SZA, Dua Lipa and More Lead Grammy Nominations

R&B singer-songwriter SZA leads the pack of nominees with nine nods under her belt for the 2024 awards. Other Muslim performers nominated include pop darling Dua Lipa for her work on the “Barbie” soundtrack, alternative jazz artists Arooj Aftab and Meshell Ndegeocello and comedian Dave Chappelle.

SZA, Dua Lipa and More Lead Grammy Nominations
Dua Lipa (left) and SZA (right) are just two of the Muslim entertainers up for an award at the 2024 Grammy Awards.

The Recording Academy has just announced their nominations for the 66th annual Grammy Awards, putting the spotlight on several Muslim entertainers in the music industry. R&B singer-songwriter SZA leads the pack of nominees with nine nods under her belt for the 2024 awards. Other Muslims performers nominated include pop darling Dua Lipa for her work on the “Barbie” soundtrack, alternative jazz artists Arooj Aftab and Meshell Ndegeocello and comedian Dave Chappelle, just to name a few.

This year, SZA dominated her competition with nine Grammy nods for her chart-topping record “SOS.” In addition to her main genre of R&B, SZA branched out to earn nominations for best pop duo/group performance (for “Ghost in the Machine” with Phoebe Bridgers) and best melodic rap performance (for “Low”). All told, SZA earned nominations for five separate songs, including “Kill Bill” (record of the year, song of the year, best R&B performance), “Snooze” (best R&B song), and “Love Language” (best traditional R&B performance). It’s quite the comeback from her disrespectful snub at the VMAs just two months ago. But considering the many accolades SZA has racked up for “SOS” over the past year, it is more than warranted.

SZA released “SOS” in Dec. 2022 to critical and commercial acclaim. The record spent 10 weeks in at the top of Billboard’s 200 albums chart, making history as the longest-leading No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart since 1990. “SOS” has maintained momentum throughout 2023 with five top 10 hits, including “Kill Bill,” which broke records for spending 21 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

SZA's competition for the coveted album of the year and song of the year awards includes pop stars Miley Cyrus ("Flowers"), Billie Eilish ("What Was I Made For?"), Olivia Rodrigo ("Vampire") and Taylor Swift ("Anti-Hero"), as well as singer/composer Jon Batiste ("Worship" in record of the year and "Butterfly" in song of the year).

After SZA’s leading nine nominations, three music figures are tied with seven nominations apiece: singer-songwriter Victoria Monét, Bridgers (with six nominations for her work with her indie supergroup boygenius and one for her aforementioned collaboration with SZA) and mixing engineer Serban Ghenea. And eight musicians are tied for having six nominations each: producer Jack Antonoff, Batiste, boygenius, country songwriter Brandy Clark, Cyrus, Eilish, Rodrigo and Swift.

Also notable is that despite not releasing a new album this year (though one is likely on the horizon), Dua Lipa earned two Grammy nominations for her work on "Barbie The Album," Mark Ronson’s all-star soundtrack for the summer blockbuster “Barbie” (2023). Lipa is nominated for both song of the year and best song written for visual media for the infectiously danceable “Dance The Night.” 

It’s worth noting that if Barbie were an individual artist, she would’ve led the Grammy nominees this year with 11 nods. “Barbie The Album” performed much better than anticipated. Aside from Lipa’s nominations mentioned above, Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” also earned a nomination for song of the year, as well as best music video. Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj’s “Barbie World” picked up a rap nod, and a whopping four of the five songs nominated for best song written for visual media came from the soundtrack (including Lipa’s song, as previously mentioned). With all those nominations, it’s a wonder that “Barbie The Album” isn’t also competing against SZA for album of the year.

Several other notable Muslims earned nominations at the Grammys this year. Pakistani American singer, composer and producer Arooj Aftab picked up a nod for best alternative jazz album with “Love in Exile,” as well as best global music performance for “Shadow Forces.” Also up for best alternative jazz album is Meshell Ndegeocello for her album “The Omnichord Real Book.”

Dave Chappelle picked up a best comedy album nod for “What’s in a Name?”

Composer Zakir Hussain picked up three nominations for best contemporary instrumental album, best global music performance and best instrumental composition. Another composer, Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, was nominated for best engineered album, classical, for "Sanlikol: A Gentleman of Istanbul - Symphony for Strings, Percussion, Piano, Oud, Ney & Tenor.” The aforementioned symphony follows a 17th-century Ottoman world traveler, Evliya Çelebi, reflecting the cosmopolitan identity of this Muslim adventurer and celebrating the rich history and cultural diversity within Islam.

Finally, while it’s not clear if any of the filmmakers involved in “Dear Mama” (2022 – ) are Muslim themselves, the mini series follows the life of late Muslim rapper Tupac Shakur and is worth mentioning alongside its best music film nomination.

The 2024 Grammys will take place Sunday, Feb. 4, at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. You can find the full nomination list below. 

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