Grammy Awards 2015 Record Of the Year Nominees

Record of the Year is one of the top honors given out annually at the Grammy Awards. The nominees for the 2015 Grammy Awards celebration were all pop hits.  Only Taylor Swift was nominated in the category previously. She did not win it with her previous nominations. 

Iggy Azalea - "Fancy" featuring Charli XCX

Iggy Azalea Fancy Charli XCX
Iggy Azalea - "Fancy" featuring Charli XCX. Courtesy Island

In December 2013 an unfinished Iggy Azalea song temporarily titled "Leave It" leaked online. That was the public's first exposure to what would become "Fancy." The song is a blend of hip hop and contemporary pop sounds celebrating the glamorous life. "Fancy" went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks and made Iggy Azalea a star. It also soared to the top of the rap, dance, and mainstream pop radio charts. 

Special mention should be made of the role of Charli XCX on the record. She wrote and performed the song's chorus hook giving her a second top 10 appearance as featured artist after taking part in Icona Pop's breakthrough "I Love It."

The accompanying music video drew significant positive attention as well. It was directed by Director X and inspired by the 1995 comedy film Clueless. Many of the scenes of the music video are direct remakes of scenes from the film. The music video earned four nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards including for Video of the Year. The video has been viewed more than 700 million times.

Record of the Year was one of four Grammy Award nominations for Iggy Azalea in 2015 including Best New Artist. "Fancy" was also nominated for Best Pop Duo or Group Performance.

Sia - "Chandelier"

Sia Chandelier
Sia - "Chandelier". Courtesy Monkey Puzzle

In the years leading up to her release of "Chandelier," Sia made multiple appearances in the upper reaches of the pop charts as songwriter and featured artist including on David Guetta's "Titanium" and Flo Rida's "Wild Ones." However, she had no major hits as a solo artist until 2014. "Chandelier" was originally written with an intent for either Beyonce or Rihanna to record it. However, Sia ultimately kept the song for herself.

"Chandelier" climbed to #8 on the US pop singles chart and became a top 10 pop hit around the world. It also reached the top 10 at adult pop radio and climbed to #1 on the dance chart. The success of "Chandelier" helped Sia's album 1000 Forms of Fear become her first #1 hit album. 

"Chandelier" speaks of self-destructive elements in the life of a party girl. It was co-produced by Greg Kurstin who produced Kelly Clarkson's 2013 Record of the Year nominee "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)."  He is also a 2015 Grammy nominee for Producer of the Year.

The accompanying music video for "Chandelier" created its own sensation. It features a solo dance routine by 11-year-old Maddie Ziegler, a star of the TV show Dance Moms. Sia promoted "Chandelier" through a series of TV appearances in which she sang without facing the camera while other guests performed.

Record of the Year was one of four Grammy Award nominations for Sia including Song of the Year and Best Music Video.

WINNER: Sam Smith - "Stay With Me"

Sam Smith Stay With Me
Sam Smith - "Stay With Me". Courtesy Capitol

Sam Smith is arguably the top new pop artist of the year. He is nominated for and won that honor at the Grammy Awards. He appeared early in the year as featured artist on two pop hits by fellow British artists, Naughty Boy's "La La La" and Disclosure's top 10 hit "Latch." In April he released "Stay With Me" in the US and it became his first solo hit. It peaked at #2 and paved the way for his album In the Lonely Hour. The album also reached #2 and was one of the bestselling albums released in 2014 being certified platinum in late November. 

A live performance of "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith on Saturday Night Live March 29, 2014 helped give the song a strong boost in the US. In addition to its #2 pop success, "Stay With Me" reached #1 on adult pop, adult contemporary, and mainstream pop radio. It was a top 10 smash in many other countries around the world.

Stephen Fitzmaurice, co-producer of "Stay With Me" mixed Seal's 1996 Record of the Year winner "Kiss From a Rose." Sam Smith co-wrote the song. Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne also received co-writing credits when Tom Petty's publishing team noticed similarities between "Stay With Me" and Tom Petty's 1989 hit "I Won't Back Down." "Stay With Me" is a powerfully emotional record featuring a gospel choir and organ.

Record of the Year was one of six Grammy Award nominations for Sam Smith in 2015. He won Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Taylor Swift - "Shake It Off"

Taylor Swift Shake It Off
Taylor Swift - "Shake It Off". Courtesy Big Machine

With two previous Record of the Year nominations for "You Belong With Me" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Taylor Swift was the veteran in this category. "Shake It Off" was released just in time to be nominated for the 2015 Grammy Awards. 

Upon the release of "Shake It Off," Taylor Swift signaled that she was abandoning country music and her upcoming album 1989 would be completely a pop record. The song is her answer to "haters." She has decided to simply shake off criticism. 

Swedish pop master Max Martin co-wrote and co-produced the record. He earned a Grammy Award nomination for Producer of the Year.

"Shake It Off" debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and ultimately spent four non-consecutive weeks at the top. It also hit #1 on adult pop, adult contemporary, and mainstream pop radio. It broke into the top 20 on the dance chart and even climbed to #58 on the country radio chart.

The accompanying music video was directed by Mark Romanek, and it was discussed extensively in the press. It depicts Taylor Swift celebrating her inner dorkiness while dancing with a wide range of professionals. The music video has been watched more than 1.5 billion times.

Record of the Year was one of three Grammy Award nominations for Taylor Swift in 2015 including Song of the Year.

Meghan Trainor - "All About That Bass"

Meghan Trainor All About That Bass
Meghan Trainor - "All About That Bass". Courtesy Epic

20-year-old Meghan Trainor seemed to come out of nowhere in 2014 with the ultra-catchy smash hit single "All About That Bass." She was working as a songwriter in Nashville when music executive L.A. Reid heard her demo of the song. He signed her as a recording artist and insisted that she record "All About That Bass" herself. The result went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed for eight weeks. 

Meghan Trainor wrote "All About That Bass" with Kevin Kadish in an arrangement where they both felt a strong creative chemistry. The song celebrates their mutual affection for 1950s music. The lyrics received both acclaim and derision for their support of women with larger bodies. Meghan Trainor responded in interviews insisting she is not criticizing skinny girls. Instead she is supporting all women that are concerned about body image. 

"All About That Bass" was a significant dance and even Latin radio hit beyond its core mainstream pop audience. It reached #1 at mainstream pop radio, #2 adult pop, and #7 adult contemporary. "All About That Bass" reached #1 on pop charts in many different countries around the world. 

The accompanying music video directed by Fatima Robinson received significant attention as well. It depicts Meghan Trainor and other dancers in pastel colors and showing off bodies that are not all thin. The "All About That Bass" music video has been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.

Record of the Year was one of two Grammy Award nominations for Meghan Trainor in 2014 including Song of the Year.