SZA leads 2024 Grammy nominations as women outpace men in top categories

RnB singer earns nine nods as Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Billie Eilish earn six

Taylor Swift, left, and SZA lead the nominations for the 66th Grammy Awards. AFP
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Killing her ex? That's a bad idea. Writing Kill Bill and releasing her critically acclaimed second album SOS earlier this year? That was a great one. As a result, SZA is the lead contender for the 66th Grammy Awards, with nine nominations.

During Friday's announcement, Kill Bill, her revenge anthem cloaked in an RnB ballad, earned nods for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best RnB Performance. SOS is also up for Album of the Year and Best Progressive RnB Album. Next year's ceremony will mark the second time SZA has been nominated for record, album and song of the year in the same year.

And just like at the box office, Barbie will be seen – and heard – at the Grammys. Music from the hit film's soundtrack earned 11 nominations, including nabbing four of the five slots in the visual media song category.

If there is an overall trend in the nominations, it's that female acts outperformed their male counterparts. The majority of leading nominees are women and include superstars like Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus and Olivia Rodrigo. In both the Record and Album of the Year categories, the only man represented is Jon Batiste.

"Seeing the women nominees this year, and the number of them, was not a surprise but it was something that made me happy," said Recording Academy chief executive and president Harvey Mason Jr. He believes that representation allows the next group of creators to look at the nominees and say: "Maybe somebody will love what I do one day, or maybe I have an opportunity to express myself or voice my thoughts like that person."

SZA, of course, leads the charge, also picking up nominations for Best Traditional RnB Performance (Love Language), Best RnB Song (Snooze), Best Melodic Rap Performance (Low) and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (Ghost in the Machine). The last features Phoebe Bridgers, who – alongside Victoria Monet, the only leading nominee also up for Best New Artist – has the second-most nominations with seven.

Six of Bridgers’s nods are with her band boygenius, nominated for the first time for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Alternative Music Performance and Best Alternative Music Album.

Also earning six nominations were Swift, Rodrigo, Cyrus, Eilish, Brandy Clark, Batiste and producer Jack Antonoff.

Only recordings released between October 1 last year and September 15 are eligible.

In addition to Monet, the Best New Artist category is rounded out by Gracie Abrams, Fred again.., Ice Spice, Jelly Roll, Coco Jones, Noah Kahan and The War and Treaty.

For Album of the Year, it's again Batiste, boygenius, Cyrus, Rodrigo, Swift and SZA, but with the addition of Lana Del Rey’s Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd and Janelle Monae’s The Age of Pleasure.

The Song of the Year category features Del Rey's A&W, Swift's Anti-Hero, Batiste's Butterfly, Cyrus's Flowers, SZA's Kill Bill, Rodrigo's vampire and two from the Barbie soundtrack: Dua Lipa's Dance the Night and Eilish's What Was I Made For?

While I’m Just Ken from Barbie did get a nomination, it’s in a songwriting category – so actor Ryan Gosling is not up for a Grammy.

What else is missing? Some fans may notice a dearth of Latin and country musicians in the main categories.

“We need to do more work with our country voters and continue to invite more country voters to the process,” says Mason Jr. “Another thing that surprised me was, as big of a year that Latin had this year, we didn’t have more Latin representation in some of the general fields.”

“We want to make sure that our membership is representative of the music that’s being created and concerned,” he added. “So, these nominations always inform us on what we’re going to do over the next few years.

"And these nominations in particular have told us we need to continue to reach out and communicate with the voting groups within country and Latin.”

There are three new categories at the Grammys: Best Pop Dance Recording, Best African Music Performance and Best Alternative Jazz Album.

Four of the five acts in the Best African Music Performance category are nominated for the first time: Asake & Olamide for Amapiano, Davido featuring Musa Keys for Unavailable, Ayra Starr for Rush and Tyla for Water. The fifth is the already Grammy-winning Burna Boy for City Boys.

Highlights of main category nominations for 66th Grammy Awards

Album of the Year

World Music Radio, Jon Batiste

The Record, boygenius

Endless Summer Vacation, Miley Cyrus

Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, Lana Del Rey

“The Age of Pleasure,” Janelle Monae

GUTS, Olivia Rodrigo

Midnights, Taylor Swift


Record of the Year

Worship, Jon Batiste

Not Strong Enough, boygenius

Flowers, Miley Cyrus

What Was I Made For?, Billie Eilish

On My Mama, Victoria Monet

Vampire, Olivia Rodrigo

Anti-Hero, Taylor Swift

Kill Bill, SZA

Song of the Year (songwriter's award)

A&W, Jack Antonoff, Lana Del Rey and Sam Dew

Anti-Hero, Jack Antonoff and Taylor Swift

Butterfly, Jon Batiste and Dan Wilson

Dance the Night, Caroline Ailin, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt

Flowers, Miley Cyrus, Gregory Aldae Hein and Michael Pollack

Kill Bill, Rob Bisel, Carter Lang and Solana Rowe

Vampire, Daniel Nigro and Olivia Rodrigo

What Was I Made For?, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

Best New Artist

Gracie Abrams

Fred again..

Ice Spice

Jelly Roll

Coco Jones

Noah Kahan

Victoria Monet

The War and Treaty

Songwriter of the Year

Edgar Barrera

Jessie Jo Dillon

Shane McAnally

Theron Thomas

Justin Tranter

Best Pop Solo Performance

Flowers, Miley Cyrus

Paint the Town Red, Doja Cat

What Was I Made For?, Billie Eilish

Vampire, Olivia Rodrigo

Anti-Hero, Taylor Swift

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Thousand Miles, Miley Cyrus featuring Brandi Carlile

Candy Necklace, Lana Del Rey featuring Jon Batiste

Never Felt So Alone, Labrinth featuring Billie Eilish

Karma, Taylor Swift featuring Ice Spice

Ghost in the Machine, SZA featuring Phoebe Bridgers

Best Pop Vocal Album

Chemistry, Kelly Clarkson

Endless Summer Vacation, Miley Cyrus

Guts, Olivia Rodrigo

- (Subtract), Ed Sheeran

Midnights, Taylor Swift

Best Rap Album

Her Loss, Drake and 21 Savage

Michael, Killer Mike

Heroes & Villains, Metro Boomin

King’s Disease III, Nas

Utopia, Travis Scott

Best Country Album

Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, Kelsea Ballerini

Brothers Osborne, Brothers Osborne

Zach Bryan, Zach Bryan

Rustin’ in the Rain, Tyler Childers

Bell Bottom Country, Lainey Wilson

Best Dance/Electronic Album

Blackbox Life Recorder 21F, Aphex Twin

Loading, James Blake

Higher Than Ever Before, Disclosure

Strong, Romy and Fred again..

Rumble, Skrillex, Fred again.. and Flowdan

Best Rock Album

But Here We Are, Foo Fighters

Starcatcher, Greta Van Fleet

72 Seasons, Metallica

This Is Why, Paramore

In Times New Roman…, Queens of the Stone Age

Best Alternative Music Album

The Car, Arctic Monkeys

The Record, boygenius

Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, Lana Del Rey

Cracker Island, Gorillaz

I Inside the Old Year Dying, PJ Harvey

Best Progressive RnB Album

Since I Have a Lover, 6lack

The Love Album: Off the Grid, Diddy

Nova, Terrace Martin and James Fauntleroy

The Age of Pleasure, Janelle Monae


Best RnB Album

Girls Night Out, Babyface

What I Didn’t Tell You (Deluxe), Coco Jones

Special Occasion, Emily King

Jaguar II, Victoria Monet

Clear 2: Soft Life EP, Summer Walker

With additional reporting from agencies

Updated: February 07, 2024, 6:51 AM