And the Grammys will go to ...

And the Grammys will go to ...

By TODD DURNIL

This has been a frustrating year for the music industry. While compact-disc sales continue to decline, digital sales also have seen a sharp decline. Vinyl records continue to make a comeback, while streaming has quickly become the preferred medium for music universally. It's a format, however, that does not generate a lot of money, and the industry has basically imploded.

What does this mean? Development of an artist seems to be a thing of the past. Are we producing long-lasting artists whose music will leave a lasting impression for decades to come? With a few exceptions, the answer really is no.

You cannot easily put 2016 Grammy nominees like Justin Bieber, Drake and Beyonce on the same level as Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder or Carole King, can you? Time will tell if we'll hear "Hotline Bling" on the radio in 40 years, but my guess is we will not.

So, in the end, the real music out there are the independents and local musicians who are plugging away at creating a sound that will last for decades to come. Unfortunately, these are not the artists that the Grammy Awards recognize this year — so we must try to put Justin Bieber in the same league as the music legends of the past.

Mind you, there is nothing wrong with Justin Bieber for today's music — there have always been teen idols — his is just not the music most of us would consider "Grammy" material. And, once again, there are many great albums and artists that have been overlooked by this year's nominations.

With that said, here are my predictions for the winners at of the 59th annual Grammy Awards, which will be televised live with host James Corden at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

■ "25" — Adele
■ "Lemonade" — Beyonce
■ "Purpose" — Justin Bieber
■ "Views" — Drake
■ "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" — Sturgill Simpson

This is really a two-way race between Adele and Beyonce. Adele truly is one of those artists we will still hear in 40 years, and "25," while not as strong as the previous Grammy-winning mega-seller "21," was a major "event" record, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide — 10 million in the U.S. alone — and was the biggest selling compact disc of the year.

Meanwhile, Beyonce's "Lemonade" was a powerful personal album that reflected on her marriage and was the second of her albums to feature a companion full-length music video, something that actually goes back to the early '80s with Michael Nesmith's "Elephant Parts" and Olivia Newton-John's "Physical."

WILL WIN: Beyonce
SHOULD WIN: Adele
WHAT'S MISSING: Where is David Bowie's "Blackstar"? His greatest effort in 30 years, and final recording, was earmarked to be a sentimental favorite this year yet received no Grammy love. Also, the best album I heard this year was Michael Kiwanuka's "Love & Hate," completely ignored by the industry this year. In addition, Radiohead's "A Moon Shaped Pool" was the band's strongest album in years and expected to be a nominee here but didn't. Also, where's Beyonc's kid sister, Solange? Her album, "A Seat at the Table," which is arguably even better than "Lemonade," was rush-released just so it could qualify for the Grammys, but only nabbed one nomination.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

■ "Hello" — Adele
■ "Formation" — Beyonce
■ "7 Years" — Lukas Graham
■ "Work" — Rihanna, featuring Drake
■ "Stressed Out" — Twenty One Pilots

There really is no contest here. Adele's single "Hello" was the biggest-selling single of the year, No. 1 for 10 weeks during the holiday season of 2015-16. It was an "event" single, perfectly setting up the album "25" and generating millions in sales. All of the other singles pale in comparison.

WILL WIN: Adele
SHOULD WIN: Adele
WHAT'S MISSING: Michael Kiwanuka's "Black Man in a White World," The Lumineers' "Ophelia" and my pick, Jack Savoretti's "Catapult," one of the most beautiful songs ever. It might not have been eligible as it has not yet been officially released in the U.S.

SONG OF THE YEAR

■ "Formation" — Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyonce Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyonce)
■ "Hello" — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)
■ "I Took A Pill In Ibiza" — Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)
■ "Love Yourself" — Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)
■ "7 Years" — Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)

Once again, this one goes to Adele and co-writer Greg Kurstin. Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran's "Love Yourself" is a strong contender, as is Lukas Graham's "7 Years," but it's hard to top Adele here.

WILL WIN: "Hello"
SHOULD WIN: "Hello"
WHAT'S MISSING: Michael Kiwanuka's "Black Man in a White World," The Lumineers' "Cleopatra," David Bowie's "Lazarus."

BEST NEW ARTIST

■ Kelsea Ballerini
■ The Chainsmokers
■ Chance The Rapper
■ Maren Morris
■ Anderson .Paak

This is a three-way race between Chance the Rapper, Morris and .Paak. All three add a new spin on their respective genres: Chance brings a gospel vibe to hard lyrics about living and a style he's created called "Acid-Rap"; Morris is a throwback to the great country female singers of the past; and .Paak brings a jazz and soul mix to his contemporary dance music that is quite refreshing.

WILL WIN: Chance the Rapper
SHOULD WIN: Anderson .Paak
WHO'S MISSING: Lukas Graham, Whitney, Margo Price.

BEST POP ALBUM

■ "25" — Adele
■ "Purpose" — Justin Bieber
■ "Dangerous Woman" — Ariana Grande
■ "Confident" — Demi Lovato
■ "This Is Acting" — Sia

Once again, this one goes to Adele.

WILL WIN: Adele
SHOULD WIN: Adele

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

■ "Hello" — Adele
■ "Hold Up" — Beyonce
■ "Love Yourself" — Justin Bieber
■ "Piece By Piece (Idol Version)" — Kelly Clarkson
■ "Dangerous Woman" — Ariana Grande

Again, Adele. Kelly Clarkson gave a beautiful performance on "American Idol," but does it qualify for a Grammy?

WILL WIN: Adele
SHOULD WIN: Ariana Grande

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

■ "Closer" — The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey
■ "7 Years" — Lukas Graham
■ "Work" — Rihanna featuring Drake
■ "Cheap Thrills" — Sia featuring Sean Paul
■ "Stressed Out" — Twenty One Pilots

Danish band Lukas Graham will take the award for this one.

WILL WIN: Lukas Graham for "7 Years"
SHOULD WIN: Rihanna and Drake for "Work"

BEST TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL ALBUM

■ "Cinema" — Andrea Bocelli
■ "Fallen Angels" — Bob Dylan
■ "Stages Live"— Josh Groban
■ "Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin" — Willie Nelson
■ "Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway" — Barbra Streisand

Tough category, really. Anyone here could win. My guess is Nelson.

WILL WIN: Willie Nelson

BEST ROCK ALBUM

■ "California" — Blink-182
■ "Tell Me I'm Pretty" — Cage the Elephant
■ "Magma" — Gojira
■ "Death of a Bachelor" — Panic! at the Disco
■ "Weezer" — Weezer

Weezer nabbed its first music nomination — its only other came with the music video for "Pork and Beans" in 2009, when the band won best short-form music video. They are beyond deserving for the award, and "Weezer" (aka "The White Album") was one of their greatest efforts.

WILL WIN: Weezer
SHOULD WIN: Weezer

BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM

■ "22, A Million" — Bon Iver
■ "Blackstar" — David Bowie
■ "The Hope Six Demolition Project" — PJ Harvey
■ "Post Pop Depression" — Iggy Pop
■ "A Moon Shaped Pool" — Radiohead

This category is so much more interesting, and finally Bowie ("Blackstar" and Radiohead ("A Moon Shaped Pool") get some love. I do not understand the point, though, to have two rock-album categories at this point. The two categories need to be streamlined into one — it's just too confusing, as you will see in the best-rock-song category.

WILL WIN: Bowie, "Blackstar"
SHOULD WIN: Bowie

BEST ROCK SONG

■ "Blackstar" — David Bowie, songwriter (David Bowie)
■ "Burn The Witch" — Radiohead, songwriters (Radiohead)
■ "Hardwired" — James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, songwriters (Metallica)
■ "Heathens" — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)
■ "My Name Is Human" — Rich Meyer, Ryan Meyer and Johnny Stevens, songwriters (Highly Suspect)

Here's where the categories blur. So, Radiohead and Bowie — are they rock or alternative? No matter, Radiohead will win this one. The song is one of their most hypnotic.

WILL WIN: Radiohead, "Burn The Witch"
SHOULD WIN: Radiohead
WHAT'S MISSING: Bowie's "Lazarus"

BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE

■ "Joe" (Live from Austin City Limits) — Alabama Shakes
■ "Don't Hurt Yourself" — Beyonce featuring Jack White
■ "Blackstar" — David Bowie
■ "The Sound of Silence" — Disturbed
■ "Heathens" — Twenty-One Pilots

The only real choice here is Bowie, though I wish they would have nominated "Lazarus" instead of the 10-minute epic "Blackstar." A lot of folks loved Disturbed's version of Paul Simon's classic "The Sound of Silence," but I thought it was overwrought.

WILL WIN: Bowie for "Blackstar"
SHOULD WIN: Bowie

BEST R&B ALBUM

■ "In My Mind" — BJ The Chicago Kid
■ "Lalah Hathaway Live" — Lalah Hathaway
■ "Velvet Portraits" — Terrace Martin
■ "Healing Season" — Mint Condition
■ "Smoove Jones" — Mya

Once again, the Grammys need to streamline the R&B and the urban contemporary categories. As it is, this is a weak category. Best bet is BJ.

WILL WIN: BJ the Chicago Kid, "In My Mind"
SHOULD WIN: BJ the Chicago Kid

BEST URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM

■ "Lemonade" — Beyonce
■ "Ology" — Gallant
■ "We Are King" — KING
■ "Malibu" — Anderson .Paak
■ "Anti" — Rihanna

This is a strong category. All of the nominees had major impact in the field, but this one is Bey's.

WILL WIN: Beyonce, "Lemonade"
SHOULD WIN: Beyonce
WHAT'S MISSING: "A Room at the Table" by Solange — even better than her sister's album.

BEST R&B SONG

■ "Come and See Me" — PartyNextDoor featuring Drake
■ "Exchange" — Bryson Tiller
■ "Kiss It Better" — Rihanna
■ "Lake by the Ocean" — Maxwell
■ "Luv" — Tory Lanez

This may be the weakest category on the entire list. The only "song" here is Maxwell's "Lake by the Ocean." The rest is just garbage, really. Where is the future of R&B? If this is it, we're in for weak music. Last year, this category was strong, so I'm thinking this may just be an off year. As it is, no one on this list really deserves a Grammy for anything.

WILL WIN: Maxwell

SHOULD WIN: Maxwell
WHAT'S MISSING: I think it is quite telling just how weak this field is this year when the top-ranked album of the year, Beyonce's "Lemonade," does not spin-off one song for R&B song of the year. I also find it quite odd that the R&B field did not support Michael Kiwanuka's powerful "Black Man in a White World," the true anthem of the past year. The Grammy awards, overall, are really bad this year. And where's Solange?

BEST R&B PERFORMANCE

■ "Turnin' Me Up" — BJ the Chicago Kid
■ "Permission" — Ro James
■ "I Do" — Musiq Soulchild
■ "Needed Me" — Rihanna
■ "Cranes in the Sky" — Solange

Solange topped her sister with the near-perfect "A Seat at the Table," then rush-released it on the final day of eligibility for the Grammy nominations only to get this one nod, and it's the most deserving award of the night. This is truly the album that will overshadow most of the music that will be honored. It's easily one of the best records of the year. I will also say that this category is so much more deserving than anything listed for best R&B song that it makes me wonder what was going through minds of those who chose nominations for that category. Also, why are there so many confusing categories? Again, the awards need to be streamlined.

WILL WIN: Solange, "Cranes in the Sky"
SHOULD WIN: Solange

BEST TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE

■ "The Three of Me" — William Bell
■ "Woman's World" — BJ the Chicago Kid
■ "Sleeping with the One I Love" — Fantasia
■ "Angel" — Lalah Hathaway
■ "Can't Wait" — Jill Scott

Why are there so many categories in the R&B field? Just as I said with alternative and rock, this field needs to be condensed. I understand that this appears to be more a traditional-based R&B sound and it features two artists in particular, Bell and Hathaway (daughter of the late legendary Donny Hathaway), who have been in the game for many decades. With that said, I'm guessing that the votes will go to 77-year-old Bell, who has been making music since the early '60s. A true legend in this field.

WILL WIN: William Bell
SHOULD WIN: Bell

BEST RAP ALBUM

■ "Coloring Book" — Chance The Rapper
■ "And the Anonymous Nobody" — De La Soul
■ "Major Key" — DJ Khaled
■ "Views" — Drake
■ "Blank Face LP" — Schoolboy Q
■ "The Life of Pablo" — Kanye West

Blending thought-provoking lyrics with an inspirational message, Chance the Rapper has received the most acclaim here, though overall, this is a strong category. Kanye could easily take it, too, but I think there's so much controversy around even saying his name that the academy will pass. Drake was immensely popular and did receive a nomination for album of the year, but this is easily Chance's to lose.

WILL WIN: Chance the Rapper, "Coloring Book"
SHOULD WIN: Kanye West, "The Life of Pablo"

BEST RAP SONG

■ "All the Way Up" — Fat Joe and Remy Ma featuring French Montana and Infared
■ "Famous" — Kanye West featuring Rihanna
■ "Hotline Bling" — Drake
■ "No Problem" — Chance the Rapper featuring Lil' Wayne and 2 Chainz
■ "Ultralight Beam" — Kanye West featuring Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin and The Dream

This should be what keeps Drake from going home empty-handed, but there's a lot of competition here, especially from Kanye and Chance.

WILL WIN: Drake, "Hotline Bling"
SHOULD WIN: Kanye West, "Ultralight Beam"

BEST RAP PERFORMANCE

■ "No Problem" — Chance The Rapper Featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz
■ "Panda" — Desiigner
■ "Pop Style" — Drake featuring The Throne
■ "All The Way Up" — Fat Joe and Remy Ma featuring French Montana & Infared
■ "That Part" — Schoolboy Q Featuring Kanye West

Chance The Rapper has this one, too.

WILL WIN: Chance the Rapper
SHOULD WIN: Chance the Rapper

BEST RAP/SUNG PERFORMANCE

■ "Freedom" — Beyonce Featuring Kendrick Lamar
■ "Hotline Bling" — Drake
■ "Broccoli" — D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty
■ "Ultralight Beam" — Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin and The-Dream
■ "Famous" — Kanye West Featuring Rihanna

Tough category. This could go to anyone on this list — it's quite possibly the strongest category of the awards. I'm guessing it will go to Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar, but Drake's song was everywhere, and Kanye has a pair that could potentially snag the award from Bey's hands, which would be an interesting turn of events, huh?

WILL WIN: Beyonce and Kendrick Lemar, "Freedom"

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM

■ "Big Day in a Small Town" — Brandy Clark
■ "Full Circle" — Loretta Lynn
■ "Hero" — Maren Morris
■ "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" — Sturgill Simpson
■ "Ripcord" — Keith Urban

Sturgill Simpson stunned everyone with a nomination in the major category for album of the year, so it's a sure bet he will easily win this category. Tough competition from two ladies: legend Lynn, capping off her career with one final album, could be a sentimental favorite, and newcomer Morris, who is also nominated for best new artist.

WILL WIN: Sturgill Simpson
SHOULD WIN: Loretta Lynn

BEST COUNTRY SONG

■ "Blue Ain't Your Color" — Keith Urban
■ "Die a Happy Man" — Thomas Rhett
■ "Humble and Kind" — Tim McGraw
■ "My Church" — Maren Morris
■ "Vice" — Miranda Lambert

This will be Morris' turn for Grammy gold.

WILL WIN: Marren Morris, "My Church"
SHOULD WIN: Morris

BEST COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE

■ "Love Can Go To Hell" — Brandy Clark
■ "Vice" — Miranda Lambert
■ "My Church" — Maren Morris
■ "Church Bells" — Carrie Underwood
■ "Blue Ain't Your Color" — Keith Urban

Surrounded by women in this category, Urban may have a chance to win here.

WILL WIN: Keith Urban for "Blue Ain't Your Color"
SHOULD WIN: Brandy Clark for "Love Can Go To Hell"

BEST COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

■ "Different for Girls" — Dierks Bentley and Elle King
■ "21 Summer" — Brothers Osborne
■ "Setting the World on Fire" — Kenny Chesney and P!nk
■ "Jolene" — Dolly Parton and Pentatonix
■ "Think of You" — Chris Young and Cassadee Pope

Nothing tops the legendary Dolly doing an a cappella version of her classic "Jolene" with the top vocal group on the scene today. Not even Pink singing a country song. Nothing.

WILL WIN: Dolly Parton and Pentatonix for "Jolene"
SHOULD WIN: Parton and Pentatonix

BEST AMERICANA ALBUM

■ "True Sadness" — The Avett Brothers
■ "This Is Where I Live" — William Bell
■ "The Cedar Creek Sessions" — Kris Kristofferson
■ "The Bird & the Rifle" — Lori McKenna
■ "Kid Sister" — The Time Jumpers

The Vince Gill-led Time Jumpers have released a masterpiece. It will surely get rewarded. However, there isn't a bad album on this list.

WILL WIN: The Time Jumpers

BEST AMERICAN ROOTS SONG

■ "Alabama at Night" — Robbie Fulks
■ "City Lights" — Jack White
■ "Gulfstream" — Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars
■ "Kid Sister" — The Time Jumpers
■ "Wreck You" — Lori McKenna

I've played McKenna's "Wreck You" on my radio show, "Bleecker Street" (10 p.m. Thursdays at WEFT 90.1 FM), and it's a beautiful song. Anything can happen here, but I'm shooting for McKenna.

WILL WIN: Lori McKenna

BEST AMERICAN ROOTS PERFORMANCE

■ "Ain't No Man" — The Avett Brothers
■ "Mother's Children Have a Hard Time" — Blind Boys Of Alabama
■ "Factory Girl" — Rhiannon Giddens
■ "House of Mercy" — Sarah Jarosz
■ "Wreck You" — Lori McKenna

The solo performance from Carolina Chocolate Drops' Rhiannon Giddens, who's performed at Krannert Center, is absolutely beautiful. Well worth the Grammy gold.

WILL WIN: Giddens for "Factory Girl"

Todd Durnil of Champaign is a music promoter with the company Nightjar Promotions and hosts "Bleecker Street" from 10 p.m. to midnight Thursdays on WEFT Radio 90.1-FM.

Gunn among artists with local ties up for a Grammy

Three artists with local ties are nominated this year:

NATHAN GUNN of Champaign, general director of Lyric Theatre @ Illinois, is among a group of artists nominated for best opera recording for Jennifer Higdon's opera "Cold Mountain," in which Gunn performed the lead male role of Inman. Gunn won his first Grammy in 2010 in the same category for his performance in Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd."

— Perennial Grammy nominee ARCHEOPHONE RECORDS, operated by Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey in Champaign, received two nods for best historical recording and best album liner notes for "Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900," featuring various artists. This is the first time Martin received a nomination as a writer. Altogether, Archeophone has received 14 Grammy nominations. Archeophone won in 2006 for best historical album for "Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1891-1922."

— Urbana native MOLLY NETTER, a soprano, is a featured soloist on the New York-based Clarion Choir's album "Steinberg: Passion Week," nominated for best choral performance.

— Melissa Merli

 

Topics (2):Music, People

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