Going for Gold: The Grammy Awards
For 55 years The Grammy Awards have delineated which musicians are at the top of their game, with a celebration of the best of the best-those in their respective rhythmic fields who reverberate with the sound of success. This year’s top nominees include such industry luminaries as Jay-Z, Kanye West, The Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift.
There is a wealth of up-and-coming artists who have made a steady ascent within the music scene, poised to take to the stage and make their acceptance speeches. There’s a liberal mix this year; those vying for Grammy gold in categories with established artists and those who fall under the "best new" artist category.
ON THE RISE
DJ, songwriter, record producer and singer Adam Richard Wiles, AKA Calvin Harris, hails from Scotland and wears many hats within the world of music. He first emerged on the scene in 2007 when he unleashed his gold-selling debut album "I Created Disco," onto the listening populace. He has since followed up that effort with 2009’s "Ready For The Weekend" and last year’s "18 Months."
During his musical tenure he has amassed much street cred across the pond, having scored nearly a dozen hits on the U.K. charts. His production skills have been utilized by a number of music divas, including work on Kylie Minogue’s "X" and "Aphrodite," for which he produced and co-wrote, "Heart Beat Rock," "In My Arms" and "Too Much," respectively.
Most recently, he aided Rihanna for her smash singles "We Found Love" and "Where Have you Been," with the latter scoring a Best Pop Solo Performance nod and his song featuring Ne-Yo, "Let’s Go," is up for Best Dance Recording.
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance nominees Halestorm have been rocking since 2009 with their self-titled debut album. It was their second record however, "The Strange Case Of..." that caught the eyes and ears of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Their song, "Love Bites (And So Do I)," was singled out as "valiant," for the Pennsylvania-based group comprised of siblings Lzzy Hale, in the guise of lead singer and her drummer brother Arejay, while guitarists Josh Smith and Joe Hottinger flesh out the rest of the band. The nomination places them in direct competition with more established acts like Megadeath, Iron Maiden, Anthrax and Marilyn Manson.
For five-time nominee Miguel, the road to the Grammy’s was paved with its fair share of potholes. Black Ice, his first label sued the artist, whose song "Adorn" is currently up for Song of the Year and Best R&B Performance, for breach of contract.
He eventually released his inaugural disc, "All I Want Is You," through Jive Records in 2010; however, the label dissolved and the record was under-promoted. It ended up being a sleeper hit, spending 45 weeks on the Billboard 200 charts and ultimately selling 440,000 copies.
Critical acclaim followed the release of 2012’s "Kaleidoscope Dream," which received a nod for Best Urban Contemporary Album and debuted at number three and sold 71,000 copies in its first week.
If you aren’t familiar with Gotye’s song "Somebody That I Used To Know," then you must have spent last year in a cave! The Belgian-Australian singer/songwriter received three nominations in total for the aforementioned hit that featured singer Kimbra; he’s up for the coveted Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Alternative Music Album.
His rise up the musical ladder began in 2001 with a four-track CD entitled Gotye; he formed the duo The Basics during that same time frame and released a sophomore album, "Like Drawing Blood" in 2006. Fast-forward to 2012 with the release of "Making Mirrors" and Gotye became the first Australian artist to reach number one since Savage Garden achieved that feat in 2000.
It’s no surprise that Carly Rae Jepsen was able to traverse musical borders as her single, "Call Me Maybe," saw the Canadian Idol winner become a household name throughout the U.S. In 2008, she came out with her first album, "Tug of War" and released several of the tracks on her MySpace page.
The Internet has been very kind to the 27-year-old. The video of her song amassed 300 million views on YouTube when Justin Bieber and then-girlfriend Selena Gomez heard the single on holiday in Canada. Once they took to their Twitter accounts, Jepsen received international attention.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
The race to be crowned Best New Artist is chock-full of musicians who have been thrust into public consciousness over the past year. Among them is Frank Ocean, who received attention when he became the first major hip-hop artist to profess having fallen in love with a man, somewhat of a shocking revelation to be made within the predominantly homophobic field of the music genre.
The newcomer who started his career as a ghostwriter for Justin Bieber, Brandy and John Legend, scored six nominations in major categories such as Record of the Year for his song "Thinkin’ Bout You" and Album of the Year for "Channel Orange."
The roots rock group The Alabama Shakes cut their musical teeth by doing covers of groups such as AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and James Brown. Lead singer Brittany Howard has been compared to another member of rock royalty, Janis Joplin. The quartet was placed on MTV’s list of Artists To Watch in 2012 and delivered the goods with their debut album, "Boys & Girls," as well with their Best Rock Performance song, "Hold On."
The Folk Rock Band the Lumineers, scored a one-two punch with nominations with one for Best New Artist and another for Best Americana Album for their self-titled melodious introduction.
"Ho Hey," which is the first release off the aforementioned album, proved to be a great way for fans to get to know their style of music; it sold over 2 million copies, certifying it as Double Platinum.
At 21-years-old, country crooner Hunter Hayes is definitely the baby of the bunch. He has been making the world his stage since the tender age of 4, when he made appearances on Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show, among many others. His single "Wanted," nominated for Best Country Solo Performance, proved that he was a musical force to be reckoned with. He became the youngest solo male act to dominate the top of the country music charts since 1973.
The indie rock band Fun, racked up six nominations this year and are competing for top honors for Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The latter was for their chart topper, "We Are Young," featured Janelle Monae as lead singer, sparking fear in pyromania watchdog groups, concerned about their ability to "set the night on fire."
To see which stars ascend higher, or which new kids on the block have what it takes to bring home the gold, tune into The Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 10 on CBS.
SINGLED OUT: BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE
Last year’s "Queen of the Grammys," Adele has another opportunity to "turn sorrow into more treasured gold," she has been nominated for the live performance of "Set Fire To The Rain."
Four-time Grammy nominee Kelly Clarkson hopes to show the competition that she’s "Stronger" as in "What doesn’t Kill You," in her efforts to go home a winner.
The "Part of Me" singer must still be pinching herself after the success of her album, Teenage Dream. But, as the Grammy-nominated eighth single released off the record clearly illustrates she is "Wide Awake" and has her eye on the prize.
When this lady posed the musical question, "Where Have You Been," she may very well been calling out to a potential six-time Grammy win.
CARLY RAE JEPSEN
The first time nominee could shore up a win, if she had the foresight to slip her digits in a handwritten, "Call Me Maybe" note to Grammy voters.