George Kahumoku Jr. is the lone Hawaiian music artist nominated in the new “regional roots” category for the 54th annual Grammy Awards, which will be announced in February.
The nominees were announced Wednesday night. Roosevelt High School graduate Bruno Mars got six nominations, including three in the major categories of record, album and song of the year.
Kahanamoku’s slack-key album “Wao Akua: The Forest of the Gods” was one of 13 Hawaiian music albums submitted for consideration in the category that includes recordings by Native American, Zydeco, Cajun and polka artists.
Kahumoku already has won three Grammys as a producer of compilation albums in the Hawaiian music category, which was eliminated in April in a restructuring of the Grammy categories. Daniel Ho, who produced Kahumoku’s nominated album, has four Hawaiian music Grammys as a producer and one as a performer.
Other nominees for best regional roots music album are “Can’t Sit Down,” by C.J. Chenier, “Rebirth Of New Orleans,” by Rebirth Brass Band, “Grand Isle,” by Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys, and “Not Just Another Polka,” by Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra.
The winner will be announced during the untelevised pre-show portion of the Grammy Awards show at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb. 12.
The Hawaiian artists and their albums that were under consideration as regional roots finalists, in addition to Kahumoku, are: Ahumanu, “No KuOuipo”; Kawaki Alfiche, “KaleOa”; Robert Cazimero, “Hula”; HiOikua, “Aia i HiOialo”; Kuana Torres Kahele, “Kaunaloa”; John Keawe, “Play With Me Papa”; Mailani, “Aina”; Kenneth Makuakane, “Kawaipono”; Doug & Sandy McMaster, “In My Heart”; various artists, “A Tribute to Na Lani OEha”; various artists, “Na Haku Mele o HawaiOi”; and various artists, “Wahine.”
The Hawaiian music album category was one of 29 that were eliminated in the Grammy restructuring. Consistently low numbers of submissions in the Hawaiian category was cited as the reason for consolidating it with the other smaller categories.
Mars was estatic about his nominations. He was nominated for song and record of the year for "Grenade," album for "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," and best pop solo performance, among other bids.
"It feels incredible. Me and these guys, we locked ourselves in the studio not too far from here and worked on this album, especially ‘Grenade.’ That’s the song we worked the hardest on. That’s like our trophy right there. Of all the songs we’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of this year, we were most proud of that one," Mars said after the nominations, some of which were announced in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theatre as part of the Recording Academy’s hour-long concert nominations special.
Mars, who was part of the CBS special, along with Rihanna, Lady Gaga, The Band Perry and others, also got key nominations last year. But he said of awards: "I’m trying to get used to it. It’s hard for me, because Adele is incredible. Kanye West is incredible. All these people are just incredible and they all offer something different, so the fact that this album got recognized and is being categorized alongside these acts, that’s the craziest part, because I’m a fan of all of this music."
Kanye West had seven nominations. British songstress Adele and the Foo Fighters were nominated for six trophie. Adele received nominations for album of the year for "21" and record and song of the year for her bitter groove "Rolling in the Deep."
West was nominated for song of the year for his all-star anthem "All of the Lights," which featured everyone from Rihanna to Elton John. But even though the album from which it came, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," heralded an epic album by critics when it was released last year, it was not featured in the best album category.
Bon Iver, the folky indie rock act that was a key part of "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" and received a popularity boost from its association with Kanye, was one of the night’s big winners, receiving four nominations, including for best artist, and song and record of the year for "Holocene." And last year’s critical darlings, Mumford & Sons, were once again nominated, receiving among their bids for song and record of the year for "The Cave."
Other multiple nominees were Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Radiohead, and dubstep artist Skrillex, who landed a bid for best new artist among his surprising five nominations.
Among the evening’s biggest eye-openers were the artists not mentioned in certain categories. Taylor Swift, who won best album in 2010 for "Fearless" and was considered to be a key favorite for her multiplatinum "Speak Now," only got her three nominations in the country fields, and Tony Bennett, who had a feel-good story as his "Duets II" album made him the oldest act to debut an album at No. 1 at age 85, was not nominated for album of the year, as some critics had predicted.
West’s joint album with Jay-Z, "Watch the Throne," was also ignored for best album.
Adele’s "21" is the year’s top-selling album with more than 4.5 million albums sold, and the singer-songwriter’s mournful post-breakup album produced smash hits like the torch ballad "Someone Like You." Besides "21," the best album candidates inclduded Lady Gaga; Gaga garnered her third straight nod in the category for "Born This Way," while veteran rockers the Foo Fighters were nominated for "Wasting Light," along with Mars’ debut album,and Rihanna’s steamy dance album "Loud."
For record of the year, besides Bon Iver, Adele, Mars and Mumford & Sons, Katy Perry’s inspirational anthem "Firework" got a nod. The category looked virtually the same for song of the year, with "Firework" being replaced by West’s "All of the Lights."
Unlike the past two years, which saw Swift and fellow country act Lady Antebellum soar in the general categories, the only country act that got a mainstream nomination was the country sibling act The Band Perry. Best known for their poignant ballad "If I Die Young," they got a nomination for best new artist. Their competition also includes Bon Iver, Jay-Z rap protégé J. Cole, Skrillex and rapper-singer Minaj.