Wednesday, January 06, 1999

Lauryn Hill up for 10 Grammys

Babyface given just one chance

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Grammy reign of former Cincinnatian Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds ended with Tuesday's announcement of nominees for the 41st annual awards.

Complete list of nominees
Recording Academy website
        Hip-hop diva Lauryn Hill, on hiatus from the Fugees, was the day's top nominee. She's up for 10 Grammys, including album of the year, pop producer of the year and best new artist.

        Babyface, who won the producer Grammy for three straight years (1996, 1997, 1998) and received the most nominations in 1997 and 1998 (12 and eight, respectively), earned a single nomination. He's up for the relatively minor award for pop vocal collaboration with Stevie Wonder for “How Come, How Long,” from Babyface's Unplugged — NYC 1997 CD.

        Other locally connected nominations included “True to Your Heart,” the hit by 98` and Mr. Wonder, which is up for best song written for a motion picture.

        The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, featuring Cincinnatian Noah Hunt on vocals, was nominated for best rock instrumental for the title track of Trouble Is . . .

        Cincinnatians Anthony Williams Sr. and his son, Steven, play guitar and drums respectively with Bobby Jones & New Life, the band with the Nashville Super Choir, nominated for the gospel choir Grammy.

        If it's a disappointing nominee list for the hometown team (the Afghan Whigs' superb 1965, for example, was released after the Sept. 30 eligibility deadline), it was a very big year for women.

        And not just as singers, pop music's usual female role. Every artist nominated for album of the year is either a woman or features a female singer — Sheryl Crow, Lauryn Hill, Madonna, Shania Twain and Garbage (featuring Shirley Manson). But this year, two nominees for producer of the year (non-classical) are women: Ms. Hill and Ms. Crow.

        Not surprisingly, the most inescapable song of 1998 is well-represented. Celine Dion's Titanic anthem, “My Heart Will Go On,” rose to the top with nominations for record and song of the year as well as female pop performance.

        Ms. Crow and Ms. Twain, with six nominations each, had the second largest batch of nominations.

        Best new artist was another female-dominated field. Ms. Hill will compete for that honor with country trio the Dixie Chicks and alt-popster Natalie Imbruglia. Tiger Beat pinups the Backstreet Boys and opera's Andrea Bocelli are the only new-artist nominees with Y chromosomes.

        The rock album category was surprisingly varied, with Ms. Crow's Globe Sessions the favorite in a field that ranges from the classic rock of John Fogerty's Premonition to the modern rock of Hole's Celebrity Skin and Garbage's Version 2.0 and the jam-rock of the Dave Matthews Band's Before These Crowded Streets.

        The hard-rock category provides a virtual history of the style, starting with Led Zep kingpins Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, going on to Kiss, Metallica, Pearl Jam and finally, Marilyn Manson.

        The swing revival made it to the Grammys in the pop album category, as the Brian Setzer Orchestra's Dirty Boogie competes with Ms. Dion's Let's Talk About Love, Eric Clapton's Pilgrim, Ms. Imbruglia's Left of the Middle and Madonna's Ray of Light. Mr. Setzer's band also received nominations for a couple of remakes of '50s classics — Santo & Johnny's “Sleepwalk” (pop instrumental) and Louis Prima's “Jump Jive 'N Wail” (pop group with vocal).

        New categories — dance recording, remixer and Latin alt-rock — bring the number of awards to 95.

        The Grammys will be presented at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in a three-hour ceremony airing live locally at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 on Channels 12 and 7.


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