Jon Batiste might be the Grammys’ biggest surprise: the multi-genre artist and recent Oscar winner made such an impression on voters that he scored the most nominations with 11 on Tuesday.
Batiste won album of the year for “We Are” as well as record of the year with “Freedom”, an ode to well-being to the city of New Orleans. His nominations span several genres, including R&B, jazz, American roots music, classical and music videos.
“Oh my God. I’m still in a state of amazement and shock,” Batiste told The Associated Press moments after learning of the nominations. âI’m really happy that we were able to do something with artistic integrity and have it recognized.
Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and HER each walked away with the second-highest number of nominations with eight as the Recording Academy finished announcing its nominees for its Jan. 31 show. Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo both had seven nods.
Along with Batiste’s surprise dominance, another shock was The Weeknd’s three nominations after the pop star claimed he would not allow his label to submit his music. Earlier this year, he angrily criticized the Grammys, calling them “corrupt” after not receiving any nominations despite the biggest single of 2020, “Blinding Lights.”
Even though The Weeknd announced he would boycott future Grammys, he still got nominated for his work on Album of the Year projects, including Doja Cat’s deluxe edition “Planet Her” and ” Donda âby Kanye West. Her third nomination was for her appearance on West’s single “Hurricane”, which also features Lil Baby.
âWhat I love is the fact that no one thinks about what happened before, what the controversy was, what the noise was or where this artist was making music last year,â said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. He said voters focused on “excellence in music” while considering candidates like Batiste and Kacey Musgraves, whose work evenly falls into different categories.
âVoters really value music and don’t get swayed by the reputation of any other outside noise or any artist story,â he continued. “With that in mind, I think they vote for things they recognize as excellence.”
Mason said he was happy with the new peer voting system after seeing the list of candidates. He instituted the 10-3 initiative, which allows more than 11,000 academy members to vote for up to 10 categories in three genres. All voters can vote for the first four prizes.
The new system replaced the anonymous Nomination Review Board – a group that determined key award nominees. Some claimed that committee members favor projects based on personal relationships and promote projects that they favor and work on.
Harvey knows the new voting system may not be perfect at first, but he believes the initiative will produce fair results in the long run.
âI know we didn’t all have a perfect result,â said Harvey. âI know there will be people who feel left out or that we missed a nomination here or there. It makes me sad because I don’t want anyone to have this feeling. But I have the impression that we are going in the right direction. I am satisfied with the way our constituents did the job.
Batiste attributed the changes to his nominations: âI really just want to donate props to the Grammys. They tried this year to make the process more inclusive and to focus on the music first. Other creators have listened to the music and decided to give me these nominations and I am very grateful to them.
For the first time, the academy has increased the number of nominees in general domain categories from eight to 10. The change impacts categories such as record, album, song of the year and best new artist.
Harvey said the academy has increased the number of places in general domain categories after seeing an increase in the number of votes over the past year, as well as the acceptance of new membership invitations and a number high of over 21,730 nominations submitted for Grammy consideration.
âWe thought the time was right,â he said. âWe saw an opportunity to do what the academy does, which is to showcase music, showcase the industry, and recognize excellence more broadly. With the change in our voting structure, we do not have a Nominating Review Committee. This gives our constituents the opportunity to have their voices heard, but also gives them the chance to have a larger pool to tap into when it comes to winning the Grammy. “
Other nominees for Album of the Year include: “Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe) by Bieber”, “Happier Than Ever” by Eilish, “Donda” by West, “Love for Sale” by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo, “Taylor Swift” evermore “and” MONTERO “by Lil Nas X.
Batiste, the conductor of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”, landed an offer in the Best Soundtrack for Visual Media category for his work on Pixar’s “Soul”, which won him the Oscar for best score earlier this year. Entering Tuesday, he had three Grammy nominations but no wins so far.
Batiste will compete for the record of the year against a multitude of candidates, including âI Get a Kick Out of Youâ by Bennett & Gaga, âI Still Have Faith in Youâ by ABBA, âPeachesâ by Bieber with Daniel Caesar and Giveon, “” by Brandi Carlile Just In Time “,” Kiss Me More “by Doja Cat with SZA,” MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name) by Lil Nas X “, Rodrigo’s” Driver’s License “,” Happier Than Ever “by Eilish and” Leave The Door Open “by Silk Sonic – the super duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak.
Jay-Z, who was nominated for three Grammys on Tuesday, now has the most nominations of all time at 83. The 23 Grammy-winning rapper has passed Quincy Jones, who has been nominated 80 times.
AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.