R&B chanteuse SZA capped off her breakthrough year with five Grammy nominations, the most for a female artist. Three of those are in the R&B field, including Best R&B Performance for her Top 40 platinum hit, “The Weekend.” Can she win that prize? She faces stiff competition from Bruno Mars for his number-one hit “That’s What I Like,” Daniel Caesar and Kali Uchis for “Get You,” Kehlani for “Distraction,” and Ledisi for “High.” With the exception of Ledisi all of these artists are nominated for the first time in this category.
This prize was originally awarded from 1959 to 1968, and then reinstated in 2012 combining the separate races for male artists, female artists, duos/groups, and urban/alternative performances. Since those awards were consolidated the winners have been a mix of popular mainstream artists like Usher (“Climax,” 2013), Beyonce and Jay-Z (“Drunk in Love,” 2015), and The Weeknd (“Earned It,” 2016), as well as more under-the-radar artists like Corinne Bailey Rae (“Is This Love,” 2012), Snarky Puppy and Lalah Hathaway (“Something,” 2014), and Solange (“Cranes in the Sky,” 2017).
Given its eclectic mix of past winners, Best R&B Performance might be the category where the Grammys show SZA some love as a way to recognize her year’s work, especially if they don’t want to send her home empty-handed. She’s also nominated for Best New Artist, so she has support within the general, rap, and R&B fields, proving that voters really love and respect her work across genres.
“The Weekend” is currently burning up the charts having just been released on September 28, two days before the end of the Grammys’ eligibility period. So the song will have had the advantage of being fresh in the minds of recording academy voters as they went to submit their final votes from December 7-21. On top of that, “The Weekend” was co-written by Grammy favorites Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, which could give SZA some additional support from the industry.
But it may be tough for SZA to overcome Bruno Mars. He earned three nominations in the general field: Album of the Year for “24K Magic,” Record of the Year for the title track, and Song of the Year for “That’s What I Like,” the same song he’s nominated for in this race. Given that high-level support he seems like he’d be a shoo-in for this award, but don’t forget that Rihanna had eight nominations last year when she lost this prize to Solange on her only bid, so nothing is enitrely certain.
Be sure to make your Grammy predictions so that Hollywood record executives and top name stars can see how their songs and albums are faring in our Grammy odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on January 28. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Grammys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.