Sam Smith, Beyoncé, Pharrell lead Grammy nominations

A 22-year-old newcomer, U.K. soul-pop singer Sam Smith, joined Grammy mainstays Beyonce and Pharrell Williams with six nominations each on Friday for the 57th annual Grammy Awards.

Smith dominated the four major categories, including a nomination for album of the year, with his full-length debut, "In the Lonely Hour," joining Beyonce's self-titled album, Williams' "Girl," Beck's "Morning Phase" and Ed Sheeran's "X."

Smith's "Stay With Me" was named for both record and song of the year, and he was also among the best new artist nominees. His competition in the latter category includes Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, British rock band Bastille, country singer Brandy Clark and California pop-rockers Haim.

The nominees for record of the year (which honors recording and production) and song of the year (for best songwriting) had an unusual amount of overlap, with Smith, Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off," Sia's "Chandelier" and Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" named in both.

Iggy Azalea's "Fancy," featuring Charli XCX, filled out the record-of-the-year nominees, and Hozier's "Take Me to Church" received a nod for song of the year.

Despite his nominations, Williams was shut out of the top record and song categories even though his single "Happy" was among the year's dominant hits. It was nominated for best pop vocal performance. Also curiously omitted from the top categories was Idina Menzel's "Let It Go," from the "Frozen" soundtrack, which earlier this year won an Academy Award for best original song. It received only a minor nod for music for visual media.

Beyonce's multiple nominations gave her the most of any female performer in Grammy history, breaking her tie with Dolly Parton entering the day at 46. Her nods included "Drunk in Love" for best R&B performance and best R&B song, and "Beyonce" for best urban contemporary album.

Only music released between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014, was eligible for this year's nominations in voting by the industry professionals in the Recording Academy. The Grammy Awards will be presented on Feb. 8.

Recording engineer Tom Coyne received five nominations, and a bevy of artists received four, including Beck, Azalea, Sia, Eric Church, Drake, Gordon Goodwin, Jay Z, Miranda Lambert, Usher and Jack White.

Nominations for artists with local ties include Evanston’s Jessie Mueller, whose Tony Award winning performance was featured in “Beautiful: The Carole King Music,” and gained a nomination for Best Musical Theater Album. A nomination for Best Engineered Album, Classical, went to David Frost & Christopher Willis for "Riccardo Muti Conducts Mason Bates & Anna Clyne” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
 
Other artists with Chicago connections on the Grammy list were Kanye West and Common, who received two nominations each. Also, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti's recording of new works by composers-in-residence Mason Bates and Anna Clyne was nominated for best engineered classical album. Clyne herself received a nomination for her "Prince of Clouds" as best contemporary classical composition. And Chicago harpsichordist Jory Vinikour's album, "Toccatas," was nominated in the category of best classical instrumental solo.

The awards will be telecast on CBS from Los Angeles on Feb. 8.

greg@gregkot.com Twitter @gregkot

Tribune classical music critic John Von Rhein contributed to this report.

 

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