LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – Rapper Jay Z led all artists with nine Grammy nominations on Friday, but newcomers Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis edged out industry heavyweights for nods in the top categories of the annual music awards.
Jay Z picked up nominations in nine categories across pop and rap, including best pop duo performance for “Suit & Tie” with Justin Timberlake, and best rap album for his July release, “Magna Carta…Holy Grail.”
But the 44-year-old Brooklyn, New York-born rapper failed to land solo nods in the top Grammy categories for record, song, and album of the year, scoring only one as a producer on Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” record, nominated in the album of the year category.
Lamar’s album will face off against Sara Barielles’ “The Blessed Unrest,” French electro-dance duo Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories,” Taylor Swift’s “Red” and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” for album of the year.
Seattle rapper-producer duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis capped their stellar rise over the past year from the independent music scene into mainstream pop with seven nominations, including song of the year for “Same Love,” featuring Mary Lambert, and the coveted best new artist category.
“It feels very, very, very surreal. I don’t think it’s ever going to feel normal. … It’s something that we never ever thought was possible when we were making this album,” Macklemore, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, said backstage.
The duo will be facing off with Lamar, country music singer Kasey Musgraves and British singers James Blake and Ed Sheeran for the best new artist accolade, which has been won by Adele and FUN. in recent years.
California rapper Lamar, 26, also picked up five nominations in the R&B and rap categories. Singer-producer Pharrell scored seven nods, including for album, record and song of the year for his work as a featured artist on Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”
The record of the year category featured five songs that all achieved commercial and chart success this year: “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, “Radioactive” by alt-rockers Imagine Dragons, “Royals” by Lorde, Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” and “Blurred Lines” by Thicke, featuring T.I. and Pharrell.
The Grammy Awards are the music industry’s top accolades and are voted on by members of the Recording Academy for more than 80 categories spanning all genres. To be eligible for nominations this year, artists had to release their music between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2013.
The nominations for the top awards and main categories were announced during an hour-long televised concert on Friday from Los Angeles. The winners will be announced on Jan. 26 at a live televised ceremony in Los Angeles.
LORDE REIGNS, BUT MALE ARTISTS DOMINATE
For the second year running, male artists dominated the nominees for the 2014 awards, while Lorde, Musgraves and Swift led the female artists with four nominations each.
Lorde, the 17-year-old New Zealand newcomer whose real name is Ella Yelich O’Connor, is notable for writing her own songs, including the hit “Royals,” which picked up nods for record and song of the year, as well as best pop solo performance.
“This isn’t the kind of thing that happens to people from New Zealand, so it feels good,” the singer said backstage.
Also nominated with Lorde for song of the year, a songwriters’ award, are “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink and FUN.’s Nate Ruess, Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love.”
Timberlake, 32, who made a return to the musical spotlight this year after a five-year hiatus with the two-part release of “The 20/20 Experience,” picked up seven nominations in the pop, R&B and rap categories, but failed to make the top three categories.
His record “The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience,” one of the year’s top-selling sets, earned a best pop album nomination.
Swift, 23, who has won seven Grammys, scored nominations in the country music category, including best country album for “Red.”
Texas native Musgraves, 25, nominated for best new artist, will compete with Swift in the country song and album categories.
Notably absent from the nominees were British boy band One Direction, which has topped the Billboard 200 album chart with all three of its albums over the past year, and Grammy-winner Lady Gaga, whose August song “Applause” was eligible and scored chart success, but failed to win over Grammy voters.
(Additional reporting by Sue Zeidler and Kelly Furey; Editing by Peter Cooney)