We’ve all heard Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, and Lil Nas X burn up radio and streaming playlists in 2021, but what of the rest of the 64th Grammy Awards nominees? Ahead of the ceremony, here’s our pick of deeper cuts.
Brandi Carlile, “Right on Time”
There’s no way it will beat out the big guns for Record/Song of the Year, but the way Carlile belts out her domestic drama here is stunning.
Japanese Breakfast, “Be Sweet”
Michelle Zauner dropped her first album in 2016 but somehow got a Best New Artist nom. Who cares? This indie banger was one of 2021’s best.
Arlo Parks, “Hope”
The soulful Londoner’s debut, Collapsed in Sunbeams, has a nod for Best Alternative Music Album, and this beauty is one of its top songs.
Yep, the Sacramento mob is still at it—and it can still rip your face off, as this track (nominated for Best Metal Performance) undoubtedly shows.
Jazmine Sullivan, “Pick Up Your Feelings”
The introspective R&B of Sullivan’s Heaux Tales was nothing short of a revelation, and this standout ensured a Best R&B Perfomance.
Vicente Fernández, “El Caballo de Mi Padre”
Fernández’s death in December hit the world of Mexican ranchera music hard. He was in fine form until nearly the end of his 81 years. His final record, A Mis 80’s, got a nod for Best Regional Mexican Music Album.
Giveon, “Heartbreak Anniversary”
Giveon’s buttery voice netted several noms—he assisted on Bieber’s acclaimed summer jam “Peaches”—but this tune of his own also got a nod.
Hiatus Kaiyote, “And We Go Gentle”
The late Prince loved Hiatus Kaiyote, whose third album, Mood Valiant, featuring this track, is up in the Best Progressive R & B Album category.
Baby Keem, “Family Ties,” with Kendrick Lamar
This barnstorming single is nominated for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song, and the 21-year-old Baby Keem is up for Best New Artist.
Arooj Aftab, “Mohabbat”
The Brooklyn-based Pakistani vocalist takes Sufi, folk, and jazz and melds them into a beguiling mix that can take your breath away. No wonder this track is nominated for Best Global Music Performance.
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