Hello, I know it’s been a while, (nine months to be exact), since I’ve done a Fresh Music Roundup and that is inexcusable, so I’m going to show you some of the songs that I have discovered/been listening to the most during the past month. The playlist includes music from the likes of J Hus, Rihanna and Kali Uchis. I hope you enjoy!
It’s a new year which means a new awards season. With that being said, the 2016 Grammy nominations were announced last month and the awards show will be taking place next month, so now is a good a time as any for me to predict, or rather say who I want to win in my favourite categories.
Record of the Year:
- D’Angelo & the Vanguard – Really Love
- Mark Ronson (ft. Bruno Mars) – Uptown Funk
- The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
- Taylor Swift – Blank Space
- Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
To be honest, I would be happy with any of the three artists winning in this category. Their efforts were great in 2015 and each were fantastic songs in their own right. Also, these three artists were all dark horses as they just sort of exploded onto the scene in a huge way. I don’t know where the major mainstream success came from for The Weeknd because it seemed like on Monday he was an underground artist and then on Tuesday he was snatching number one spots on charts across the world, while for Ed it was more obviously gradual, and as for Mark, he was just always hovering about.
Best New Artist:
- Tori Kelly
- James Bay
- Meghan Trainor
- Sam Hunt
- Courtney Barnett
I must admit that I’m a little bit disappointed with the selection of artists in this category as I am not entirely familiar with some of them. That is not to say that they do not deserve nominations, however I feel as though there were other artists who made more of a sonic splash in the past year and were more creative, unique and authentic. For example Alessia Cara, Bryson Tiller and Tinashe. Also, hasn’t Meghan Trainor been nominated for Grammys before this year? If so, why is she nominated for Best New Artist. Also, I don’t want to get into it too much, but do you mean to tell me, Grammy Academy, that there were no black artists or musicians of colour who have released music in the past year who you feel were worthy enough for a nod? It almost feels as if they went out of their way to find as many white artists eligible to nominate in this category. I mean, you have Meghan, who has had previous noms and therefore is not a new artist, then you have Sam Hunt and Courtney Barnett, who’s songs I have never heard. I have, on the other hand, heard Tori Kelly and James Bay’s music and I feel as though they are deserving of their nominations.
Best Urban Contemporary Album:
- The Internet – Ego Death
- Kehlani – You Should Be Here
- Lianne La Havas – Blood
- Miguel – Wildheart
- The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness
This category also has my feathers ruffled because of a snub. A certain Miss Tinashe most definitely should have been included in this list, and I am not being partial because I am fan. Her Aquarius album was the embodiment of urban contemporary and was critically praised. It may not have sold tonnes of copies, but neither did any of these albums apart from The Weeknd. Her album was noteworthy and she had a breakthrough hit with 2 On. So I am baffled as to where her nomination was this year. But anyway, I’m not really a huge fan of anyone in this category. I am, however, proud of Lianne La Havas, as a British artist getting nominated. I liked her song What You Don’t Do which was released last year. Also, I’m not one of them, but I’ve noticed that Kehlani seems to have a large and growing fan base and she has been gaining traction this past year so good on her. I would be happy for either of the two to win this award.
Best Rap Song:
- Kanye West – All Day
- Kendrick Lamar – Alright
- Drake – Energy
- Common/John Legend – Glory
- Fetty Wap – Trap Queen
In my honest opinion these selections are pretty underwhelming. I appreciate All Day which grew on me a little later than most. Kanye really made a spectacle of the song at The Brits earlier this year and it was very generous of him to showcase British talent by inviting all of those grime artists on stage with him. Also, the message behind the song Glory by John and Common had a good social message but as far as I remember it was around at the time of last year’s Grammys and feels pretty old to have been nominated this year.
- Best Rap Album:
- 2014 Forest Hills Drive – J. Cole
- Compton – Dr. Dre
- If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – Drake
- To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
- The Pinkprint – Nicki Minaj
Now this is a competitive category. Cole and Lamar released sombre, introspective and socially conscious albums, Dr Dre finally released a new album which his fans had been awaiting for over a decade, Drake did a Beyoncé and released a surprise mixtape which topped the charts, while Nicki made the world stop and then carry on, with Beyoncé, along with bringing social issues including racism, sexism and gender inequality to the forefront. It would be fantastic to see quality win over commercial value so it would be great to see Cole or Lamar to win. However, it would also be good to see a female win for Best Rap Album. However, I definitely think Kendrick has it in the bag.