Veteran rockers U2 grabbed a leading eight Grammys nominations Friday, including record, album and song of the year. But the day’s biggest surprise was neosoul newcomer India.Arie, who nabbed seven nominations.
Her debut “Acoustic Soul” was nominated for album of the year, while her breakout song “Video” received bids for record and song of the year. She was also nominated for best new artist.
“I don’t know what to do,” said India.Arie, who help announce the nominations. “My spirit is flying and I want to jump and shout.”
The numerous nominations were surprising because India.Arie’s disc was only a moderate success in sales, in comparison to the year’s biggest sensation, Alicia Keys.
Keys was expected by many to receive the most nominations for her “Songs in A Minor,” which sold 4.1 million copies. She received six, including record and song of the year for “Fallin’,” but was surprisingly left out of the album of the year category.
Other multiple nominees included classical conductor Pierre Boulez with six, and country singer Alison Krauss, R&B vocalist Brian McKnight and rap-rockers OutKast with five each.
T-Bone Burnett, Nelly Furtado, Train, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and Lucinda Williams each had four nominations.
Diversity reigned in the album of the year category, where nominees included Bob Dylan for “Love and Theft,” India.Arie’s rhythmic “Acoustic Soul,” and the potent rap of OutKast’s “Stankonia” in addition to U2’s “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” and the bluegrass compilation soundtrack to the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Keys’ “Fallin’,” U2’s “Walk On” and India.Arie’s “Video” compete in the record of the year against OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson” and Train’s “Drops of Jupiter.”
U2’s “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of,” India.Arie’s “Video,” Keys’ “Fallin’,” Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” and Furtado’s “I’m Like a Bird” face off in the song of the year field, which honors the writers.
Besides Keys and India.Arie, Furtado, singer David Gray and alternative rockers Linkin Park were nominated for best new artist.
Among U2’s eight nominations, the band competes against itself in the best rock song category with two singles, “Elevation” and “Walk On.”
This year the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced the new category for best rap/sung collaboration that honors songs that combine vocal melodies with staccato rap cadences.
Nominees in the first-time category include Eve and Gwen Stefani for “Let Me Blow Ya Mind,” Ja Rule and Case for “Livin’ It Up,” Jagged Edge and Nelly for “Where The Party At,” Ludacris and Nate Dogg for “Area Codes” and Mystic and Planet Asia for “W.”
Best country album nominees included Willie Nelson for his “Rainbow Connection” and the contemporary artist cover album “Timeless-Hank Williams Tribute.” Other nominees: Tricia Yearwood’s “Inside Out,” Tim McGraw’s “Set This Circus Down” and Diamond Rio’s “One More Day.”
In the best country song category, singer Jamie O’Neal had two songwriting nominations, “There Is No Arizona” and “When I Think About Angels.”
O’Neal said she hoped the double nomination secured a win.
“It’s all in the stars,” she said. “I’m elated. I’m on Cloud 10 – no, put that down as Cloud 11.”
Other nominees included Lonestar’s “I’m Already There,” Diamond Rio’s “One More Day” and “The Lucky One” by Alison Krauss and the band Union Station.
Nominees for best rap album included OutKast for “Stankonia,” Eve for “Scorpion,” Ja Rule for “Pain is Love,” Jay-Z for “The Blueprint” and Ludacris for “Back For The First Time.”
The 44th annual Grammy Awards ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 27 in Los Angeles.