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Grammy Preview: Rock, Pop, R&B - 2003-02-15


The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will hold its 45th annual Grammy Awards ceremony on February 23 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Considered America's most prestigious honors for achievement in music, the Grammy's will be handed out in 104 different categories. VOA's Bernie Bernard looks at the nominees in the rock, pop, and rhythm and blues fields.

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Sheryl Crow leads the field for Best Rock Album with her latest collection, C'Mon, C'Mon. The only woman in the category, she'll compete with Bruce Springsteen's The Rising - his reflections of the 2001 terrorist attacks - along with former Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant and his blues-based album Dreamland, as well as British rocker Elvis Costello's When I Was Cruel and Head On Straight by Tonic. Sheryl appears again in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance category along with singer and songwriters Melissa Etheridge and Avril Lavigne, as well as blues rockers Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi.

In the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, it's a classic rock battle with David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Peter Gabriel Robert Plant and Bruce Springsteen. The Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal pits veterans U2 and Aerosmith with younger bands such as Creed, Coldplay, 3 Doors Down, Tonic and the duo of Nickelback's Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott of Saliva.

New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi are nominated for Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal. The diverse category also includes Texas punk cowboys Bowling For Soup, The Dave Matthews Band and No Doubt. 'N Sync is also in the running, with one of the rare Grammy nominations for "boy bands," despite their popularity of the past year. Young teen pop divas failed to make a strong showing as well. In the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance field, pop princess Britney Spears goes up against Pink, Avril Lavigne, Norah Jones and Sheryl Crow. Classic pop and folk singer James Taylor could be a sentimental favorite for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. That category includes two other legends, Sting and Elton John, as well as newcomers John Mayer and Craig David.

Hip-hoppers as well as balladeers have been acknowledged in the major rhythm and blues categories. Nelly leads the field for Best Rap Album with Nellyville, with his main competition coming from Eminem and The Eminem Show. Ludacris makes a strong showing with his Word Of Mouf CD, while Mystikal checks in with Tarantula and Petey Pablo's entry is Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry.

In the Best R&B Album category, India.Arie's Voyage To India meets Joe's Better Days, Juslisen (Just Listen) by Musiq, Raphael Saadiq's "Instant Vintage" and The Way I Feel by Canadian newcomer Remy Shand, who represents the "neo-soul" movement. For Best Contemporary R&B Album, the field consists of Ashanti with her self-titled CD, Brandy's Full Moon, Faithfully,by Faith Evans, Floetic by Floetry, and Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape by Me'shell Ndegeocello. The Best Male R&B Vocal Performance contenders include Joe, R. Kelly, Musiq, Remy Shand and Usher. In the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance category, the late Aaliyah is honored, along with Ashanti, Mary J. Blige, Eartha and Jill Scott.

Grammys in the major categories will be awarded during a live television ceremony on February 23. The three-hour event will be broadcast in High Definition TV and Surround Sound, marking the first time a major awards show will be utilizing this new technology.

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