Predicting the major category winners of Grammys 2019

Click here for the genre category predictions.

 

The Grammys assert themselves as the premiere music governing body in the industry, but over the years, many of its award-making decisions tend to fall flat. Being the most subjective art form in the history of mankind, it does seem redundant to present a single award to one album of a particular genre that can be wildly different from the millions of records released over the course of the year. 

Yet, every year we go through the same process over and over. A certain award is presented and we’re disappointed, we get mad then we see the new batch of nominations, we’re hopeful once again and we proceed to complete the cycle. This year will be no different, so why not have a little fun with it and place some bets on potential winners. 

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • Invasion of Privacy – Cardi B
  • By The Way, I Forgive You – Brandi Carlile
  • Scorpion – Drake
  • H.E.R – H.E.R
  • Beerbongs & Bentleys – Post Malone
  • Dirty Computer – Janelle Monae
  • Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves
  • Black Panther Soundtrack – Various Artists

Biggest snubs: Ariana Grande – Sweetener, Kids See Ghosts – Kids See Ghosts, Mitski – Be The Cowboy

Just like the 2018 nominations, this year’s AOTY nominees are very solid picks, save for the obvious commercial shoe-ins with Scorpion and Beerbongs & Bentleys. It’s hard to pick to a clear standout from this lineup, as there isn’t a universally acclaimed entry like DAMN. or Random Access Memories of past years. It’s exciting to see a list that’s as unpredictable as this one.

Will Win: Invasion of Privacy – Cardi B / Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves is the safest pick the Academy could make. It was probably the best reviewed country album this year, and the commercial pop appeal of the album would sit well with the older demographics (i.e. Academy voters). As for Cardi B, she’s had the one of the most meteoric come-ups in recent years; topping the Hot 100 multiple times this year alone. The braggadocio, the charisma, the infectious energy. She’s a clear favorite to win when seen from a pure marketing point of view. If she wins, she will be the first rapper to do so since Outkast in 2004.

Should Win: Dirty Computer – Janelle Monae

Dirty Computer is THE best R&B record of 2018. It’s a powerhouse statement on femininity, Blackness and what it means to be American; all wrapped up in a perfect commercial art package. Her entire music career leading up to this point has been high after high, each release better than the last, it is high time for her to be acknowledged and for the world to recognise Janelle Monae’s genius.

SONG OF THE YEAR

  • “All The Stars” – Kendrick Lamar & SZA
  • “Boo’d Up” – Ella Mai
  • “God’s Plan” – Drake
  • “In My Blood” – Shawn Mendes
  • “The Joke” – Brandi Carlile
  • “The Middle” – Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey
  • “Shallow” – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
  • “This Is America” – Childish Gambino

Biggest snubs: Travis Scott – “SICKO MODE”, Ariana Grande – “God is a Woman”, Janelle Monae – “Pynk”

SOTY is an award that recognizes the songwriting capabilities of each nominee. Honestly, a lot of these songs fall into generic pop lyricism save for a handful of them (so you know which one will come out as favorites to win). Also, rap songs have never been awarded this award and I don’t see it happening this year as well (sorry Gambino and Kendrick).

Will Win: Shallow – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper

The Grammys love their pop ballads, just look at the previous winner of the award. Still, “Shallow” is an amazing song that is equally heartfelt and gut-wrenching. With the hype train of ‘A Star Is Born’ going full steam into the 2018 awards season, it would be no surprise at all if it carries over into Grammys 2019.

Should Win: Shallow – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper

Their win should be a no-brainer save for a potential surprise win from Brandi Carlile or Shawn Mendes. “Shallow” has been seen incredible success among mainstream listeners and is a clear front-runner for the ‘Best Original Song’ Oscar. Winning this award will just be the icing on the cake for the duo who have had an absolute career victory lap this year.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

  • “I Like It” – Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin
  • “Shallow” – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
  • “The Joke” – Brandi Carlile
  • “This Is America” – Childish Gambino
  • “God’s Plan” – Drake
  • “All The Stars” – Kendrick Lamar & SZA
  • “Rockstar” – Post Malone Feat. 21 Savage
  • “The Middle” – Zedd Feat. Marren Morris & Grey

Biggest snubs: Juice WRLD – “Lucid Dreams”, Kanye West – “Ghost Town”, Camila Cabello – “Havana”

ROTY is presented to the performing artist, the producer, recording engineer and/or mixer of the song. There’s a huge overlap between the SOTY nominees and this, but their respective criterias are complete beasts of their own. Yet only one track clearly stands out among the rest.

Will Win: This is America – Childish Gambino

From a songwriting standpoint, “This is America” comes up as pretty lackluster but paired with its incredibly hard-hitting production and impeccable song structure, it stands a very high chance of winning. No other song this year has sounded this original, this bold and this confronting.

Should Win: This is America – Childish Gambino

What other track this year was able to garner the attention it did? Its political messages along with the subtle yet obvious jabs at American society instantly fired up the music world. The think pieces, the reactions, the discussions; all of which solidifying the fact that Childish Gambino is a goddamn genius. 

BEST NEW ARTIST

  • Chloe x Halle
  • Luke Combs
  • Greta Van Fleet
  • H.E.R.
  • Dua Lipa
  • Margo Price
  • Bebe Rexha
  • Jorja Smith

Biggest snubs: Lil Pump, Jessie Reyez, Billie Eilish, Joji, Juice WRLD

This award needs no explanation but the fact there isn’t a single rapper in this list is insulting given that rap is the current driving force of the industry. Still, it’s the Grammys so there’s not much reason to be that surprised about the picks. Plus the nominees on this list are pretty solid as well, with each artist having a considerable amount of chance of winning.

Will Win: H.E.R.

Unless we see a repeat of SZA last year where she was nominated for both AOTY and BNA (and lost both), H.E.R. should be a clear winner since she’s the only artist on this list that’s nominated in the other major categories. Plus she’s seemingly taken up the role as the underdog at next year’s ceremony so there should be able to nab at least one win.

Should Win: Jorja Smith

Of course, this pick is extremely biased because I am a huge Jorja Smith fan and her debut album – Lost & Found absolutely blew me away. Her soulful and traditional vocals paired with contemporary R&B production might not set her up as the biggest standout from the nominees, but it still makes her a very strong pick for the award.

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