The honeycomb is buzzing at the prospect of Beyoncé having a chance to make Grammy history this year, ensuring that there will be strong emotions at Sunday’s ceremony in which she competes with the likes of Adele, Kendrick Lamar and Harry Styles.
Beyoncé needs just four more trophies to become the Recording Academy’s most awarded artist. The odds are in her favor for most of the categories she’s nominated in, including album of the year and record of the year.
Associated Press writers Jonathan Landrum Jr. and Kristin M. Hall present their Grammy predictions. The 65th annual Grammy Awards will air on Sunday on CBS and Paramount+ in the United States, as well as the TNT cable channel for Latin America.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: “Voyage”, ABBA; “30,” Adele; “A Summer Without You”, Bad Bunny; “Renaissance,” Beyonce; “Good Morning Gorgeous” (Deluxe), Mary J. Blige; “In These Silent Days,” Brandi Carlile; “Music of the Spheres,” Coldplay; “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers”, Kendrick Lamar; “Special,” Lizzo; “Harry’s House”, Harry Styles.
LANDRUM: Beyoncé is going for her throne at the Grammys, again. With the superstar one step away from becoming the most awarded artist in Grammy history, it’s no coincidence that Queen Bey recently returned to live performance for the first time in four years with a star-studded show at the luxury hotel. Dubai’s newest. She even had a two-night event called “Club Renaissance” in Los Angeles last month with Amazon Music to celebrate her seventh album “Renaissance,” nominated for album of the year. Beyoncé’s pitch is strong, and these performances feel like a grand tour toward her multiple Grammy crowning. All due respect to the other nominees in the category, but Beyoncé is an easy pick here. It is logical.
HALL: The last time Adele and Beyoncé were nominated in this category, the British singer-songwriter used her acceptance speech to praise Beyoncé, calling her the “artist of my life.” This is one of the most competitive years in the category with so many deserving albums from the biggest artists. It would be amazing to see Bad Bunny take the award for her hugely popular “A Summer Without You,” but I agree with Jonathan, all signs point to a record-breaking year for Beyoncé.
RECORD OF THE YEAR: “Don’t Shut Me Down,” ABBA; “Easy on Me,” Adele; “Break My Soul,” Beyonce; “Good Morning Gorgeous,” Mary J. Blige; “You and Me on the Rock,” Brandi Carlile featuring Lucius; “Woman,” Doja Cat; “Bad Habit,” Steve Lacy; “The Heart Part 5,” Kendrick Lamar; “About Damn Time,” Lizzo; “As It Was”, Harry Styles.
HALL: There are so many danceable songs to choose from this year! Lizzo is a vibe powerhouse with catchy lyrics and Harry Styles’ pop rock track “As It Was” is an undeniable fan favorite hit. Although Adele pulls off a masterful performance on “Easy on Me,” I don’t think she has command of her other record of the year nominated song “Hello.” For me the best two in the category are “Break My Soul” and “Bad Habit”. “Break My Soul,” inspired by 1990s house music, exudes quite a mood and is an exciting turn for Beyoncé, so she’ll likely add this award to her Grammy-trophy rack.
LANDRUM: I’m all with Beyoncé for the album of the year category, but I’m going with Harry Styles’ “As It Was” for this award. I send my love to the other nominees like Kendrick Lamar, Steve Lacy, and Adele — who all deserve this award, too. But “As It Was” was simply too big and is in a category where commercial hits often rule. It seems to me that we have heard his viral tune everywhere we go. Even my 2 year old daughter loves it when she listens to it, sings it and asks to play it again and again and again.
SONG OF THE YEAR (SONGWRITER AWARDS): “abcdefu,” Sara Davis, GAYLE and Dave Pittenger; “About Damn Time,” Melissa “Lizzo” Jefferson, Eric Frederic, Blake Slatkin, and Theron Makiel Thomas; “All Too Well (10 Minute Version – The Short Film),” Liz Rose and Taylor Swift; “As It Was,” Tyler Johnson, Kid Harpoon, and Harry Styles; “Bad Habit,” Matthew Castellanos, Brittany Fousheé, Diana Gordon, John Carroll Kirby, and Steve Lacy; “Break My Soul,” Beyoncé, S. Carter, Terius “The Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant, and Christopher A. Stewart; “Easy on Me,” Adele Adkins and Greg Kurstin; “God Did,” Tarik Azzouz, E. Blackmon, Khaled, F. LeBlanc, Shawn Carter, John Stephens, Dwayne Carter, William Roberts, and Nicholas Warwar; “The Heart Part 5,” Jake Kosich, Johnny Kosich, Kendrick Lamar, and Matt Schaeffer; “Just Like That”, Bonnie Raitt.
LANDRUM: I may have picked Harry Styles to win the record of the year category, but Beyoncé’s powerful words on “Break My Soul” spoke to my spirit — especially in a category for songwriters creating the lyrics or melodies of a song. Their song became a post-pandemic dancefloor anthem thanks to its bouncy melody and lyrics by a formidable songwriting team that includes Beyoncé, her husband Jay-Z, The-Dream and Tricky Stewart — who is behind it. from singles like Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Mary J. Blige’s “Just Fine”. In this collaboration, the foursome created a collection of inspirational words fit for Beyoncé, who took the baton and delivered them with beautiful authority. “Break My Soul” should be the first to cross the finish line for song of the year.
HALL: If you’ve only heard the TikTok snippet of Steve Lacy’s ethereal confessional song, do yourself a favor and listen to it in full, and then his full album as well. The song, like Lacy, is experimental and complicated, twisting and twisting into something entirely new, while his voice is enchantingly captivating. I think he’s the dark horse in this category, in which he competes against so many talented composers.
BEST NEW ARTIST: Anitta; Omar Apollo; DOMi & JD Beck; Muni Long; Samara Joy; Latto; Manekskin; Tobe Nwigwe; Molly Tuttle; Wet Leg.
HALL: Normally, it feels like there are one or two strong contenders in this category who are riding the wave of big success, but this year the category is pretty wide open. Bluegrass musician Molly Tuttle and R&B singer-songwriter Muni Long are pretty established in their respective musical fields and it would be great if they got the attention they deserve with a win in this category. But I think Anitta has a huge advantage with the worldwide success of her “Wrap,” even if she’s not as familiar to American audiences.
LANDRUM: Anitta definitely feels like the top pick in this close category. The Brazilian artist has been a phenomenon with her trilingual album “Versions of Me”, led by her single “Envolver”. Månekskin, Muni Long and Latto can also give surprises. But I will go with the dark horse of the category: Tobe Nwigwe. He became known with “I Need You To,” a 44-second song that drew attention to the murder of Breonna Taylor by police in Kentucky. It was shared by stars like LeBron James, Madonna and Diddy. Furthermore, the Nigerian singer and rapper has posted one original song and one video every week on his social media for the past few years. He sings with his wife, Fat Nwigwe, and their ballad “Fye” is a real hit.
BEST SOLO POP PERFORMANCE: “Easy on Me,” Adele; “Moscow Mule”, Bad Bunny; “Woman,” Doja Cat; “Bad Habit,” Steve Lacy; “About Damn Time,” Lizzo; “As It Was”, Harry Styles.
LANDRUM: This one is tough, every song is a certified hit. Something tells me it will be Adele or Steve Lacy in this category with strong contenders. But my mind, my heart and my soul scream “HARRY STYLES”. I’ll leave with this second feeling. “As it Was” for me.
HALL: Adele would probably win in this category if voters are more inclined to choose Beyoncé in the main categories.
BEST RAP PERFORMANCE: “GOD DID,” DJ Khaled featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend and Fridayy; “Vegas,” Doja Cat; “pushing P,” Gunna and Future with Young Thug; “FNF (Let’s Go),” Hitkidd and GloRilla; “The Heart Part 5,” Kendrick Lamar.
HALL: I’ll give my full support to Memphis native GloRilla for her first Grammy nomination for her hit “FNF (Let’s Go)”. Her strength and bravery come through in this song that celebrates being free and proves that she can go as hard as any male rapper.
LANDRUM: Kendrick Lamar’s “The Heart Part 5” will win, but DJ Khaled’s “GOD DID” should come out on top. Why? Because Khaled brought Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Mr. EGOT John Legend and Rick Ross together on one song, God definitely did that.
BEST R&B PERFORMANCE: “VIRGO’S GROOVE,” Beyoncé; “Here With Me,” Mary J. Blige featuring Anderson .Paak; “Hrs & Hrs”, Muni Long; “Over,” Lucky Daye; Hurt Me So Good, Jasmine Sullivan.
LANDRUM: Jazmine Sullivan could do it again with “Hurt Me So Good” after she won in the same category last year for “Pick Up Your Feelings.” The charm of Beyoncé’s “VIRGO’S GROOVE” also gives her a good chance of winning. There are other viable contenders like Mary J. Blige and Lucky Daye, who both had hits of their own. But if I had to bet, my money would go to Muni Long’s “Hrs & Hrs,” a popular breakout song for a best new artist nominee. After building a lot of momentum in the year, I think Muni (pronounced Money) will be able to cash in on her in this category.
HALL: When Muni Long starts the song by whispering “Can I sing to you?” (Can I sing to you?) With her sultry voice, it’s clear she’s masterfully in control. I hope she wins.
BEST COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE: “Heartfirst,” Kelsea Ballerini; “Something In The Orange,” Zach Bryan; “In His Arms,” Miranda Lambert; “Circles Around This Town,” Maren Morris; “Live Forever,” Willie Nelson.
HALL: I think the Recording Academy voters tried to send a message by nominating “Live Forever” by Willie Nelson, who (remarkably) will turn 90 this year and shows no signs of retiring. But I think new artist Zach Bryan has momentum and has caused a stir, so the slow “Something In The Orange” should win.
LANDRUM: I think Zach Bryan is the biggest threat to Willie Nelson. But Nelson still performs at a high level in his late 90s and his song “Live Forever” is a fitting title for his legacy.
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Who should win at Sunday’s Grammys