Now that the Golden Globes are behind us, we’ve officially kicked off the 2019 award season. This will include additional film award shows like the SAGs and the Oscars in the next month or two, but it also means we’re inching closer and closer to the Grammys, which will take place on February 10th. Looking back at, roughly, the last year in music, the show will recognize some of the most talented and exciting artists of the current generation. And judging by some forecasts and expectations, there are going to be some R&B highlights throughout the night.
Here are some artists to watch for in this regard.
Janelle Monae is just about impossible to define, in the best of ways. She’s an artist in every sense of the word, and in fact was a presence at the aforementioned Golden Globes because of her involvement with film as well. But her most significant work of the year was the album “Dirty Computer,” which is going to be in the running for Album Of The Year at the Grammys. It’s not a shoe-in, but you can browse and compare the listings of odds for events like the Grammys at bookmaking sites online, and most everywhere “Dirty Computer” is in the running. Now, it’s not a straightforward R&B album by any means. But this is one of the genres Monae works into her eclectic style, and if she triumphs at the Grammys it will be a terrific thing for modern R&B.
It would be more noteworthy for Drake not to be involved at the Grammys than for him to be in the running for a major award at this point. He’s arguably the hottest musical artist on the planet right now, and like Monae he blends genres, incorporating more than a little R&B. We can probably all plan on seeing a good bit of the Canadian artist simply during the broadcast, the same way the Oscars cameras will always find people like Meryl Streep or Leonardo DiCaprio. Drake is synonymous with modern music, so he’ll be shown. He may just win Song Of The Year as well however, for his trap-rap-pop track “God’s Plan,” which doesn’t quite showcase Drake’s R&B side, but is an interesting track nonetheless.
Here we have another artist who was recently relevant at the Golden Globes, and who should be again at the Grammys. SZA and Kendrick Lamar were nominated for a Golden Globe for their track “All The Stars,” which has become the defining musical number on the Black Panther soundtrack. Unfortunately it was doomed at the Globes because Bradley Cooper’s and Lady Gaga’s song “Shallow” is a juggernaut. But “All The Stars” may have a better chance of recognition at the Grammys, and with SZA representing some of the most cutting edge R&B in music, this would be a great thing for the genre.
Ella Mai is a little bit more of a long shot for actual recognition at the Grammys, but she may also have the truest R&B song in the mix, or at least the one most akin to the genre’s heyday. The young artist’s “Boo’d Up” is a dark horse Song Of The Year candidate, and frankly a win for her would represent a fun change of pace for the award show. In fact, she might just get our vote if we had one to give.
I don’t think any of those artists (Ellie Mae, Drake, Jonelle, or SZA) are “R&B”. They are more “R&B Sprinkles” rather than
real “R&B”. Where is the SOUL in their voices or songs? I hope Toni Braxton wins this year for best R&B song with “Long As I Live”.