Artists like Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and Ariana Grande racked up numerous nominations for Grammy Awards on Wednesday, creating an unusually diverse and forward-thinking lineup of finalists for the first time in years. The nominations, announced by the Recording Academy, included a handful of artists with Bay Area ties.
Of nominated local artists, none had a better day than Vallejo soul and R&B artist Gabriella Wilson, better known as H.E.R. She received five nominals, including including three in the star categories. H.E.R. single “Hard Place” received nominations for Record of the Year (where she’s up against the likes of “Bad Guy” by Eilish, “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande and “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus), and Song of the Year, where the competition includes Lady Gaga and newcomer Lewis Capaldi.
H.E.R. album I Used to Know Her was also nominated in the coveted Album of the Year category. There, Wilson will face off with Eilish, as well as Grande, Lil Nas X, Lizzo and others.
Meanwhile, single “Could’ve Been,” featuring Bryson Tiller, was nominated for Best R&B Performance (the competition there includes Daniel Caesar and Brandy; Lizzo featuring Gucci Mane; Lucky Daye; and Anderson .Paak Featuring André 3000) and Best R&B Song.
Wilson wasn’t the only Bay Area artist nominated. San Francisco producer-musician Scott Hansen, better known as Tycho, had his new album Weather nominated in the Best Dance/Electronic Album category, where he’s pitted against albums by Apparat, The Chemical Brothers, Flume and RÜFÜS DU SOL—though he has to be a strong contender.
Santa Cruz native Joy Williams, formerly half of the Civil Wars who’s now based in L.A., had her 2018 album Front Porch nominated for Best Folk Album. There she will be up against albums by Patty Griffin as well as fellow RIFF featured artists Andrew Bird and Gregory Alan Isakov.
Berkeley jazz musician Joshua Redman and the Joshua Redman Quartet had album Come What May nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.
Finally, San Francisco musician and songwriter Ricky Reed, frontman of band Facing New York, cemented his status as super-producer with nominations for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, as well as part of the songwriting and production teams in the Album of the Year and Song of the Year categories. Reed is capping off a fantastic year in which he worked with the likes of Lizzo (“Truth Hurts,” “Tempo” and “Juice”), Maren Morris (“Kingdom Of One”) and Maggie Rogers (“Burning”).
Follow editor Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter.