Will Taylor Swift make history at this year’s Grammy Awards?
At the 2016 Grammys, Swift is nominated for, among other prizes, the album of the year Grammy, along with such contenders as Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Alabama Shakes, and Chris Stapleton.
Swift previously won album of the year for her 2008 work “Fearless.”
If she takes the prize this time, Swift will be the first female artist to head up her album and win twice. Will she do so?
The critics think so. Vanity Fair writer DJ Louie XIV wrote of the category, “This one’s going to ‘1989,’ one of the decade’s most ubiquitous albums.” Associated Press writer Mesfin Fekadu agreed, writing, “That album not only marked a transition – one of the most successful of all time – for Swift, but it sold tremendously well, launched seven hit singles and a massive, star-studded world tour — all while Swift took down Apple for not paying musicians and stood her ground against Spotify. Those musicians who aren't paid, along with indie artists, will be throwing their support to her for album of the year.”
Some feel differently. Forbes writer Hugh McIntyre wrote, “I think the choice is an easy one. Kendrick Lamar is one of the most revolutionary artists that has broken out in a long time.” AP writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody went with a different pick, writing that “the Brittany Howard-fronted Alabama Shakes will win voters over.”
History could be made in a different category: if Lamar wins the Grammy award for best song of the year for his track “Alright,” he would be the first rapper to do so. However, all four writers picked other songs as more likely to take the prize.
As for Swift, whether or not she does set a record at the Grammys and become the only female artist to win the record of the year prize twice for her own work (and not for, say, lending guest vocals on another artist's album), she remains an artist who has combined awards attention and blockbuster sales, not always two qualities that go hand-in-hand.
Swift’s “1989” became the biggest-selling album of 2014, the year of its release, and came in second for 2015, behind only the smash hit Adele album “25.”
What other current artists who have achieved Grammys success also do well in sales?
Band U2 is one of the acts who have won the most Grammys ever, and their albums are still performing well on the charts. Their 2014 album “Songs of Innocence” made the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart, which looks at album sales.
However, this marks a decline for the group – as noted by Forbes writer McIntyre, many of the band’s past albums have debuted at number one.
As for other big Grammys winners, Jay-Z's 2013 album “Magna Carta … Holy Grail” reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart, and his wife Beyoncé has also combined an impressive set of Grammys with commercial success. Her 2013 self-titled album reached number one.
Kanye West is also another critically acclaimed artist whose sales are impressive. He has won some of the most Grammys of any artist and his 2013 album “Yeezus” came in at number one on the Billboard 200.
The 2016 Grammys will air on Feb. 15.