The Old and the New: Grammy Awards and New Releases in 2021

Tatiana Vitalo

During a year where many faced and overcame challenges, artists created songs and albums in the comfort of their homes (and in their pajamas). TikTok and other social media sites have been a catalyst for new artists, songs and albums to become viral and spread rather quickly. Award season in 2021 kicks off the new year with the Grammys, which will be hosted by Trevor Noah, comedian and host of The Daily Show. Although the performances have not been announced for the Grammys as of January 1, a voting poll set up on concludes that the top artists audiences would like to see are BTS and Harry Styles. 

Regarding the nominees, Beyonce leads with 9 nominations while a tie for second includes Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch, and Taylor Swift who all hold 6 nominations. Record of the Year, rewarded to the artist, producers, and engineers, is the biggest prize given during the Grammys. This year’s nominations are “Black Parade” by Beyonce, Colors by Black Pumas, “Rockstar” by DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch, “Say So” by Doja Cat, “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish, “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa, “Circles” by Post Malone and finally, “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyonce. Post Malone becomes one of only three artists to receive a nomination for Record of the Year for three consecutive years in a row starting with his record “Rockstar” back in 2019. Song Of the Year is another big award received at the Grammys. However, unlike Record of the Year, this reward goes to the songwriters who composed the music rather than the singers themselves. This year’s nominees are Taylor Swift and Aaron Dessner for “Cardigan”, Julia Michaels JP Saxe for “If The World Was Ending”, Roddy Ricch and 30 Roc for “The Box”, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Stephen Bray and others for “Black Parade”, Billie Eilish and FINNEAS for “Everything I Wanted”, H.E.R, Tiara Thomas and D’Mile for “I Can’t Breathe”, Dua Lipa, Emily Warren and others for “Don’t Start Now”, and Post Malone, Frank Duke and others for “Circles”. This nomination list makes history with two of the nominations, “Black Parade” and “I Can’t Breathe”, consisting of music written about racial and social injustice. 

Another history-making moment is that Blue Ivy, Beyonce and Jay-Z’s daughter, has been nominated for a Grammy making her one of the youngest nominees at just eight years old. This nomination for the “Brown Skin Girl” music video, means that the artists, video directors and producers all receive the award if won. Blue Ivy sang the intro and outro for the song and was featured in the music video. Album of the Year is awarded to the artists, songwriters, producers and anyone who worked on the album for at least 33% of playing time. This is a part of the top four biggest awards presented at the Grammys. This year’s album nominees are Folklore by Taylor Swift, Women in Music Pt. III by HAIM, Black Pumas by Black Pumas, Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa, Everyday Life by Coldplay, Djesse Vol.3 by Jacob Collier, Hollywood’s Bleeding by Post Malone, and Chilombo by Jhene Aiko. Finally, the last prestigious award given out is the Best New Artist Award. These are artists who made breakthroughs in the industry and public eye. This year’s nominees are Ingrid Andress, a country singer, Phoebe Bridgers, an indie singer, Chika a songwriter- rapper, Noah Cyrus, a pop singer-songwriter, D Smoke, a songwriter- rapper, Doja Cat a singer and rapper, Kaytranada a DJ Funk artist and Megan Thee Stallion, a singer and rapper. 

As the Grammys recognize music from the past year, 2021 is a year to get excited about new music from your favorite artist. New Years Day has anticipated albums and singles coming out like Justin Bieber’s “Anyone” with a complementary music video coming out. Another single being released on New Year’s Day is “No Son of Mine” by the Foo Fighters. This will be a part of the Foo Fighters new album entitled Medicine At Night which is set to be released on February 5. Their last album, Concrete and Gold, was released three years ago in 2017, so this album has been long awaited. Another highly anticipated album is Certified Lover Boy by Drake set to be released in January. The trailer for the album dropped in October of 2020, and the hype continued throughout the end of the year. In February, Pentatonix will release The Lucky Ones and Ashnikko will release Demidevil during the week of the 14th. The Lucky Ones is set to be all original pieces by Pentatonix while Demidevil is Ashnikko’s debut mixtape /album. Of course, every year has rumours of albums released by artists. However, there are some confirmed albums to be released sometime in 2021; Utopia by Travis Scott, Human by One Republic, and Culture III by Migos. Many artists like OneRepublic and Migos have had to delay album releases and recordings due to COVID-19 and other complications. And as even more albums will surely be announced throughout the year, there are many upcoming releases that the world can look forward to.