New York - Newcomer Sam Smith joined Beyoncé and Pharrell
Williams on Friday to lead in nominations for the Grammy Awards, with the music
industry's annual picks weighted toward R&B-influenced artists.
Smith - the British blue-eyed soul singer who emerged in
force this year with Stay With Me, a ballad
about a one-night stand - was tied with Beyoncé and Williams for nominations in
six categories at music's most-watched awards.
"What is going on! 6 Grammy nominations. Dear
Lord," Smith wrote on Instagram as he posted a picture of his face
somewhere between tears and a grimace.
Smith's debut album In
the Lonely Hour was nominated for the most prestigious Album of the Year
along with the prolific Williams's Girl,
which features the globally viral anthem "Happy."
Beyoncé, who won six Grammys in 2010 in one of the
awards' biggest-ever hauls, was also tapped for Album of the Year with her
latest, self-titled album, which includes her tune of marital bliss Drunk in Love sung with husband Jay Z.
One Grammy surprise was Beck, whose collage-like and
sometimes ironic songs have won him a passionate following over two decades but
who has often been considered outside the mainstream.
Beck was nominated in four categories including Album of the
Year for his introspective Morning Phase.
British songwriter Ed Sheeran, who has collaborated with
superstar pop acts such as One Direction, was also nominated for Album of the
Year for his second studio album X.
Nods to new
The Grammy winners will be announced at a gala ceremony
in Los Angeles on 8 February.
The nominations, announced throughout the day on US
television and Twitter, showed a shift in direction after French electronic duo
Daft Punk won last year's top Grammys. All but one of the nods for Record of
the Year, which recognises songs, went to a white artist heavily influenced by
R&B or hip hop.
Smith was the only male artist tapped for Record of the
Year. Other nominees included fellow new artists Meghan Trainor for All About That Bass and Australian
rapper Iggy Azalea for Fancy, which
features British singer Charli XCX.
Sia, another Australian influenced by R&B, was in
contention for Chandelier in the
biggest nomination of her two-decade career.
Country-turned-pop superstar Taylor Swift got a nod for
Record of the Year with Shake It Off
from her chart-topping album 1989.
The album as a whole, which last month enjoyed the biggest single-week sales
for a US album in 12 years, came out too late for Grammy eligibility.
One for U2
U2, the most nominated group in Grammy history, received
a nod for Best Rock Album for Songs of
Innocence but the Irish superstars were passed over for Album of the Year.
The album was controversially released for free on iTunes
in September but U2 rushed out a limited-edition vinyl in time to be Grammy
Women took three of the five nominations for Country
Album, despite the prevalence of male-dominated "bro-country" on the
Brandy Clark was nominated for 12 Stories, which was released on a Dallas label after Nashville
would not touch it, with established stars Miranda Lambert and Lee Ann Womack
also in the running.
Clark was separately nominated in the closely watched
Best New Artist category, along with Azalea and Smith. Also in the category
were Haim, the Fleetwood Mac-inspired California band featuring three sisters,
and British rockers Bastille.
Azalea was nominated as well for Best Rap Album along
with veteran Eminem, who recently threatened her in a song. Others in the
category are the successful actor and poet Common, marijuana-loving soloist Wiz
Khalifa and television star Childish Gambino, as well as Schoolboy Q, who
released his major label debut.
The cutting-edge British artist Aphex Twin was nominated
for Best/Dance Electronic Album with Syro,
his first album in 13 years. Also in the category was Do It Again, a mini-album collaboration between soon-to-be-defunct
Norwegian electronic duo Royksopp and Swedish singer Robyn.
The reggae category was dominated by veteran acts with
dub pioneer Lee Scratch Perry
receiving his latest nomination at age 78.
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