LOS ANGELES — The release of Beyoncé's latest album was an innovative, fresh and risky approach to an album launch in an ever-changing industry suffering from lower album sales, yet continuously growing in the streaming business.
She caused a frenzy, set records and reached new heights. "Beyoncé" not only marked a moment in pop culture, it is part of music history.
The icon, who is most nominated female in Grammy history, could continue with history-winning moments at Sunday's awards show, where "Beyoncé" is nominated for album of the year.
"She's never won album of the year. I don't know how that's possible. What is going on in the world where Beyoncé hasn't won album of the year?" asked Ryan Tedder, a producer on "Beyoncé."
"I don't understand — so I'm hoping this is her year," he added.
Though Beyoncé's chances are strong, so are her competitors.
Sam Smith, the crooning darling who stole hearts with his piercing voice and breathtaking ballads, is also nominated for album of the year. Smith and Beyoncé — along with fellow album of the year nominee, Pharrell — lead the awards with six nominations each.
Ed Sheeran's "X," the most streamed album on Spotify last year, is also up for the top prize along with Beck's "Morning Phase."
"I've lost many, many times, so I'm very acclimated to losing," Beck said in an interview. "But I'm definitely in the camp of a nomination is good enough; you know, just getting to be there, just being part of it."
While the race for album of the year is hotly anticipated, the performances at the Staples Center will dominate the next day's conversation. Rihanna will perform her new single, "FourFiveSeconds," with Kanye West and Paul McCartney; Madonna is set to the hit the stage; and other performances range from AC/DC to Ariana Grande, Herbie Hancock and Lady Gaga with Tony Bennett.
Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Pharrell, Sia, John Mayer and Mary J. Blige are also part of the all-star lineup of performers.
Smith, who will also perform, will compete for best pop vocal album for "In the Lonely Hour" and best pop solo performance, song and record of the year for "Stay With Me." He scored nominations in all four top categories, including best new artist, where he will go head-to-head with Haim, Bastille, Brandy Clark and Iggy Azalea, who is nominated for four awards.
Azalea's debut album, "The New Classic," is nominated for best rap album, where she will compete with Eminem and Common, among others. "Fancy," the Australian performer's breakthrough hit, is nominated for record of the year and best pop duo/group performance.
Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off," Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" and Sia's "Chandelier" are nominated for both record and song of the year. Hozier's haunting "Take Me to Church" rounds out the list of song of the year nominees.
Gwen Stefani, Miranda Lambert, Usher and Annie Lennox will also perform at the Grammys, to be hosted by LL Cool J.
Beyoncé's other nominations include best R&B song and performance for "Drunk In Love" with Jay Z.