The country music artist shared the honor with producers Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian; engineers/mixers Craig Alvin and Shawn Everett. Songwriters sharing the award were Fitchuk, Musgraves and Tashian, while Greg Calbi and Steve Fallone were mastering engineers
The award goes to the artist and to featured artists, songwriters of new material, producer, recording engineers, and mixer and mastering engineer credited with at least 33% playing time of the album.
Musgraves, who hails from Golden, Texas, has come a long way since her seventh place finish on USA Network’s Nashville Star back in 2007. The MCA Nashville release is the third studio album from Musgraves and it generated the hit singles Butterflies and Space Cowboy.
Musgraves’s win topped a strong field that included Invasion of Privacy, the debut album by Bronx rapper Cardi B, which featured three No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, a historic bounty, given her genre and gender — no other female rapper has topped the chart more than once. The 26-year-old (whose given name was Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar) has sold more than 3.4 million copies of her album in the US alone.
Also nominated was By the Way I Forgive You, the sixth studio album from Brandi Carlile, the folk and Americana genre stalwart from Washington State. The music on the Low Country Sound collection earned Carlile half a dozen Grammy noms — making her the most-nominated woman in this year’s full field of categories and competitors. The six nominations for her sixth album mark a big turnaround in trophy attention — Carlile’s first five albums combined for one Grammy nomination.
Scorpion, the fifth studio album from Canadian music star Drake, was also nominated. It is his longest project to date (with 90 minutes of music) includes hits like In My Feelings, the rapper’s sixth No. 1 hit on Billboard Hot 100. Scorpion, from Cash Money Records, broke one-day records on both Spotify and Apple Music with a staggering 134 million plays and 170 million plays, respectively.
H.E.R., the self-titled debut from H.E.R. that won the Best R&B album (even though it was an EP) was also in the mix. The R&B singer who was born in Vallejo, California, as Gabriella Wilson but strives to keep her identity submerged below her stage persona and acronym name (It stands for “Having Everything Revealed”) to keep the music as its focus. Wilson signed her first contract at age 14 with RCA Records after singing songs by her idol, Alicia Keys — the host of tonight’s Grammys broadcast.
Also coming up short was Beerbongs & Bentleys, the Republic Records collection from Syracuse, N.Y., rapper Post Malone, whose given name is Austin Post. The album has six Top 10 hits and Malone has a hot hit of the moment with Sunflower, the evocative song (with Swae Lee) from the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack.
One of the surprises of the night was the relatively quiet showing by Black Panther: The Album. The soundtrack was the work of various artists, but the collection is the creation and curation of Kendrick Lamar, who contributed vocals to every track (even those not bearing his name in the credits) and performed (with SZA) its breakout hit All the Stars. The soundtrack’s critical and commercial acclaim has dovetailed with the cultural impact of the film from Disney’s Marvel Studios, which finished 2018 as Hollywood’s top-grossing domestic release.
Finally, rounding out the nominees was Dirty Computer, the concept album and third studio release from Kansas City native Janelle Monáe, who film fans will remember from her feature acting debut as Teresa in Moonlight. Monáe has described the 14-track collection as “a homage to women and the spectrum of sexual identities.” Its singles included Make Me Feel and Django Jane.