Jon Batiste leads with 11 Grammy nods; H.E.R nominated for 8

Jill Serjeant and Lisa Richwine, Reuters

Posted at Nov 24 2021 05:07 AM

H.E.R. and Keith Urban perform during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, October 30, 2021. Gaelen Morse, Reuters
H.E.R. and Keith Urban perform during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, October 30, 2021. Gaelen Morse, Reuters

LOS ANGELES—Jazz musician Jon Batiste led nominations on Tuesday for the Grammy Awards with 11 nods, followed by Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, and H.E.R with 8 apiece.

Batiste and Bieber will compete for the top prize - album of the year - along with pop singer Billie Eilish, R&B artist Doja Cat, singer-songwriter H.E.R, rapper Kanye West, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, newcomer Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift and rapper Lil Nas X, organizers said.

The Grammys, the highest honors in the music industry, will be handed out at ceremony in Los Angeles on January 31.

The writers of "I Can't Breathe" by H.E.R won the song of the year Grammy in March in a stripped-down ceremony aimed at moving past the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the music industry.

The song of the year award recognizes writers rather than performers and "I Can't Breathe" was written to mark the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States the previous summer.

Nominees in the top 3 categories — album, song and record of the year — were increased to 10 from 8 for the first time. "Adding more nominees is a way to cast a wider net for more music, more artists and more genres," Recording Academy chief executive Harvey Mason Jr said, announcing the change on Tuesday.

Eilish, Rodrigo, Bieber and Batiste were also among the 10 nominees for record of the year, along with Swedish band Abba's new comeback single, "I Still Have Faith in You."

But Swift, who snagged a best album nod for "Evermore," was shut out of both the record of the year and song of the year races.

Teen phenomenon Rodrigo, 18, who burst onto the U.S. charts in January when her single "Drivers License" went viral, got seven nods, including best new artist and for her debut album "Sour."

Batiste, who also leads the band on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," scored nominations across the board, ranging from his music video "Freedom" to album "We Are," which was inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.

"!!!!!!!!!!!!” Batiste wrote on Twitter.

The Recording Academy, the organizers of the Grammy Awards, earlier this year changed the way nominations and winners are chosen after persistent allegations that the process was open to rigging.

The Academy was slammed last year when Canadian artist The Weeknd got zero nominations despite having one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2020 with "After Hours."

Nominations this year were selected by all 11,000 voting members of the Recording Academy, instead of smaller committees of industry experts whose names were not revealed. Winners are also chosen by the musicians, producers and songwriters who make up the members of the Recording Academy.

"Everyone will have their opinions and give their analysis. Lots will be said and the reason is simple. Music matters and the people who make it matter," Mason Jr. said on Tuesday, anticipating reaction to the nominations list.

K-pop band BTS, who have yet to win a Grammy despite dominating the U.S. music charts for almost two years, got a nod on Tuesday for their performance of their top-selling single "Butter" in the pop group field but missed out in other major categories.

The South Korean boy band was named artist of the year on Sunday at the American Music Awards, which are chosen by fans.

Bennett, 95, who has Alzheimer's disease, and Gaga got multiple nods for their American standards duets album "Love for Sale," which is expected to be Bennett's last.

The eligibility period for the Grammys ran from Sept 2020 to Sept 2021, meaning the new album by Adele will have to wait until next time.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, Editing by Nick Zieminski)