Sia's "Chandelier" is also up for record of the year, one of the top four awards, and will compete with songs by Taylor Swift, Iggy Azalea, Meghan Trainor, and Smith.
Smith is also nominated for best new artist, competing with Azalea, pop-rock trio HAIM, English band Bastille, and country singer Brandy Clark. Smith's debut album, "In the Lonely Hour," is one of the year's top-selling efforts. The album picked up a nomination for best pop vocal album, and he will battle albums from Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, and Coldplay.
Smith was the early leader with four nominations – which The Recording Academy was announcing throughout the day in new fashion. Ryan Seacrest announced the nominees for best pop solo performance, which includes Smith's "Stay With Me." It pits the British singer against "Chandelier," ''Shake It Off" and live versions of Pharrell's "Happy," and John Legend's "All of Me."
"Happy" and "All of Me," tunes that peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, were released before Grammy eligibility, so the singers submitted live renditions of the songs so they could be considered for awards.
Pharrell earned another nomination for best urban contemporary album for "G I R L." His competition includes Beyonce's self-titled fifth album, Chris Brown, and newcomers Mali Music and Jhene Aiko.
U2's "Songs of Innocence" is up for best rock album. Other nominees include Beck, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Ryan Adams, and the Black Keys.
For best country album, the nominees include Dierks Bentley, Brandy Clark, Eric Church, Lee Ann Womack, and Miranda Lambert, whose "Platinum" won album of the year at the Country Music Association Awards.
The Recording Academy will announce more nominees for its 57th annual awards later Friday on Twitter. The top award, album of the year, will be announced when the TV special "A Very GRAMMY Christmas" airs at 9 p.m. on CBS. The other top awards are best new artist and song of the year.
Smith, whose hits include "Stay With Me" and "I'm Not the Only One," said in an interview Thursday night that he was nervous about the nominations.
"I'm scared. It's like Christmas Eve right now for me," Smith said. "I'd love my album to get that platform so I don't know. Fingers crossed."
In addition to Smith's "In the Lonely Hour," other big efforts this year include the "Frozen" soundtrack, Beyonce's self-titled album, Coldplay's "Ghost Stories," and Sheeran's "X," the most streamed album on Spotify this year.
The Grammys will air live Feb. 8 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. "A Very GRAMMY Christmas," a taped special, will feature performances by Pharrell, Smith, Grande, Maroon 5 and more.