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story.lead_photo.caption Alicia Keys (left) and Bebe Rexha participate in the 62nd Grammy Awards nominations news conference Wednesday at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York.

Lizzo, a charismatic new pop and R&B star, has been nominated for eight prizes at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards, leading a class dominated by fresh faces like Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X.

Lizzo spent much of the last decade as a struggling rapper and singer but broke through this year with hits like "Juice" and "Truth Hurts," and a bold, body-positive persona. Little known to mainstream audiences a year ago, she is now up for every major award at the Grammys, including album of the year for the deluxe version of Cuz I Love You, record and song of the year for "Truth Hurts," and best new artist, the Recording Academy announced Wednesday.

Continuing a trend that has been building for several years, the latest crop of nominees are young, diverse and largely reflective of the forefront of pop.

Lizzo's competition includes two artists with six nominations each: Eilish, a 17-year-old alternative auteur who has built a wildly devoted following, and Lil Nas X, a 20-year-old rapper and master of internet memes whose "country-trap" hybrid "Old Town Road" became an all-pervasive cultural phenomenon this year, breaking Billboard's singles chart record with 19 weeks at No. 1.

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Eilish's When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is up for album of the year; "Bad Guy" is up for record and song of the year; and Eilish is a contender for best new artist. She is the youngest person to be nominated for all four top categories. Finneas O'Connell, her brother and primary collaborator, received five nods for his work with her as a producer and songwriter.

Lil Nas X was nominated for record of the year for the remix of "Old Town Road" (which features country star Billy Ray Cyrus) and album of the year for 7, an eight-song EP. He is also up for best new artist.

"Old Town Road" first exploded as a hit on TikTok, the video app, and his combination of rap and country highlighted the increasing blurring of genre. Last week, "Old Town Road" won best musical event at the Country Music Association Awards.

Even so, Lil Nas X was not nominated in any of the Grammys' country categories. The nominees for country album of the year are Eric Church's Desperate Man, Reba McEntire's Stronger Than the Truth, Pistol Annies' Interstate Gospel, Thomas Rhett's Center Point Road and Tanya Tucker's While I'm Livin'.

Three Arkansans were among this year's nominees.

Ashley McBryde, who was raised in Mammoth Spring and attended Arkansas State University, is up for best country solo performance for "Girl Goin' Nowhere," which is also nominated for best country song.

Shay Mooney, of Dan + Shay, was raised in Natural Dam. The duo are nominated for best country duo/group performance for "Speechless."

Little Big Town are also up for best country duo/group performance for "The Daughters." The band's Philip Sweet grew up in Cherokee Village and attended Arkansas State University.

The awards ceremony will be held Jan. 26 in Los Angeles and broadcast by CBS.

Among this year's other top nominees, Ariana Grande received five nods, including record of the year for "7 Rings" -- a recasting of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things" -- and album of the year for Thank U, Next. The young R&B singer H.E.R., who took home two awards at the most recent Grammys, is also up for five, including album of the year for I Used to Know Her and record and song of the year for "Hard Place." (Record of the year is for performers and producers, while the song category recognizes songwriters.)

Last year, the Grammys expanded the top categories to eight nominees, from five. That has helped the academy put forth a more diverse group, after it came under sharp criticism for an underrepresentation of women among the winners.

In the most prestigious categories, the nominations largely went to a mixture of new faces in pop and R&B, and midcareer, alt-leaning rock artists. For album of the year, the contestants also include i,i by Bon Iver, the project of the experimental singer-songwriter Justin Vernon; Vampire Weekend's Father of the Bride; and Lana Del Rey's Norman F** Rockwell!

Among the rest of this year's 84 categories, Michelle Obama is up for best spoken word album for Becoming -- she will compete against the Beastie Boys and John Waters -- and Homecoming, Beyoncé's Coachella concert movie, is up for best music film. Beyoncé also received three nominations connected to her music for the remake of The Lion King.

Information for this article was contributed by staff members of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

A Section on 11/21/2019

Print Headline: Fresh faces lead Grammy Awards field


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