The newly created Grammy Award for songwriter of the year is shaping up to be a tight race, with 62 potential nominees in contention, including such major hitmakers as The-Dream, Amy Allen, Natalie Hemby (pictured above, L-R), Justin Tranter, James Fauntleroy, Shane McAnally, Ali Tamposi, Kat Dahlia, Edgar Barrera, Omer Fedi, Scott Harris, Tobias Jesso Jr., Desmond Child, and dozens more.
The names might not be familiar to everyone, and that’s exactly the point: the award is intended to “honors the people whose job is to write songs for others,” Evan Bogart, a Grammy-winning songwriter and chair of the Academy’s songwriters and composers wing, told Variety earlier this month (and whose name is also on the list). “It’s for the ones who can say, ‘Hey, I’m not performing at the Grammys; I’m not on the cover of Rolling Stone and you’re not going to know my name — but you’re singing my melodies and lyrics.’” The songwriters on the list have written for artists ranging from Beyonce, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes to Maren Morris and Blake Shelton, and many others.
The list also includes artists who also have released their own projects like Michaels, Hemby and Ryan Hurd — but must have written at least five songs on which they did not perform or produce, per the award’s rules — in addition to various Grammy veterans like four-time winner Fauntleroy and The-Dream, whose submissions this year centered around writing for Beyoncé’s “Renaissance,” plus Brent Fayiaz and Pusha T. Also on the “Renaissance” front: the songwriting and record production team Nova Wav (Denisia “Blue June” Andrews and Brittany “Chi” Coney) behind “Cuff It,” “Summer Renaissance” and more, are also in contention.
The category falls in the same family as the producer of the year (non-classical) award which has a total of 214 entries this year. The five-songs-for-others rule applies to producers as well as artists, and has met with some resistance from songwriter-producers. Bogart responded, “Similar to the artists, they could submit five songs where they only wrote, as well as four they wrote and produced. We didn’t want to create a category that would basically be a mirror image of producer of the year, and I actually think it’d be wonderful if somebody qualified for both — it would show just how much they impacted the landscape.”
Elsewhere on the list, country artist Hardy’s submissions include songs written for Blake Shelton and Brantley Gilbert featuring Jason Aldean, in addition to one song where he is featured as an artist (Cole Swindell’s “Down to the Bar”).
The first round of voting started on Oct. 13 and will run through Oct. 23, with the official nominations to be announced Nov. 15. Below, see an alphabetical list of the 62 eligible, non-classical writers up for the songwriter of the year award at the 65th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 5, 2023.
Denisia “Blu June” Andrews and Brittany “Chi” Coney of Nova Wav
Even Kidd Bogart
James Aaron Foster
Natalie Nicole Gilbert
Michael Wilson Hardy
Joyce V Harrison
Jacob “Jkash” Hindlin
Tobias Jesso Jr.
Shane Mc Anally
Shekinah Grace Moyes
Victoria “Ryann” Zaro
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