For those of you that did not get a chance to tune into the 55th Grammy Awards nominations show last night, below is the list of the R&B categories. The show was held in Nashville, TN last night and featured an array of performers while hosted by rapper/actor LL Cool J and country star, Taylor Swift. For the complete list of nominees, go here.
Best R&B Performance
Thank You - Estelle
Gonna Be Alright (f.t.b.) - Robert Glasper Experiment featuring Ledisi
I Want You - Luke James
Adorn - Miguel
Climax - Usher
Best Traditional R&B Performance
Lately - Anita Baker
Love On Top - Beyoncé
Wrong Side Of A Love Song - Melanie Fiona
Real Good Hands - Gregory Porter
If Only You Knew - SWV
Best R&B Song
Adorn - Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
Beautiful Surprise - Tamia Hill, Claude Kelly & Salaam Remi, songwriters (Tamia)
Heart Attack - Benjamin Levin, Rico Love & Tremaine Neverson, songwriters (Trey Songz)
Pray For Me - Antonio Dixon, Kenny Edmonds, Anthony Hamilton & Patrick "jque" Smith, songwriters (Anthony Hamilton)
Refill - Darhyl "dj" Camper, Elle Varner & Andrew "pop" Wansel, songwriters (Elle Varner)
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Fortune - Chris Brown
Kaleidoscope Dream - Miguel
Channel Orange - Frank Ocean
Best R&B Album
Black Radio - Robert Glasper Experiment
Back To Love - Anthony Hamilton
Write Me Back - R. Kelly
Beautiful Surprise - Tamia
Open Invitation - Tyrese
Let me just say that I love/hate this list of nominees at the same damn time. It's clearly a popularity contest based on some of the categories and a lot of great artists and songs are not even listed. Faith Evans, Goapele, Emelie Sande, Eric Benet, Keyshia Cole and Jill Scott are not among the nominees listed. Also, why is Beyonce's "Love On Top" listed under "Traditional" R&B Performance? I loved the infectious song, but it's more pop-ish than anything. That slot should have been Mint Condition's "Believe in Us", but what's a Grammy show without Beyonce?
What really hurts a lot of major and indie R&B singers is radio airplay. R&B is not a dominant force on the airwaves like it was during the 90s and before, so there is not a big budget for them. This is a new generation of R&B listeners and stations are simply giving the people what they want. Unless you have at least one rapper on your song, you can hang it up for receiving any type of promo, marketing or radio airtime. Brandy had a Top 10 record with "Put It Down" featuring Chris Brown and did a helluva lot promoting, but it still didn't work as far as a Grammy is concerned. Everything must have the label "Hip Hop and R&B" to even be recognized. Or you could write an open letter on Tumblr right before your album gets released, and presto! Billboard chart magic!
But on a more positive note, I noticed the Best Urban Contemporary Album category is back, which is good. Miguel was also tapped for "Song of the Year" and deserves it. He put out a good project and is reaping the rewards. Seeing Luke James and Elle Varner (although I hate "Refill") on the list is refreshing. You already know I'm rooting for my girl, Anita Baker. And Tamia and SWV got a nomination? Yaasss!!!
I am glad to see that R&B made a comeback in a major way this year. A lot of the categories seem rather contradictory to me, but you have to take the good and the bad. I don't think the Grammy's will ever get it right completely, but at least it's not a throwaway category anymore. Perhaps, I shouldn't be so disappointed. I mean, Brian McKnight's mid-life crisis smash hit, "If You're Ready To Learn" could've been nominated. Then we would've really had some problems, lol.
Congrats to all the nominees! To those who did not get a nod, let this be more motivation to you and keep making great music!
BY: AMARIAH TYLER