These three artists pulled off quite a feat in landing the most nominations this year, with eight for Lizzo, and six for Eilish and Nas, respectively. On top of their combined 20 nominations, all three swept the Grammys’ top four categories: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. But what’s most remarkable is that these are their first Grammy nominations ever.
“Today's announcement reflects a new era for the Recording Academy — an army of engaged members that welcomes diversity, embraces creativity and champions young musicians on the rise,” Deborah Dugan, the Recording Academy’s new President/CEO, who replaced Neil Portnow earlier this year. “It's shaping up to be a year of firsts, and I can promise that the 62nd GRAMMY Awards will pack the same punch as this year's nominees.”
Lizzo’s historic eight nominations puts her in the rarified air of Beyoncé and Lauryn Hill, the only two women of colour to best that number in the history of the Academy. Lizzo’s accolades are well-earned; “Truth Hurts,” her 2017 single that was repackaged onto Cuz I Love You, was truly the song that dominated this year and has a wonderful Cinderella-esque story. After gaining traction in the Netflix rom-com Someone Great, it became a breakout hit that racked up both streaming numbers and radio airplay. It’s also a song with a fascinating battle, as we’ve watched Lizzo fight to maintain songwriting control on the track while a pair of men have claimed it was plagiarised all over social media. She did, however give a writing credit to Mina Lioness, the author of a tweet that inspired the now-famous lyric, “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch.” The social media aspect of her songwriting is an unbelievable twist, and a look at the ways in which the internet will influence the future of music writing.
But Lizzo is no one-hit-wonder; every song on Cuz I Love You is magical, showcasing her ability to simultaneously sing, rap, play the flute, and captivate the attention of the entire world.
At only 17, Eilish makes Grammy history with her nominations, becoming the youngest artist to earn nominations in the big four categories. She’s been a favourite for music lovers since her debut album, when we fall asleep, where do we go? dropped in March of 2019, as evidenced by her chart-breaking record this year for the most simultaneous singles in Billboard’s Hot 100 among women — 14 of her songs appeared on the chart at the same time.
And then there’s the man Eilish knocked from the top of the Hot 100 earlier this year: Lil Nas X. Before Eilish’s takeover, Nas boasted the longest run in history atop the chart, creating the biggest song of the year bar none, by the numbers. By nominating both Nas’s viral single, as well as his album, 7, indicates that the Academy is hopeful of the 20-year-old’s status as a tastemaker in the music industry. Nas’s origin story also ties into “Truth Hurts” finding its hook — his single famously became a hit on TikTok before he was even signed to a record deal. The industry is clearing taking note of where to invest their time, money, and eyeballs, for the next big hit.