Nominees (Kings of Leon! Sugarland! Maxwell!) talk Taylor Swift and more after the Grammy nomination special

kings of leonThe stars filed through the press room after tonight’s hour-long Grammy nomination special (the Grammy ceremony airs live on CBS on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010 at 8 p.m. ET/PT) in an efficient, joyous, and slightly dizzying conveyor belt process: Presenter Ringo Starr proudly identified himself as a Black Eyed Peas fan. Nominee and official nutty Frenchman David Guetta leaped on top of Grammy board member Jimmy Jam, who then announced that the Time reunion that started on the 2008 telecast would soon birth an album. Kings of Leon’s Nathan Followill noted that their four “Use Somebody” nominations tonight — on top of the ones from last year, when “Sex on Fire” won Best Group Rock Performance — make a whopping seven noms over two years. “It’s pretty cool to have a record that people can tolerate for that long,” he said. Keri Hilson called tonight the “creme de la creme” in her massive year of dreams coming true. And multiple nominee Drake confessed that back in high school, “I used to dream about hearing my name get called at something like this. My mom can vouch for me. I definitely lost hours of sleep.”

Taylor Swift — who picked up 8 nominations — wasn’t in the building, but that didn’t stop everyone from focusing on the blond chart-buster. Grammy head Neil Portnow said he was “delighted” about all of her noms. “Taylor is a phenomenon in entertainment,” he said. “She crosses so many genres and generations. She’s really struck a chord with people because her music is so honest.” Colbie Caillat, who picked up a nod for her collaboration with Swift on “Breathe,” echoed the honesty sentiment. Host LL Cool J said he thinks she is a “beautiful girl.” KOL’s Followill is pulling for her because they shop at the same Whole Foods. The Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie thinks she is “adorable,” and will.i.am said he plays her songs in his club set. More topically, Sugarland‘s Jennifer Nettles said Swift’s success was “exciting” for Nashville, because she brings in so many younger listeners. “David Cassidy is now in country music!” Nettles jokingly exclaimed. “It’s like Tiger Beat. I think it’s cool.” She also expressed some amazement at the 20 year old’s life in contrast to her own. “When I was 20, I was playing clubs and learning how to drink Jim Beam and Coke,” she said. “Very different.”

Elsewhere in Sugarland, the duo — who picked up a nom for “It Happens” — seemed quite serious about Kristian Bush’s on-screen invitation to LL Cool J to come play with them. What would they like to do with LL? “Whatever he wants to do,” Bush said. For his part, LL says he’s open to it, but is concerned about the tight jeans and boots that may be involved. “Too much crotch L,” he said. Also in style news, the Black Eyed Peas talked about their intention to make t-shirts out of the recycled water bottles from their upcoming tour, and called being caught listening their own music on the radio “embarrassing.” About their nominations, will.i.am confessed, “We could have been forgotten. I’m so proud that we didn’t get swallowed by our yesterday’s success.” Then he started vocally remixing “Purple Haze” on stage in front of us. “He hasn’t had any Red Bull,” apologized Taboo. “He’s always like this,” said Fergie.

But the most emotional moments of the night came from Maxwell, whose performance of Michael Jackson’s “The Lady In My Life” was also one of the evening’s creative high points. The R&B prodigal son has been out of the game for the past eight years, and asked the press corps to be “gentle” with him. “This is very surreal for me,” he said. “I was living in basic obscurity, so to come back and to make a record based on my own living experiences and not my desire to be number one, and to have this kind of reception — I feel like I’ve already won.” But he did note one big change since he’s been gone, something he’s trying to rectify with his plan of releasing three albums under the Blacksummers’night banner. “I want to bring back the idea of albums again,” he said. “Things are so singles-oriented. There was this thing that was a record before. There were songs, and it was a body of work, as opposed to just three minutes of you shaking your butt on a dance floor somewhere.” Although he lost out in the Album of the Year category to acts like the Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce, Maxwell did not seem the least bit discouraged. “I won’t be going away anymore,” he said.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Grammy noms for Best Album: All the single ladies (and a few back-up dudes)
Grammy nomination special: The best and worst performances
Grammy nominations: We’re shocked! Six huge surprises
The Grammy nomination rules: An idiot’s guide
Nick Jonas leaves the nest for solo tour

Comments (33 total) Add your comment
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  • Maxwell Speaks the Truth!

    The last paragraph has just HIT IT HOME. Maxwell has just stabbed every pop music wannbe in the industry with his comment. MAKE REAL MUSIC.

    Now here’s the irony. Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce – at the top of the pop industry class, they are – yet they still make better music than Maxwell. Just a little bit better. Uh, by a hair. Ah well.

    • Gigi

      Maxwell’s latest album is so good! I can’t can only vouch for Beyonce (haven’t listened to the other ones) but I don’t think her album is better than his. I think her album (and possibly the other albums) have had more success than his. I have his music on constant rotation! With Beyonce I can’t listen to her album without skipping to another song.

  • Deiko

    I am so happy with all of the choices of the nominees in most of the categories. I think all these artists truly deserve a Grammy. Kings of Leon, Beyonce, Maxwell, Lady Gaga and even Drake. I knew he was going to be nominated for “Best I Ever Had” and he hasn’t even came out with an album yet.

    • Attraversare

      Thank you for another great atlrcie. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

  • Planet Earth turns slooooowly.

    OWL CITY!!!?!?!? ROBBED!

    WHITNEY HOUSTON? Uh, not really. lol!@

    • jordan

      owl city wasn’t robbed because what they did was obviously stolen already. think postal service.

  • jordan

    i thought taylor swift was 19? did she have a birthday recently?

    • Maserda

      Her birthday is on the 13th.

  • Ian

    I think it was joke that Taylor Swift was nominated for all of those awards, especially Song of the Year. “You Belong With Me” is cute, but SOTY is about awarding songwriting, and i dont believe that she has proven herself to be an exemplary songwriter. She writes cute songs, but it doesnt take much talent to rhyme “sneakers” with “bleachers.”

    • Brian

      But it does take a lot of talent to convey real teenage emotions through pop songs, and she does it time and time again. It’s something that not even the most acclaimed pop songwriters (when they pen for people like Miley Cyrus, Avril Lavigne, etc) are able to do, and virtually every song she’s recorded (save for the recent string of horrific bonus tracks on the Fearless re-erlease) accomplishes it.

      The “cute” song thing is exactly what she should be going for–her life revolves around crushes on boys, clothes and school–she doesn’t have Bruce Springsteen’s level of experience and shouldn’t be writing songs like that. Her songs are pure and honest.

      She’s easily one of the best mainstream songwriters right now. Vocalist? No – and it’s a travesty that she gets nominated and wins singing awards. But there just aren’t songwriters who can compete with her sincerity.

      • Ian

        I definitely agree with some of what you are saying, but the girl is 20, and hasnt been in high school for a few YEARS. Would it kill her to grow up?

      • Emre

        Bu mesajı niye buraya da astın aamnladım :) blogger’daki index kısmını indirmişsin bile! (bu siteye gfcvenin tam anlaşılan ;) )Yeni sitenin sevdiğim bi yanı albfcm linklerini hiperlink olarak vermesi (gere7i blog.hr’de de uğraşırsan yapıyodu, ama anladığım kadarıyla uğraşmak istemiyodun ;) )tekrar hayırlı olsun

    • TT2

      If you listen to her songs, especially the ballads, they are very well written and lyrical. Is she the best singer? No. But her music & lyrics just have a way of reaching people. Her songs can be funny, sweet, heart-wrenching, endearing, without being insipid like so many songs out there by young artists today. Like many in the country genre, her songs tell a story.

  • Lisa

    T. Swift – She has talent and is utterly adorable. I still think her voice could use a bit more training, but congrats for her noms.

    Lady Gaga has totally grown on me. I really really like her. She’s so very interesting to watch. Style and Substance.

    KOL – Have their first CD when they were all bushy and sorta homegrown looking. Their sound has evolved along with their hair and I think they will go down as one of the great American bands.

    Now, if they’d stop dating/marrying models.

  • Karen

    Who was the woman at the piano who sang the incredible song about coming home backed up by a gospel choir?

    • Jose

      That was Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.

  • t

    Im happy with all except im not sure who “Kings of Leon” is?Shed light on this please

    • Brian

      They’re a “southern alternative” band, basically a Southern version of The Strokes. They’d had some songs you’ve probably heard on commercials and soundtracks (Happy Alone, Red Morning Light, Molly’s Chambers) but didn’t truly breakout until this year with “Sex On Fire” (one of the biggest rock songs of the last few years) and then “Use Somebody” (a legitimate pop smash).

  • Menchy

    Loving the GaGa and MGMT nomz.

    • paula

      me too! also the ting tings nom

  • bw

    I think its fairly ridiculous that Kanye wasn’t nominated. Once again, he got on stage and said someone else deserved an award. Was it tacky? Absolutely? Does he deserve to get blacklisted? No. Lets look. You can nominate drug addicts (Amy Winehouse), admitted former drug dealers (Jay-Z & Lil Wayne)felons (T.I.), but heaver forbid someone get onstage at the VMAs and say someone else deserved an award. 808s and Heartbreak deserved some mention here.

    • bw

      I’m not saying it was his best album at all, but it was better than some of the stuff that was nominated. I mean “I’m on a Boat”? While I love it and find it hilarious, but one of the best rap songs of the year? that nomination alone discredits the grammys

      • hill

        Agreed.

        That’s the type of joke nomination that is fueled by people who don’t like “rap” voting for the Best Rap & Sung record. It’s very sad.

    • starchild

      For “Heartless” not to get some kind of nom – Kris Allen pretty much won “American Idol” because of it and for 808 to not even receive a rap album nom, shows how political awards shows are.

      • TT2

        Kris Allen’s version was better.

  • Brian

    808s and Heartbreak had like two good songs…I like Kanye in general, but this was a terrible album.

    He has to realize that putting his name on an album cover does not make for a good album. Yes, “College Dropout” deserved more awards respect. “Late Registration” was a great follow-up. But his last two albums have ranged from nothing special (Graduation) to trash (808s).

  • Moe

    Why is Fergie calling Taylor Swift “Adorable”, what is she 2 years old.

    • Brian

      She, in a sense, comes across as way younger than she is–she acts her age in the entertainment world, a world in which you’re expected to be a full-grown adult when you hit 18.

      She’s also a “fan” – while it’ll probably change soon due to how big she’s gotten, you could tell over the past few years that she’s truly blown away by stardom and still star-struck sharing stages with her country idols. That’s an endearing quality that you don’t see often–Miley Cyrus, for instance, treats every celebrity like a peer/friend.

      Of course, there is also the pessimistic answer: Taylor Swift has more fans than Fergie, and Fergie’s goal is thus to dismiss her as “adorable.” ‘She has fans cause she’s a cute kid, not because she’s a true pop Diva.’ I’m sure there is some truth to that, but it’s mostly resentment.

  • Julien

    Beyonce is overrated as they come. She gets nominated because she’s popular, not because she makes good music.

  • Scott

    Yeah I actually think most of the awards were pretty much on with what I thought. A few surprises were Beyonce and DMB in the Album of the Year Catergory. That means that DMB will probably win Best Rock Album. I thought Green Day would’ve been in there. I am happily surprised with all the love for Maxwell and Kings of Leon. I expect to see Kings of Leon Pick up Best Rock Song and Best Rock performance by a group of duo, and Maxwell for R&B Album, Male R&B performance, and maybe song. MGMT good surprise, but won’t win. I thought GAGA would get a few more nods. At least 1 in the pop category, and 1 for Video Short Form for Paparrazi. The Nods she did get I wasn’t surpirsed about. Also I like Beyonce, but this wasn’t the strongest album. BDAY is still her best, despite Single Ladies. If I was a Boy is a better song than Halo, and Kelly Clarkson Got robbed in Best Female Pop Performance for My Life Would Suck without you, or I Don’t Hook Up. BEP will win Best Pop Album and Best pop performance by group or duo. I hope thats it, I’ve grown tired of them. Okay I am done, comment.

  • Scott

    Oh yeah Kanye, I thought he would’ve gotten a few nods for “Heartless” It was a huge hit for him, and both The Frey and Kris Allen kept it relevent. I like him as an artist, not a person. You can’t deny is talent, and its a shame they discredit people for their personal life. 808’s was his weakest album, but I expected a nod in Solo Rap or R&B Performace (depending on how they categorized it) and either Song or Record of the Year. Also Eminem hopefully will win Best Rap Album. Such a strong comeback, and he got shut out in the other categories in his field. Thats the only one I think he has a shot to win.

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