2022 Grammy predictions: Song of the Year

Who will win the Grammy Award for Song of the Year when it’s handed out in 2022? It’s the recording academy’s biggest prize for songwriting and often diverges from Record of the Year, which goes to the performing artist, producers, engineers, and mixers of a particular single or track. So which compositions should we look out for in this year’s race?

Updated: April 9, 2021

Leading Contenders

“Damage” by H.E.R.
Label: RCA
Release Date: October 21, 2020
Songwriters: Anthony Clemens Jr., Carl McCormick, H.E.R., James Harris, Terry Lewis, Tiara Thomas

“Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo
Album: “*O*R”
Label: Geffen/Interscope
Release Date: January 8, 2021
Songwriters: Olivia Rodrigo, Daniel Nigro

“Good Days” by SZA
Label: Top Dawg/RCA
Release Date: December 25, 2020
Songwriters: Solána Rowe, Carlos Muñoz, Carter Lang, Christopher Ruelas, Jacob Collier

“Holy” by Justin Bieber feat. Chance the Rapper
Album: “Justice”
Label: Def Jam
Release Date: September 18, 2020
Songwriters: Justin Bieber, Chancelor Bennett, Anthony M. Jones, Jon Bellion, Jorgen Odegard, Michael Pollack, Steven Franks, Tommy Brown

“Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic
Album: “An Evening with Silk Sonic”
Label: Aftermath/Atlantic
Release Date: March 5, 2021
Songwriters: Bruno Mars, Brandon Anderson, Dernst Emile II, Christopher Brody Brown

“Lonely” by Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco
Album: “Justice”
Label: Friends Keep Secrets/Def Jam/Interscope
Release Date: October 15, 2020
Songwriters: Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin, Finneas O’Connell

“Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” by Lil Nas X
Album: “Montero”
Label: Columbia
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Songwriters: Montero Hill, Denzel Baptiste, David Biral, Omer Fedi, Rosario Lenzo

“Positions” by Ariana Grande
Album: “Positions
Label: Republic
Release Date: October 23, 2020
Songwriters: Angelina Barrett, Brian Vincent Bates, Tommy Brown, Nija Charles, Steven Franks, Ariana Grande, Tayla Parx, London Holmes, James Jarvis

“Starting Over” by Chris Stapleton
Album: “Starting Over”
Label: Mercury Nashville/Sound
Release Date: August 28, 2020
Songwriters: Chris Stapleton, Mike Henderson

“Therefore I Am” by Billie Eilish
Label: Darkroom/Interscope
Release Date: November 12, 2020
Songwriters: Billie Eilish O’Connell, Finneas O’Connell

“Willow” by Taylor Swift
Album: “Evermore
Label: Republic
Release Date: December 11, 2020
Songwriters: Taylor Swift, Aaron Dessner

Strong Contenders

“All Your Exes” by Julia Michaels
Album: “A Picture from the Future”
Label: Republic
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Songwriters: Jordan K. Johnson, JP Saxe, Julia Michaels, Oliver Peterhof, Stefan Johnson

“A Beautiful Noise” by Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile
Label: RCA
Release Date: October 29, 2020
Songwriters: Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Hailey Whitters, Linda Perry, Ruby Amanfu

“Can’t Put it in the Hands of Fate” by Stevie Wonder feat. Rapsody, Cordae, Chika, and Busta Rhymes
Label: So What the Fuss/Republic
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Songwriter: Stevie Wonder

“Dakiti” by Bad Bunny feat. Jhay Cortez
Album: “El Último Tour Del Mundo”
Label: Rimas
Release Date: October 30, 2020
Songwriters: Benito Martínez, Jesús Cortez, Gabriel Mora, Marco Masís, Egbert Rosa

“Heather” by Conan Gray
Album: “Kid Krow”
Label: Republic
Release Date: September 4, 2020
Songwriter: Conan Gray

“Let Me Love You Like a Woman” by Lana Del Rey
Album: “Chemtrails Over the Country Club”
Label: Interscope/Polydor
Release Date: October 16, 2020
Songwriters: Lana Del Rey, Jack Antonoff

“Letter to You” by Bruce Springsteen
Album: “Letter to You”
Label: Columbia
Release Date: September 10, 2020
Songwriter: Bruce Springsteen

“Life Goes On” by BTS
Album: “BE”
Label: Big Hit/Columbia
Release Date: November 20, 2020
Songwriters: Antonina Armato, Chris James, J-Hope, Pdogg, RM, Ruuth, Suga

“Pay Your Way in Pain” by St. Vincent
Album: “Daddy’s Home”
Label: Loma Vista/Concord
Release Date: March 4, 2021
Songwriters: Annie Clark, Jack Antonoff

“Peaches” by Justin Bieber feat. Daniel Caesar and Giveon
Album: “Justice”
Label: Def Jam
Release Date: March 30, 2021
Songwriters: Justin Bieber, Ashton Simmonds, Giveon Evans, Andrew Watt, Louis Bell, Bernard “Harv” Harvey, Luis Martinez Jr.

“Pick Up Your Feelings” by Jazmine Sullivan
Album: “Heaux Tales”
Label: RCA
Release Date: November 20, 2020
Songwriters: Audra Mae Butts, Denisia “Blu June” Andrews, Kyle Coleman, Brittany “Chi” Coney, Jazmine Sullivan, Michael Holmes

“WAP” by Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion
Label: Atlantic
Release Date: August 7, 2020
Songwriters: Belcalis Almanzar, Megan Pete, Austin Owens, James Foye III, Frank Rodriguez

“Wonder” by Shawn Mendes
Album: “Wonder”
Label: Island
Release Date: October 2, 2020
Songwriters: Shawn Mendes, Scott Harris, Thomas Hull, Nate Mercereau

Possible Contenders

“The Bandit” by Kings of Leon
Album: “When You See Yourself”
Label: RCA
Release Date: January 7, 2021
Songwriters: Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill, Nathan Followill

“Body” by Megan Thee Stallion
Album: “Good News”
Label: 1501 Certified/300
Release Date: November 20, 2020
Songwriters: Megan Pete, Julian Mason, Christophe Petrel

“Dancing with the Devil” by Demi Lovato
Album: “Dancing with the Devil … the Art of Starting Over”
Label: Island/Republic
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Songwriters: Demi Lovato, Mitch Allan, Bianca “Blush” Atterberry, John Ho

“Deja Vu” by Olivia Rodrigo
Album: “*O*R”
Label: Geffen/Interscope
Release Date: April 1, 2021
Songwriters: Olivia Rodrigo, Dan Nigro

“Diamonds” by Sam Smith
Album: “Love Goes”
Label: Capitol
Release Date: September 18, 2020
Songwriters: Sam Smith, Karl Schuster, Oscar Görres

“I Need You” by Jon Batiste
Album: “We Are”
Label: Verve
Release Date: January 22, 2021
Songwriters: Jon Batiste, Autumn Rowe

“Kids Again” by Sam Smith
Album: “Love Goes”
Label: Capitol
Release Date: October 30, 2020
Songwriters: Sam Smith, Ryan Tedder, Ali Tamposi, Andrew Wotman Louis Bell

“Levitating” by Dua Lipa feat. DaBaby
Album: “Future Nostalgia”
Label: Warner
Release Date: October 1, 2020
Songwriters: Dua Lipa, Clarence Coffee Jr., Sarah Hudson, Stephen Kozmeniuk, DaBaby

“Shame Shame” by Foo Fighters
Album: “Medicine at Midnight”
Label: RCA
Release Date: November 7, 2020
Songwriters: Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Shiflett, Rami Jaffee

“Streets” by Doja Cat
Album: “Hot Pink”
Label: Kemosabe/RCA
Release Date: January 29, 2021
Songwriters: Amala Zandile Dlamini, Darius Logan, Dominique Logan, David Sprecher, Lydia Asrat, Theron Otis Feemster, Christopher Jefferies, Demarie Sheki

“Telepatia” by Kali Uchis
Album: “Sin Miedo (Del Amor y Otros Demonios)”
Label: Interscope/EMI
Release Date: December 4, 2020
Songwriters: Karly-Marina Loaiza, Cristina Chiluiza, Servando Primera, Manuel Lara, Albert Melendez, Marco Masís

“34+35” by Ariana Grande
Album: “Positions”
Label: Republic
Release Date: October 30, 2020
Songwriters: Albert Stanaj, Ariana Grande, Courageous Xavier Herrera, Peter Lee Johnson, Scott Nicholson, Steven Franks, Tayla Parx, Tommy Brown, Victoria Monét

“Up” by Cardi B
Label: Atlantic
Release Date: February 5, 2021
Songwriters: Belcalis Almanzar, Joshua Baker, Jorden Thorpe, Edis Selmani, James Steed, Matthew Allen

“We’re Good” by Dua Lipa
Album: “Future Nostalgia: The Moonlight Edition”
Label: Warner
Release Date: February 11, 2021
Songwriters: Dua Lipa, Sylvester Willy Sivertsen, Emily Warren, Scott Harris

“What’s Next” by Drake
Label: Republic/OVO
Release Date: March 5, 2021
Songwriters: Aubrey Graham, Jonathan Demario Priester, Maneesh Bidaye

“You All Over Me” by Taylor Swift feat. Maren Morris
Album: “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”
Label: Republic
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Songwriters: Taylor Swift, Scooter Carusoe

The awards for Record and Song of the Year have matched up half the time, with 32 out of the 64 recipients of the songwriting prize also being awarded for the recording. But when there’s a split voters often gravitate towards songs with lyrics about emotional, romantic, or political themes.

Love songs are commonly appreciated for their lyrics and melodies, including Barbra Streisand‘s “The Way We Were” (written by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, and Marvin Hamlisch), Alicia Keys‘s “Fallin'” (which she wrote herself), and Ed Sheeran‘s “Thinking Out Loud” (which he wrote with Amy Wadge), among many others. The reigning champ was a surprise winner that tackled a political topic: H.E.R.‘s “I Can’t Breathe” (which she wrote with D’Mile and Tiara Thomas), which addressed police brutality in the wake of George Floyd‘s 2020 murder by Minneapolis cops.

Only a few songwriters have managed to win Song of the Year twice. Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer won together for both “Moon River” and “Days of Wine and Roses.” Movie composer James Horner prevailed for a couple of famous movie tunes: “Somewhere Out There” from “An American Tail” and “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic.” Will Jennings also won for “My Heart Will Go On,” in addition to Eric Clapton‘s “Tears in Heaven.” Most recently, the group U2 won for “Beautiful Day” and “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own,” and Adele claimed trophies for “Rolling in the Deep” and “Hello.”

Two legendary artists are tied for the most nominations: Paul McCartney and Lionel Richie have six, with one win apiece for “Michelle” and “We Are the World,” respectively. Thus far Taylor Swift is the most nominated woman with five, but she has yet to win the award, even though she holds the record for the most Album of the Year victories among women (three). Swift could actually tie McCartney and Richie if she receives another nomination in 2022 for “Willow.”

To decide the nominations, recording academy members pick their favorites, and then the top 20 vote-getters go to an anonymous nomination review committee that narrows that down to the final eight. So who will those nominees be this year?

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