Article by Emma Celenza
Once again, awards season is upon us, and the 66th Annual Grammy Awards are premiering on Sunday, February 4th. They were created by the Recording Academy, which is the organization that recognizes music industry professionals and their achievements through the Grammy Awards. This year was interesting for the music industry. With a continuous shift from hip-hop and rap to country and pop, the nominations for the Grammys certainly kept up with the times. This year, the Recording Academy has yet again inched closer to giving the people what they really want: diverse nominations. That is not to say the “Taylor Swifts” of the world were not nominated, but artists who have spent time in the shadows are finally getting the recognition they deserve. With so many artists, songs, albums, and performances up for nominations, it can be hard to keep track of what is happening. This is something that people have been trying to figure out since the nominations list came out, so here are some predictions for the “General Field” for the Grammys this year.
Record of the Year – “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish
Record Of The Year recognizes artists, producers, and engineers who help to record a song. “What Was I Made For” is a beautiful song, especially if you put it in the context of the movie it was written for, Barbie. It takes skill to be able to capture so much emotion into a song, even if the people listening to it are not watching the movie it is from. Although we could say that songwriting played an important role in making this song as moving as it is, Billie Eilish and her team (FINNEAS, Rob Kinelski, and Randy Merrill) worked to create an amazing song through the mixing, mastering, production, and performance of the vocals and instrumentals. Eilish chose to sing in a breathy falsetto, which is a tough tone to manage for most singers. However, this attention to detail in the delivery of her vocals shows that her and her team were focused on making sure every aspect of this song was perfect for a movie so culturally significant.
Album of the Year – Midnights by Taylor Swift
With 2023 being the “Year of Taylor Swift,” Midnights might take this category. Swift had a solid production team and put notable effort into her songwriting and delivery. There are a lot of things you can say about Swift, but her success honestly says it all. You know that the work she is creating is familiar and consistent because people are consuming it enough to the point where it is recognized everywhere. It is Taylor Swifts’ world and we are truly just living in it.
Song of the Year – “Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift
Song Of The Year recognizes the songwriters behind the music. While SZA or Olivia Rodgrigo could win this award, it will probably go to Taylor Swift for reasons mentioned before. We know Swift is an amazing songwriter, considering that she has played a significant role in writing her own music. She also works with Jack Antonoff, who not only produces her music but is also credited as a songwriter, who will probably win the Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical category.
Best New Artist – Noah Kahan
Although Coco Jones and Ice Spice have risen to popularity, Noah Kahan will most likely win this category. Kahan has played an integral role in shifting the music industry towards country music. Kahan blends genres such as folk, alternative, and pop to create the music we hear literally everywhere. You cannot scroll through social media without some person or company using a Noah Kahan song in one of their posts, and you would probably hear another when you go to a restaurant or store. Kahan’s music seems to follow you wherever you go. It is inescapable.
Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical – Jack Antonoff
As previously mentioned, 2023 was the “Year of Taylor Swift,” but it was huge for pop music as well. Antonoff not only produced many of Swift’s songs, but has also worked with artists such as The 1975, Lana Del Ray, and Victoria Monét. While Metro Boomin is a strong competitor for this award, it will probably go to Antonoff because of the song charts shifting away from hip-hop and rap and more towards Antonoff’s specialties.
Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical – Shane McAnally
Since we’re seeing the rising popularity of country music on song charts, we’ll see that reflected in the Songwriter Of The Year category with Shane McAnally taking the category. He has worked with various different artists and groups from Niall Horan and Sam Hunt to Carly Pearce and Chris Stapleton. This array of artists not only shows how important he is in the world of country music, but also how versatile the genre is becoming. However, if we are basing the winner off of the criteria mentioned before, then he has some real competition with Jessie Jo Dillon, who has worked with relatively newer country artists.
Remember that all of this is subjective because music as a whole is subjective. There is no guarantee that these artists will win these categories, except for Taylor Swift who will probably win most of the awards she was nominated for. All in all, the Grammys are here to acknowledge the hard work music industry professionals have put into their work. Each of these artists, songs, albums, and performances were nominated because they are considered “good.” Like other award ceremonies, the Grammys highlight work that defined the year before. Everything nominated is a part of our history and probably worth a listen.