Grammy snubs: Taylor Swift, Sam Smith and the Carters

The Detroit News - - Weekend - RAN­DALL ROBERTS Los An­ge­les Times

The Record­ing Acad­emy may have ex­panded the field in the four gen­eral cat­e­gories from five to eight nom­i­nees, but con­sid­er­ing that thou­sands of el­i­gi­ble al­bums came out last year, snubs are not only in­evitable, but also guar­an­teed.

Take, for ex­am­ple, for­mer best new artist win­ner Sam Smith.

The plat­inum singer per­formed “Pray” at Jan­uary’s cer­e­mony and was the king of the pro­ceed­ings in 2015, when he re­ceived best new artist and his smash bal­lad “Stay With Me” took home hon­ors for record and song of the year.

This year? Noth­ing.

De­spite is­su­ing a sopho­more al­bum, “The Thrill of It All,” within the el­i­gi­bil­ity pe­riod, nei­ther the al­bum nor any of its sin­gles earned nom­i­na­tions. One rea­son: De­spite gen­er­ally pos­i­tive re­views, the al­bum wasn’t nearly as in­escapable as his de­but.

Taylor Swift cer­tainly wasn’t lack­ing in crit­i­cal or com­mer­cial suc­cess, but that didn’t help her earn any pres­tige nom­i­na­tions. Her “Rep­u­ta­tion” al­bum got just one nod, in the pop vo­cal al­bum cat­e­gory.

Swift has tough com­pe­ti­tion, most no­tably from odds-on fa­vorite Ari­ana Grande’s record “Sweet­ener.” Also com­pet­ing against them: Pink, Camila Ca­bello and Shawn Mendes.

Two other su­per­stars, Jay-Z and Bey­once, could very well have run the field for their record “Ev­ery­thing Is Love.” But this is the Gram­mys, and al­though the mar­ried cou­ple tower over pop mu­sic like gi­ants stomp­ing through the Man­hat­tan sky­line, Record­ing Acad­emy vot­ers ap­par­ently didn’t see it that way this year.

In the past, both have re­ceived plenty of love in the al­bum of the year field — Bey­once most re­cently for her 2016 al­bum “Lemon­ade” and Jay-Z for 2017’s “4:44” — so it’s a bit of a sur­prise to see them ab­sent from the top field this year. Still, the charis­matic duo got three nom­i­na­tions: R&B per­for­mance for “The Sum­mer,” and ur­ban con­tem­po­rary al­bum and mu­sic video for


Shock­ingly ab­sent from any of the jazz cat­e­gories is Los An­ge­les sax player and com­poser Ka­masi Wash­ing­ton.

His al­bum “Heaven & Earth” was one of the most ac­claimed of the year, and it landed on many crit­ics’ year-end lists. Con­sid­er­ing the ways in which Wash­ing­ton’s work has rein­vig­o­rated the West Coast jazz scene, the ex­clu­sion is no­table.

But maybe it’s not too sur­pris­ing af­ter all. Wash­ing­ton was snubbed in the 59th Grammy Awards as well, when his break­out al­bum, “The Epic,” failed to get no­ticed by vot­ers.

Also shunned? The late singer­rap­per XXXtenta­cion, who was killed in June at age 20 dur­ing an at­tempted rob­bery. The con­tro­ver­sial artist had built a devoted fan base and ac­claim through so­cial me­dia and signed to a sub­sidiary of Capi­tol Mu­sic Group be­fore his death.

He ac­com­plished all this de­spite that in 2016 he was charged with mul­ti­ple felonies for al­legedly beat­ing and chok­ing his then-preg­nant ex-girl­friend and was fac­ing 30 years in prison. His la­bel might have been will­ing to hold its nose while cash­ing the checks, but Grammy vot­ers ap­par­ently weren’t.

Taylor Swift



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