Keeping it in the circle, last year’s “Best New Artist” winner, Meghan Trainor, has announced this year’s nominations for the 59th Grammy Awards on CBS. Jewish rapper Drake, whose latest album "Views" was released last spring, is leading the pack with eight Grammy nominations this year (one for every night of Chanukah perhaps).
And the pressure is on. He is up for the biggest award of the night: ‘Album of the Year.’ Drake’s multi-Platinum album, “Views,” will be competing against Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” Justin Bieber’s “Purpose,” and Adele’s “25.” Drake has also been nominated for “Record of the Year” for his collaboration song with Rihanna, “Work” as well as “Best Rap Song” for his hit “Hotline Bling.” In 2013, the Canadian born singer and actor won his first and so far only Grammy Award, “Best Rap Album,” for his album “Take Care.”
Drake’s Jewish connection has always been a distinguished part of his life. He attended a Jewish day school growing up and had a traditional bar mitzvah. The artist even rapped about his Judaism in his 2009 single “Still Drake” singing, “I flow tight like I was born Jewish/Well, actually I was born Jewish." The following year he rapped, "But I really can't complain, everything is kosher,” in his hit song “Over.” Last year, Drake opened the "Sher Club" in his hometown of Toronto, in honor of his late Jewish grandparents Rueben & Evelyn Sher.
Bob Dylan and Barbra Streisand will be also be among Jewish artists representing MOT’s at the Grammys this year. The two legends are up against each other in the “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album” category — Dylan nominated for “Fallen Angels” and Streisand nominated for “Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway.” Two Israeli video directors, Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia, have been nominated for “Best Music Video” for their work on Coldplay’s “Up and Up,” which currently has over 100 million views on Youtube.
"Artists seem to be exercising their creativity and creative freedom with less expectation on creating music that fits in a box with a nice little bow on it," said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, in an interview with Rolling Stone. "People are perhaps feeling a little more freedom and liberation to follow their muse wherever that might take you."
The Grammys will air live from Los Angeles' Staples Center on February 12th and will be hosted by ‘The Late Late Show’ host, James Corden.