This year’s American Music Awards will take place live in Los Angles, California, at the Nokia Theatre on November 23, 2014. It is going to be hosted by Armando Christian Perez, aka Pitbull, he was also the host of the 2013 AMAs, which tells us that he must have been a hit with the audience, unlike the host of this year’s BRIT Awards, James Corden. This year’s ceremony will be the 42nd American Music Awards but what significance do these awards represent? Despite obvious cynicism, the event itself is still a celebration of American music. It’s always important to keep it alive in our popular culture, and award ceremonies have turned into a modern day phenomena that in turn champions new and contemporary musicians.
It has always been important to have some form of popular music on our record player as youngsters, whether it is The Spice Girls or Michael Jackson, One Direction or Kanye West. It somehow always inspires us, which is essential before you endure inevitable politicization as an adult. American music itself, being largely originating from African American music, is predominantly responsible for almost everything that’s listened to in western culture.
We must reference the importance of Blues, Jazz, Motown, Funk and Hip-Hop, and understand the influences of these musical forms in the sense of how they continue to inform and inspire the well-loved artists of today, and the joy their music brings to our lives. Arguably Hip-Hop is the modern day blues, in terms of its rawness – bold unambiguity – poetic stream of consciousness and autobiographical narrative. It is today’s most important musical genre in regards to social commentary.
Now to the fun bit, the full list of award nominees reveal a total of sixteen categories and 72 nominees in all, with Iggy Azalea, Beyoncé, Luke Bryan, One Direction and Katy Perry, all vying for the ‘Artist of the Year’ award, while the ‘New Artist of the Year’ award category pits 5 Seconds of Summer against the likes of Iggy Azalea, Bastille, Sam Smith, and Meghan Traino. Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX’s hit single “Fancy” will battle for ‘Single of the Year’ against John Legend’s “All of Me”, “Rude” by MAGIC!, Katy Perry and Juicy J’s “Dark Horse”, and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.
Iggy Azalea has an impressive six nominations, clearly making her the most popular artist of the year so far, with the Aussie rapper the obvious favourite to be crowned both ‘Artist of the Year‘ and ‘New Artist of the Year‘. Iggy should also take the award for ‘Favourite Artist – Rap/Hip-Hop‘, due to her technicolour mega star image, and dynamic rapping ability, she has genuine swagger and is a threat to all her contenders.
The fact that Bastille and Sam Smith have gained nominations is a real sign that classic rock music is in a shameful state of expression, with no edge. The ‘Single of the Year’ could go to Katy Perry considering her hit after hit success, showing that she a real class songwriter, but Pharrell’s “Happy” seems due its recognition, with its four to the floor northern soul beat, and bringing back some motown magic for us to appreciate. Despite the “Blurred Lines” controversy, Pharrell Williams could sure be the one grinning and winning from ear to ear.
One Direction are looking like the winners for ‘Best Group‘, they have had mass popularity this year, and massive hit singles, it’s certain that their young fans will overwhelmingly swamp them with votes. Country music has made a huge comeback with a staggering number of artists up for nomination. It’s slightly difficult to take the genre seriously these days, as it’s almost very bubble gum pop, with handsome men and women in plaid shirts, really, what happened to the hard living and lessons of true heartbreak?
The classic and inspirational artist Mary J. Blige is up for ‘Favourite Female Artist – Soul and R&B‘, it’s her only nomination and her talent deserves the recognition. For the electronic dance music category, it has to be the amazing Calvin Harris receiving the award. One guarantee of the night will be Nicki Minaj performing her new song from The Pink Print, “Bed of Lies” which also features Skylar Grey, that should be cool and worth tuning in for, and at least this year, we won’t have to witness Miley Cyrus doing her usual style of all round wimpy performance.
Don’t forget to vote for your favourite artists here.
Words by Michael Barrett // Edited by Ayo Adepoju