Grammys 2024: Top nominees include SZA, Phoebe Bridgers, Victoria Monét and, close behind, Taylor Swift

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By George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune

SZA didn’t quite make history with Friday morning’s announcement of the 2023 Grammy Awards nominees. But she came close on a ballot that saw women artists dominating the nominations for Best New Artist and Album, Record and Song of the Year in apparent record numbers.

A genre-blurring singer, songwriter and sly musical provocateur, SZA earned a field-leading nine nominations. They include nods for Album of the Year (for her critically acclaimed and chart-topping “SOS”) and Record and Song of the Year (both for “Kill Bill,” which takes its name from the 2003 Quentin Tarantino film and tells a similar tale of vengeance).

SZA’s nine nominations are almost a record, but not quite. Lauryn Hill and Beyoncé each had 10 nominations, in 1999 and 2010, respectively. Beyoncé’s six 2010 wins set a record for the most Grammys won in a single year by a female artist, which Adele tied with her six wins in 2012.

Beyoncé, who won four awards at this year’s Grammys, has a total of 32 wins, a record for any female artist. But she has yet to win for Record or Album of the Year, two of the four most prestigious categories.

Should SZA take the prize for Album of the Year, she will be only the fourth Black woman artist in Grammy history to do so, following in the footsteps of Hill, Natalie Cole and Whitney Houston.

That said, the odds are good that a woman artist will prevail when the winners of the 66th annual edition of the Grammys are announced Feb. 4 during a CBS telecast from Arena in Los Angeles.

With the exception of jazzy pop-and-beyond veteran Jon Batiste — last year’s surprise victor — the other seven Album of the Year nominees this time around are women. They include — in addition to SZA — Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Janelle Monáe, Miley Cyrus, the all-woman trio boygenius and Olivia Rodrigo, 20, who won three Grammys last year.

The similarly high-profile Record of the Year nominations went to many of the same artists, all but one a woman. The contenders are “Worship” by Batiste, “Not Strong Enough” by boygenius, “Flowers” by Cyrus, “What Was I Made For?” (from the movie “Barbie”) by Billie Eilish, “On My Mama” by Monét, “vampire” by Rodrigo, “Anti-Hero” by Swift and “Kill Bill” by SZA.

Jon Batiste performs at “A New York Evening With Jon Batiste” at National Sawdust on October 17, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Likewise, Batiste is the only male artist to earn a 2024 Record of the Year nomination, for his understated piano ballad, “Butterfly.” The other nominees in this category — which honors songwriters — include Swift’s “Anti-Hero,” Del Rey’s “A&W,” SZA’s “Kill Bill,” Cyrus’ “Flowers,” Rodrigo’s “vampire,” Eilish’s “What Was I Made For” and Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night” (which, like Eilish’s song, is featured in the movie “Barbie).

Women artists also fared well in the Best New Artist category. The nominees include Ice Spice, Gracie Abrams, Coco Jones, vocal duo The War and Treaty (which teams Tanya Trotter with her husband, Michael) and neo-R&B singer Victoria Monét, who is nominated in six other categories. They will be vying against the three male Best New Artist nominees — Jelly Roll (whose first recording came out in 2011), Noah Kahan and Fred again..

Surprisingly absent from the list of Best New Artist contenders are such rising performers as Mexico’s Peso Pluma, Iceland’s Laufey and Louisiana native Lainey Wilson, who on Wednesday won in five categories at the 2023 Country Music Association Awards.

The winners will be determined by the 11,000-plus voting members of the Los Angeles-based Recording Academy, under whose auspices nominations in 91 categories are made and votes cast. More than 16,000 recordings were submitted for Grammy consideration. (A list of contenders in the major categories appears later in this article.)

In a significant change, the number of nominees in the Album of the Year category has been reduced to eight, down from 10 the past two years. Ditto the number of nominees in the other three highest-profile Grammy categories — Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist. Whether this reduction will change the dynamics or shift the odds when ballots are cast remains to be seen.

If they do, SZA — real name: Solána Imani Rowe — could, at least in theory, top past winners Beyoncé and Adele. But to do so, SZA will have to trounce an array of fellow nominees, at least a few of whom have much higher profiles.


Neo-R&B singer Monét, Phoebe Bridgers and Canadian record producer Serban Ghenea each have seven nominations. Close behind, with six apiece, are Swift, Batiste, Rodrigo, Cyrus, boygenius (whose lineup includes Bridgers), Jack Antonoff and country music singer-songwriter Brandy Clark.

Taylor Swift attends “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” Concert Movie World Premiere at AMC The Grove 14 on October 11, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Swift has won three previous Album of the Year Grammys, the most by any women artist. She had the biggest year of her already momentous career in 2023, when her record-setting North American tour drew 3 million fans and earned $780 million for its first 56 stadium concert stops. Interest in her is so high that USA Today this month hired a full-time “Taylor Swift beat reporter.” Her beatification may only be a matter of time.

So, unless there is an unexpected backlash against her from Grammy voters, Swift, 33, could well emerge as the biggest winner when the Grammy telecast is held in February. SZA, 34, may be hindered by the fact that — unlike Swift — she is not yet a household name with all Grammy voters. (SZA’s sole previous win was two years ago in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category as a featured artist on Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More.”)

Antonoff, Swift’s frequent songwriting partner, is one of the most sought-after collaborators in pop music. He will be competing with himself, in a manner. He shares in two Album of the Year nominations (for his work on Swift’s “Midnights” and Del Rey’s “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.”), and two Song of the Year nods (for Swift’s “Anti-Hero” and Del Rey’s “A&W). Antonoff is also up for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical honors.

The 2024 nominees were announced during a 30-minute livestream on and the Recording Academy’s YouTube channel by multiple artists and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. The scheduled artists included St. Vincent, Vince Gill, Samara Joy, Kim Petras, Muni Long, Arooj Aftab, “Weird Al” Yankovic and Jon Bon Jovi, who will be honored Feb. 2 as the Grammy and Recording Academy’s MusicCares Person of the Year all-star concert in Los Angeles.

“We are thrilled to kick off Grammy season with this year’s diverse and genre-bending slate of nominees, representing the best of their craft and an incredible year of music,” Mason said in a statement released Friday morning. “From breakthrough acts to legacy artists, we are amazed by all the musicians recognized for their outstanding contributions to music today …”

Intriguingly, none of the latest crop of Album of the Year nominees qualify as legacy artists, at least not yet. That designation typically applies to veteran performers, such as 2024 Best Folk Album nominee Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen, whose sole nomination this time around is so far down the list of 91 categories you may need a magnifying glass to find it.

The unprecedented dominance of women artists for Album of the Year, the single most prestigious Grammy category, can be viewed as a welcome development — and an overdue course correction.

The Recording Academy has been under increasing fire in recent years for its failure to recognize women artists. Between 2013 and 2018, only 9.5 percent of the nominees have been women and the number of women winners since then has not improved dramatically.

Mason has made a palpable impact since coming on board as the head of the Recording Academy in 2020, diversifying the nonprofit organization’s membership and spearheading a number of forward-looking initiatives that have earned him praise even from some staunch Grammy critics.

But the academy was jarred earlier this week by news reports that Mason’s predecessor twice removed — former academy CEO Neil Portnow — is being sued by an unidentified woman musician. She accuses him of drugging and raping her in 2018 in a New York City hotel room, a charge Portnow has vehemently denied. The academy said in a statement that the claims against Portnow are “without merit” and that the organization will “vigorously defend itself in this lawsuit.”

High-profile omissions

As is often the case when Grammy nominations are announced, some of the omissions may draw nearly as much attention as the biggest contenders.

Morgan Wallen did not get an Album of the Year nomination, despite being the top-selling country-music artist of this decade. His omission may reflect that Grammy voters — who also cast ballots to determine the nominees — haven’t forgotten the videotape of Wallen’s racially charged drunken rant in 2021, or his flaunting of pandemic masking rules (which got him booted from his musical guest spot on “Saturday Night Live”).

Morgan Wallen performs onstage during the 57th Annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 08, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Also conspicuously absent from the list of 2024 Grammy Album of the Year contenders is the band Foo Fighters, which this year released its first new album since the 2022 death of its drummer, Taylor Hawkins.

Another MIA from that category is Drake, who has boycotted the Grammys in recent years to protest Black artists being overlooked in the nominations. He did, however, submit this year his joint 2022 album with British rapper 21 Savage, “Her Loss,” for Album of the Year consideration.

It didn’t make the cut in that category. Neither did the latest albums by Ed Sheeran, Luke Combs, Bad Bunny, Zach Bryan or the soundtrack “Barbie, The Album,” which did garner four nominations in a lower-profile category.

Recordings released between Oct. 1, 2022, and Sept. 15, 2023, was eligible for Grammy consideration. The first round of voting concluded Oct. 20. The final round is from Dec. 14, 2023, to Jan. 4, 2024. The winners will be announced Feb. 4 during the CBS telecast.

2024 Grammy nominees

Here are the contenders in 10 of the 91 Grammy categories. A full list of nominees is available at

Album of the Year

“World Music Radio” — Jon Batiste

“the record” — boygenius

“Endless Summer Vacation” — Miley Cyrus

“Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.” — Lana Del Rey

“The Age of Pleasure” — Janelle Monáe

“GUTS” — Olivia Rodrigo

“Midnights” — Taylor Swift


Song Of The Year

“A&W” — Jack Antonoff, Lana Del Rey & Sam Dew, songwriters (Recorded by Lana Del Rey)

“Anti-Hero” — Jack Antonoff & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Recorded by Taylor Swift)

“Butterfly” — Jon Batiste & Dan Wilson, songwriters (Recorded by Jon Batiste)

“Dance The Night” (from “Barbie The Album”) — Caroline Ailin, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Recorded by Dua Lipa)

“Flowers” — Miley Cyrus, Gregory Aldae Hein & Michael Pollack, songwriters (Recorded by Miley Cyrus)

“Kill Bill” — Rob Bisel, Carter Lang & Solána Rowe, songwriters (Recorded by SZA)

“vampire” — Daniel Nigro & Olivia Rodrigo, songwriters (Recorded by Oliva Rodrigo)

“What Was I Made For?” (from the movie “Barbie”) — Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Recorded by Billie Eilish)

Best New Artist

Gracie Abrams

Fred again..

Ice Spice

Jelly Roll

Coco Jones

Noah Kahan

Victoria Monét

The War and Treaty

Best Rock Album

“But Here We Are” — Foo Fighters

“Starcatcher” — Greta Van Fleet

“72 Seasons” — Metallica

“This Is Why” — Paramore

“In Times New Roman…” — Queens of the Stone Age

Best Alternative Music Album

“The Car” — Arctic Monkeys

“the record” — boygenius

“Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.” — Lana Del Rey

“Cracker Island” — Gorillaz

“I Inside the Old Year Dying” — PJ Harvey

Best R&B Album

“Girls Night Out” — Babyface

“What I Didn’t Tell You” (Deluxe) — Coco Jones

“Special Occasion” — Emily King

“JAGUAR II” — Victoria Monét

“CLEAR 2: SOFT LIFE” EP — Summer Walker

Best Pop Vocal Album

“chemistry” — Kelly Clarkson

“Endless Summer Vacation” — Miley Cyrus

“GUTS” — Olivia Rodrigo

“- (Subtract)” — Ed Sheeran

“Midnights” — Taylor Swift

Best Pop Dance Recording

“Baby Don’t Hurt Me” — David Guetta, Anne-Marie & Coi Leray

“Miracle” — Calvin Harris Featuring Ellie Goulding

“Padam Padam” — Kylie Minogue

“One in a Million” — Bebe Rexha & David Guetta

“Rush” — Troye Sivan

Best Dance/Electronic Music Album

“Playing Robots Into Heaven” — James Blake

“For That Beautiful Feeling” — The Chemical Brothers

“Actual Life 3 (January 1 – September 9 2022)” — Fred again..

“Kx5” — Kx5

“Quest For Fire” — Skrillex

Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical

Jack Antonoff

Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II


Metro Boomin

Daniel Nigro

Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical

Edgar Barrera

Jessie Jo Dillon

Shane McAnally

Theron Thomas

Justin Tranter

San Diego Union-Tribune music critic George Varga began drumming in rock bands at 12 and writing professionally about music at 15. A Louisiana native who grew up mostly in Germany, Varga has earned three Pulitzer Prize nominations for his writing at the U-T and is a voting member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to providing live coverage of the Grammy Awards and festivals from Coachella and KAABOO to the 1994 edition of Woodstock, he has interviewed everyone from Miles Davis, Britney Spears and (over a game of chess) Ray Charles to Willie Nelson, Kanye West and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis. A triple first-prize winner for criticism and arts writing at the 2022 San Diego Press Club awards, Varga is also a contributing writer for Jazz Times magazine and has written for Billboard, Spin and other publications. After attending San Diego City College and San Diego State University, he created and taught the 2002 UC San Diego Extension course, “Jazz in a Post-Ken-Burns World.” Varga has written liner notes for more than a dozen albums, including by jazz sax greats James Moody and Michael Brecker, and contributed two chapters to the book, “Dylan: Disc By Disc.”

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