The Grammy Awards, America's top honors for achievement in music, will be handed out on February 23 during a live telecast from New York City's famous Radio City Music Hall. While artists compete in nearly every genre of music imaginable, there are a few major categories that are open to all. VOA's Bernie Bernard tells us about the Grammy contenders for the four most prestigious awards.
The Record of the Year Grammy is based on performance, and is awarded to the artist and producer. Controversial rapper and actor Eminem is in the running with his ode to vanity, Without Me. Nelly and Kelly Rowland represent rap and rhythm & blues with their duet, Dilemma, featured on Nelly's latest album Nellyville. Kelly recorded the tune while on hiatus from her group, Destiny's Child. Canadian alternative band Nickelback joins the field with How You Remind Me, which was named the most played song of 2002 by Billboard magazine. Jazz and blues singer Norah Jones is also in the running with Don't Know Why, and another young newcomer, Vanessa Carlton rounds out the field with A Thousand Miles.
The Song of the Year Grammy is given to the songwriter. Avril Lavigne Norah Jones and Vanessa Carlton represented the new breed of young female singers and songwriters. Avril Lavigne competes with her song Complicated, while Norah Jones and Vanessa Carlton are nominated once again for their respective songs, Don't Know Why and Complicated. The three ladies are joined in the Song of the Year category by veteran artist Bruce Springsteen with The Rising.
Bruce Springsteen appears again in the Album of the Year nominees for The Rising, his collection of songs inspired by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Norah Jones, the daughter of classical Indian musician Ravi Shankar makes a strong showing with her debut album Come Away With Me, an atmospheric blend of pop, jazz and blues with minimal instrumental accompaniment. Eminem makes the list with his Eminem Show album and fellow rapper Nelly checks in with Nellyville. This marks the first time that two hip-hip acts have ever been nominated for Album of the Year. And the Dixie Chicks cross over from country to pop with their hit album, Home.
The Best New Artist category also contains a diverse field. Multi-million-selling performers Avril Lavigne and Norah Jones go head-to-head again, along with another young success story of the year, Michelle Branch. R&B singer-songwriter Ashanti, who has already won two American Music Awards and eight Billboard Awards, is a strong contender for the Best New Artist Grammy as well. The only male competitor in the category is Atlanta singer and songwriter John Mayer, who broke through this past year with the album Room For Squares and its first hit single about high school graduation anxiety, No Such Thing.
Along with the four main honors for Record, Song and Album of the Year and Best New Artist, the 45th annual Grammy Awards will be bestowed in 104 categories on February 23.