Every year, in between the Golden Globes and the Oscars – considered the highlights of the international film calendar – the world of international music also comes together to celebrate the best of what has been released in the previous year.

Sure, there are other award ceremonies for the music industry (like MTV’s Video Music Awards, the American Music Awards, the Brit Awards, and the Billboard Music Awards), but for most musicians nothing beats winning a Grammy Award.

What makes a Grammy so special is that winners are decided by their peers – members of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences – and is not based on sales, chart performance or public votes. The Grammys cover almost every genre and aspect of the music industry, although the televised ceremony only includes the more important – or popular – genres of the music world.

The Grammy eligibility year runs from 1 October each year to 30 September the next year, with most categories comprising five nominations. Where there are more – or less – than five nominations per category, there was a tie in the votes.

South Africa is this year represented by the Soweto Gospel Choir for Blessed in the Best Traditional World Music Album field and previous Grammy winner Ladysmith Black Mambazo for Long Walk To Freedom in the category of Best Contemporary World Music Album.

Of all the awards handed out, there are four that are considered to be the ultimate prize of the night: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist.

In this special edition of Spins, Mambaonline takes a look at the nominees in these four categories, ventures a guess at who will take home the award and even looks at a few of the other nominees in different categories.


This award goes to the artist(s), album producer(s), recording engineer(s) and mastering engineer(s); basically everyone involved in getting the finished product on to the shelves. The 2007 nominees are:

  • Taking The Long Way by The Dixie Chicks, produced by Rick Rubin
  • St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley, produced by Danger Mouse
  • Continuum by John Mayer, produced by Steve Jordan & John Mayer
  • Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers, produced by Rick Rubin
  • Futuresex/Lovesound by Justin Timberlake, produced by Nate Hills, Jawbreakers, Rick Rubin, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake

Predicting a winner in this category is not as easy as it may seem; everyone will undoubtedly have their particular favourite. I believe that each of these albums are worthy of the title, although I’d be happiest with Justin Timberlake or the Dixie Chicks as winners: JT did wonders with his sophomore album, and the Dixie Chicks keep raising the bar they’ve set with their previous albums. However, John Mayer – a previous favourite at the Grammys – might just surprise everyone…


The Record of the Year is awarded for specific songs, and goes to the artist and the producer(s), recording engineer(s) and or mixer(s). The 2007 nominees are:

  • Be Without You by Mary J. Blige,
  • You’re Beautiful by James Blunt,
  • Not Ready To Make Nice by Dixie Chicks,
  • Crazy by Gnarls Barkley and
  • Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae

Yet another category where anyone could walk away with the Grammy… Personally I think Corinne Bailey Rae will come in last, even though she did very well with her debut album. She did however not have as much impact as either James Blunt or Gnarls Barkley – both who literally took the world by storm and who have an equally good chance to win the award. In this case, being a Grammy favourite – like Dixie Chicks – doesn’t necessarily count in your favour, for even though it’s a brilliant track, I don’t think they’ll walk away triumphant. I would like to see Mary J. Blige (this year’s most nominated artist) going home with the Grammy; Be Without You is a phenomenal song sung by a phenomenal voice and deserves coming out tops.


An award similar to that of Record of the Year, but in this case the award goes to the songwriter. Traditionally these two categories have been awarded to the same artist, but in recent years winning the one hasn’t always equated to winning the other. The 2007 nominees are:

  • Be Without You by Johnta Austin, Mary J. Blige, Bryan-Michael Cox & Jason Perry; performed by Mary J. Blige,
  • Jesus, Take The Wheel by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey & Gordie Sampson; performed by Carrie Underwood,
  • Not Ready To Make Nice by Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison & Dan Wilson; performed by Dixie Chicks,
  • Put Your Records On by John Beck, Steve Chrisanthou & Corinne Bailey Rae; performed by Corinne Bailey Rae, and
  • You’re Beautiful by James Blunt, Amanda Ghost and Sacha Skarbek; performed by James Blunt.

I certainly wouldn’t mind if Mary J. Blige’s Be Without You gets a double-whammy, but in terms of songwriting it definitely has some stiff competition from the world of country – most notably Carrie Underwood’s Jesus, Take The Wheel and Dixie Chicks’ Not Ready To Make Nice. While Carrie Underwood’s touching song is the underdog in this category, I believe it has a bigger chance than James Blunt and Corinne Bailey Rae of winning. However, the Dixie Chicks’ politically inspired song might just be our winner here, fuelled by the American Music Industry’s often vocal opposition to the US war in Iraq.


The name of the award kind of gives it all away, but it’s a tad more technical. The award is given to a “new artist who releases, during the eligibility year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist.” The 2007 nominees are:

  • James Blunt
  • Chris Brown
  • Imogen Heap
  • Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Carrie Underwood

Chris Brown had a good year in the R&B market, as did Corinne Bailey Rae and even Imogen Heap. Carrie Underwood is yet again the underdog of the group, but would be my personal choice for the title; beautiful and vocally impressive; her debut album is highly underrated locally because it falls within the country genre. However, I don’t think that Carrie can beat James Blunt to the crown of the best new artist of the year, simply because of the impact his music has had (especially) on the American market; a success story that makes him the clear leader of the group.

Predicting the winners in the annual Grammy Awards is one of my favourite pastimes, but I must also admit that I’ve been wrong almost as often as I’ve been right.

The event happens on Sunday 11 February at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles and will be broadcast on M-Net the following evening.

This year, the show will be opened with a first-ever Grammy performance by Sting & The Police. Other performers include Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, the Dixie Chicks, Gnarls Barkley, John Legend, Ludacris, John Mayer, Corinne Bailey Rae, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Justin Timberlake and Carrie Underwood. If music is what feeds your soul, be sure not to miss the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.

Here are my choices in some of the other popular categories:


  • Probable winner: Ain’t No Other Man by Christina Aguilera
  • My choice: Black Horse & The Che

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