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Grammy Awards 2014 Preview

It’s upon us again—the biggest night of the music industry. The 56th Annual Grammy Awards will be telecast live on Sunday night from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, with awards for current hitmakers and performances from some of the biggest names in music, both past and present.

The year in music has been an interesting one, to say the least, marked by stellar comebacks (Justin Timberlake, Daft Punk) set alongside meteoric rises to fame (Lorde, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Imagine Dragons). The nominations reflect this spread, to the point that there were some surprises as to who was kept in and who was left out. (For example, Lorde was snubbed for Best New Artist, yet her song “Royals” is up for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

An interesting trend this year is a notable absence of indie-folk on the radar, signifying that this latest wave may have peaked. Where years past saw breakthrough nominations and/or wins from the likes of Bon Iver, The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, this year saw fewer high-profile releases in this vein, and consequently a void in the Grammy nods.

What is filling said void? Electro-pop, R&B and hip-hop, it would appear.  Not only do these styles dominate on the “big categories” (Record of the Year is monopolized by these three genres, for example), but by the numbers, R&B and rap artists have the most nods by far. Jay Z has a whopping nine Grammy nominations this year, followed by newcomer rap artists Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, R&B-pop icon Justin Timberlake, and producer Pharrell Williams, who are all tied for seven nominations apiece.

I’ll put out specific predictions tomorrow, but as a general prediction, don’t look for an Adele runaway repeat this year from the artists. Lorde, Macklemore & Lewis and Kendrick Lamar should have good nights, but the spread and momentum of the nominees this year is balanced enough that even the big nominees will probably not win in all their categories.

Indeed, the performances are usually among the high points of the telecast, and this year should be no exception.  Besides anticipated performances by the likes of Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Metallica and John Legend, watch for first-time Grammy performers like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Lorde and Kacey Musgraves to make their mark. Of course, some of the best Grammy moments come from the collaborations, and this year has some doozies—including Robin Thicke with Chicago; Daft Punk with Stevie Wonder and Pharrell Williams; a reunion of surviving Beatles Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney; and a rocking finale featuring David Grohl, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age and Lindsey Buckingham. There are also likely to be a few surprises along the way—rumors have been flying that Beyoncé and Madonna will both make surprise appearances, though that is not confirmed.

The Grammy Awards will be telecast live on Sunday night starting at 8:00 EST on CBS.

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About the Author


David Tillman is an independent composer/arranger whose primary work involves writing jingles for commercials for radio and television, with several film and television placements to his credit as well. David has a fascination for all things related to the music business and the music industry in general, an obsession which his wife finds to be mildly unhealthy at times. His personal tastes in music are in electronica and industrial rock, and include The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails (he loves that Trent Reznor is writing soundtracks!). When not in his office or in his man-cave, David enjoys skiing, hiking, the occasional game of golf, and sometimes just lounging by the pool. David lives with his wife and three children in Los Angeles, CA.

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