­leys,” Janelle Monáe’s “Dirty Com­puter” and Kacey Mus­graves’ “Golden Hour.”

Else­where, the in­ter­sec­tion of mu­sic and the movies proved to be a pow­er­ful thread run­ning through many of the nom­i­na­tions, most no­table via La­mar’s “Black Pan­ther” recognition and the mul­ti­ple nods for Gaga and Cooper re­lated to “A Star is Born.”

Nom­i­nees for record of the year, an award salut­ing mu­si­cal per­for­mance and record pro­duc­tion, are “I Like It” from Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin; Child­ish Gam­bino’s po­lit­i­cally charged “This Is Amer­ica”; Drake’s “God’s Plan”; Lady Gaga and Cooper’s “Shal­low”; La­mar and SZA’s duet “All the Stars”; Zedd, Morris and Grey’s “The Mid­dle”; and Carlile’s “The Joke,” which re­ceived a high-pro­file boost when for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in­cluded it on a playlist of his fa­vorite re­cent songs.

Six of those eight also col­lected nom­i­na­tions for song of the year, a song­writer’s award. In ad­di­tion to “All the Stars,” “God’s Plan,” “The Joke,” “The Mid­dle,” “Shal­low” and “This is Amer­ica,” the other two nom­i­nated songs are Ella Mai’s hit “Boo’d Up” and Shawn Mendes’ sin­gle “In My Blood.”

Last year’s male-heavy award dis­tri­bu­tion re­sulted in a #Gram­mysSoMale back­lash, a fac­tor in the acad­emy’s de­ci­sion to put to­gether a task force charged with an­a­lyz­ing con­scious or un­con­scious bi­ases in the mu­sic in­dus­try.

That 18-mem­ber group was an­nounced in May, un­der the di­rec­tion of Tina Tchen, who was chief of staff to for­mer First Lady Michelle Obama, and promptly rec­om­mended re­vi­sions to the makeup of some of the acad­emy’s com­mit­tees that over­see the awards.

Tchen told The Times this week the goal is not to gen­er­ate sta­tis­ti­cal gen­der or racial equal­ity among Grammy nom­i­nees and win­ners but to en­sure that the groups in­volved in the govern­ing and awards re­view pro­cesses are more rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the world at large.

“We have to re­mem­ber the mis­sion of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, which is to rec­og­nize ex­cel­lence in mu­sic,” Port­now added. “If you put on a blind­fold and lis­ten, and as a pro­fes­sional if you do that, you can do the best you can to cre­ate, es­sen­tially, ob­jec­tiv­ity out of some­thing that is in­her­ently sub­jec­tive, which is art.

“The re­spon­si­bil­ity of our vot­ers is first and fore­most to make that judg­ment about the mu­sic,” he con­tin­ued. “But as far as the prac­ti­cal piece of that, what’s im­por­tant is that there be no bar­ri­ers and there be no bias in terms of the process that leads to the cre­ative choices or that our vot­ers can make. That’s where there was work to be done. We have done that work and will con­tinue to do it.”

Among the noteworthy names largely miss­ing in ac­tion from the lat­est slate of Grammy nom­i­na­tions were Taylor Swift and Kanye West.

Swift’s sixth al­bum, “Rep­u­ta­tion,” was the year’s best-sell­ing al­bum, ac­cord­ing to Bill­board, and re­ceived gen­er­ally en­thu­si­as­tic re­views: It scored at 71 (out of a pos­si­ble 100) on Me­ta­critic. com’s re­view ag­gre­gate web­site but landed her just a sin­gle nom­i­na­tion, for pop vo­cal al­bum.

West’s “Ye,” re­leased in June, tal­lied a 64 on the same site, the low­est of his ca­reer, and he is in con­tention for just one Grammy, as non-clas­si­cal pro­ducer of the year for his work on five al­bums, in­clud­ing “Ye.”

Like­wise, al­though Detroit rap­per Eminem re­leased a new al­bum “Kamikaze” that was among the year’s 20 best-sell­ing al­bums, the artist col­lected just a sin­gle nom­i­na­tion as co-writer of “Lucky You,” in the rap song cat­e­gory.

AMY HARRIS/INVISION/AP, FILE

Kendrick La­mar leads this year’s Grammy nom­i­na­tions with eight.

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