2016 Was A Crowded Year For Grammy Hopefuls

The Grammys are consistently music's biggest spectacle, providing show-stopping performances and highlighting landmark releases from the previous year. While many years only have a few show-stopping releases every year, it seems that the tail end of 2015 and most of 2016 were absolutely full of important albums. So, which artists are eligible for the 2017 Grammys? Whether artists were following up diamond-selling successes like Adele, cleaning their dirty laundry while highlighting self-empowerment like Beyoncé, or pulling a David Bowie and releasing the closing chapter of a life story, rarely did a month go by without at least one major release. With so many iconic releases it's easy to forget all of the names in the running for this year's awards ceremony.

The official Grammys website declares that any album released between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016 is eligible for a Grammy. This includes some of the year's biggest albums and the inescapable pop hits that defined the year. 2016 has also provided the breakthroughs for a lot of new artists, following the Grammy's Best New Artist guideline requiring new artists to "have released a minimum of five singles/tracks or one album." Even with the qualifications, a lot of high-quality acts came out of the woodwork this year to create one of the most highly-contested Grammys in years. Here are the artists you can expect to see a lot of at the 2017 Grammys.


Here's a tip: If you want to win a Grammy, don't bother releasing any albums during the same eligibility period as Adele. Her album 25 dropped in late 2015, with plenty of time to dig its way into listener's brains across the globe. From the bombastic, sweeping scale of "Hello" to the plucky snark of "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)," Adele is pretty much a shoe-in for Best Album, Record, Song, and every other category she is eligible for.


Has there ever been an album like Lemonade ? One that served as an artistic statement, press release, airing of dirty laundry, and a political viewpoint all while being so listenable and just plain good? Lemonade was the most talked about album in 2016 by far, and chances are that the Queen Bee herself will be making a strong showing at the 2017 Grammys.

Chance The Rapper

I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the GrammyLet's make it so free and the bars so hardThat there ain't one gosh darn part you can't tweet

Chance's show-stopping verse on Kanye West's "Ultralight Beam" promised an album so great that the Grammy's couldn't ignore it — even if he released it for free. The free mixtape Coloring Book could be nominated without selling a single copy, thanks to the Grammys inclusion of streaming-only albums being eligible. Even if Coloring Book doesn't make a huge impact, Chance is a likely candidate for Best New Artist.

The Chainsmokers

After their profile rose with a seemingly endless string of hit records, The Chainsmokers broke out big time in 2016 thanks to the singles "Don't Let Me Down" and the monumental "Closer" with Halsey. The Chainsmokers are likely candidates for a Best New Artist nomination as well as Record Of The Year, which is a pretty great accomplishment for two self-described frat bros who told Billboard that they got into music and fame because they "wanted to hook up with hotter girls. I had to date a model."

David Bowie

David Bowie's last gift to the human race before passing away was the complex, intricate experimental album Blackstar. The jazz-influenced rock record by a legend was released on the artist's 69th birthday, only a few days before his passing. The album is far from easy listening, encouraging the listener to actively decipher Bowie's final message, but it's an astonishing achievement for any artist, and the Grammys will likely find a way to celebrate as one last celebration of an iconic life that has come to an end.


Does Drake ever sleep? Between releasing his own album Views and appearing on other artists hit songs, Drake seems like the busiest person in all of music. His chart-topping opus Views is sure to get a nomination for Album of the Year, with "One Dance" proving to be a likely contender for Record of the Year. He's also lucky enough to be on Rihanna's megahit "Work," which could also make a claim to Record of the Year.

Justin Bieber

Bieber's return to pop stardom was one of many surprising developments in the past year, but this may be definitive proof that anyone can recapture the public attention if they're making great music. Bieber's album Purpose may not have been the strongest album released since Oct. 1, but standout tracks like the tropical house banger "Sorry" and acoustic kiss-off ballad "Love Yourself" are sure to be considered for the Song and Record of the Year categories.


In any other year, Rihanna's ANTI would've likely been a sure thing for the Pop music categories. An album that is equal parts daring and danceable, ANTI will likely not get the recognition it deserves due to Rihanna having to compete against the two other largest pop stars in the world, Adele and Beyoncé. While Rihanna's ANTI has a so-so shot at an Album of the Year nomination, her club-friendly hit "Work" is sure to garner a "Record of the Year" nomination at the very least.

Kanye West

Kanye has had a wild, messy year — which is fitting, considering he released one of the wildest, messiest albums of the year. The Life Of Pablo is a record as masterful as it is grotesque and at this point, it's likely the Grammys will nominate him just to make sure he doesn't do anything wild at the ceremony. Expect the album as a whole and Rihanna-featuring single "Famous" to be the likeliest candidates for a nomination.


Just when it looked like Sia might not have a hit single to follow-up alcoholism-warning-turned-party-anthem "Chandelier," she went and dropped one of the biggest pop hits of 2016. "Cheap Thrills" proved that Sia isn't just a songwriter who works best writing for other artists — she's a voice that knows how to cater to audiences while not compromising what makes her unique.

Bon Iver

The 2017 Grammys will be Bon Iver's first ceremony since his 2012 win for Best New Artist that he'll be eligible for. It seems the popularity that Bon Iver gained by winning the high profile award pushed him to get even more experimental, as the artists latest release 22, A Million is one of the most challenging high-profile releases of 2016. This album might just be too weird for a major nomination, but it could be a dark horse for Album of The Year.


Remember your artsy ex from high school? Their favorite band released an album this year, and it's a likely candidate for Album of the Year. The long-time Grammy favorite Radiohead released their latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool, to critical acclaim. Expect it to sweep the Alternative (and possibly Rock) categories along with its lead single, "Burn The Witch."

These are only a handful of the artists you're likely to see at the 2017 Grammy ceremony, which just goes to show how remarkable the last year has been for music. In 2016, it seems that things got progressively darker in the world as the year went on — but music has been a shining light throughout it all, and the 2017 Grammys will highlight the music that has helped us all get through this bummer of a year in what could prove to be the most cathartic award ceremony to ever air.

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