AP, Photo by Wade Payne/Invision
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Grammy Awards celebrated the diversity of music as six different artists tied for lead nominee — Kanye West, Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons and fun.
Auerbach received five nominations as a member of the Keys and also is up for producer of the year, earning a spot with the others at the top of the list as the Grammy's primetime television special came to his hometown Wednesday night.
"We're speechless," Auerbach said in a statement to The Associated Press from Germany, where he's on tour with drummer Patrick Carney.
The rockers little resemble any of the other acts at the top of the list. The nominations for Jay-Z and West, two of hip-hop's most important figures, is a familiar refrain. Each has routinely been at or near the top of the nominations list for the last several years.
Indie pop band fun., a featured performer during the show, aired live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on CBS, rode the success of its anthemic hit "We Are Young" featuring Janelle Monae to sweep of the major categories, earning nods for best new artist, song and record for "We Are Young" and album of the year for "Some Nights." The band's producer Jeff Bhasker is up for four nominations.
"When you call your band fun. with a period at the end of the sentence, you set a very high standard for yourself and for fun itself," Taylor Swift, the concert's co-host, said in introducing them. "Fortunately this band from New York has lived up to the name in the best possible way."
R&B singer Ocean, whose mother was in attendance, made a bold social statement earlier this year when he noted he had a same-sex relationship in the liner notes of his new album "channel ORANGE," and The Recording Academy rewarded him with the nominations for best new artist, record for "Thinkin Bout You" and album of the year.
And British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons, which made an auspicious debut in front of an international audience during the 2011 Grammys, is up for album of the year for "Babel," one of 2012's best-selling releases.
Miguel, who helped Ocean shake up the R&B world this year, and jazz great Chick Corea join the Keys with five nominations apiece. Nas and recording engineer Bob Ludwig join Bhasker at four apiece.
There were no major snubs. Most of 2012's inescapable hits are represented in some way — Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" is up for record of the year and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" garnered a song of the year nod. Drake, Rihanna and Nashville residents Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Jack White and best new artist nominee Hunter Hayes were among 16 nominees with three nods.
In many ways the nominations reflect a singles-driven year when no album rose to the level of acclaim as Adele's "21" or West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," which dominated the Grammys last February.
The best new artist category is a great example of this year's diversity. From the minimalist R&B of Ocean, the pop-influenced sounds of fun. and Hayes, the soulful rock of Alabama Shakes and the Americana swing of The Lumineers, there's little resemblance between the acts.
"I think people listen to a lot of types of music and Spotify has proven that, and iPod has proven that," Lumineers member Wes Schultz said. "... Every person in that audience tonight, I saw them freaking out about various artists that have no relationship to each other."
Alabama Shakes drummer Steve Johnson noted the diversity in the category after the show, then made a surprising statement: "If I were on the other side of the fence, I'd vote Frank Ocean personally."
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