Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Brandi Carlile will compete in the top three categories at the 2019 Grammy Awards, with other nominations going to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, Post Malone, and Cardi B. (Dec. 7)
For an artist with just one solo album in her discography, Maren Morris has three years of Grammy nominations under her belt, with the nine-time nominee scoring her first recognition in the awards show’s main categories with her song and record of the year contender “The Middle” this year.
With the 2019 Grammy-nominated success of “The Middle,” Morris is included in the group of women that dominated the three biggest categories, with at least half of all the nominees in the song, record and album of the year fields featuring a female artist.
Speaking to USA TODAY, Morris recalled being at the 2018 Grammys and seeing the drama that unfolded after the show due to its male-dominated winners’ list, and applauded the Recording Academy for recognizing more women in the main categories this year.
“It really does (feel like a change),” she said. “I remember all the stuff that happened right after a show about women being such a low percentage of nominees. And I really feel like the Grammys stepped up this year and corrected that imbalance.”
“There are so many amazing women nominated — I loved that Janelle Monae record “Dirty Computer,” and there’s such a diverse group of women that are nominated as well. So I think that’s such a step forward.”
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Full list: 2019 Grammy Awards nominations
As for Nashville’s representation, Morris is one of the only country music names who appears in the main categories. “It’ll get better every year,” she said, highlighting Kacey Musgraves as another country peer that she’ll be pulling for in the album of the year category.
“It’s amazing to be nominated and perform and to win, but I also just love watching the show as a fan, and I get so much information from live performance. Grammys are such a diverse awards show that I always feel like my inspiration will be full when I leave.”
Morris is an accomplished Nashville name, but “The Middle” was a different path to success for her, a clubby hit with producers Zedd and Grey that peaked at No. 1 on pop radio, with singers including Demi Lovato, Camila Cabello, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bebe Rexha and Lauren Jauregui from Fifth Harmony all submitting demos for the vocal part that Morris eventually claimed.
“I think I always knew in my gut ‘The Middle’ was a huge song, even from the first day I heard the demo for it,” Morris said. “So I mean, I thought it would be big, but not as massive as it became, I don’t think anyone would have expected that. But to have it be nominated in the general categories for the Grammys — it’s my first time ever being nominated in the main category. So it’s such an honor. And there were some massive songs this year. So it’s an amazing thing to be a part of that.”
Morris will celebrate her New Year’s Eve with a performance on the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve broadcast from the Allstate Fan Fest in New Orleans alongside Florida Georgia Line, bringing a year to a close in which she saw far more wins than losses.
The highlight of her year? “Getting married — I’d be in trouble if I didn’t say that. That was definitely one of my favorite days I’ll ever have.”
And even the moment that she cited as her biggest disappointment of 2018 was, in a way, its own win.
This was kind of a disappointment, but not a loss — we were super close to getting my single “Rich” to No. 1 (on the country charts), and it went to No. 2. It went way higher than we ever thought it would, bit it was definitely like, ‘Oh my god, we were so close.”
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