Music News & Reviews

It’s a good time for music in NC as Rapsody, Sylvan Esso and Iron & Wine score Grammy nods

Rapsody performs at Durham's "The Art of Cool" Saturday night, April 29, 2017.
Rapsody performs at Durham's "The Art of Cool" Saturday night, April 29, 2017.

It’s a good day for Triangle musicians.

Rapsody and 9th Wonder are Grammy nominees again. Durham duo Sylvan Esso and Iron & Wine scored their first Grammy nominations.

In nominations announced Tuesday morning, Snow Hill native Marlanna “Rapsody” Evans picked up two – Best Rap Album for “Laila’s Wisdom,” her major-label debut released earlier this fall, and Best Rap Song for “Sassy.” They’re her first solo nominations, after sharing in Kendrick Lamar’s Album of the Year nomination last year.

Patrick “9th Wonder” Douthit, a Triangle-based producer and university professor, is recognized through his work with Lamar. Lamar is nominated for Album of the Year for “Damn.” Wonder produced that album’s final track, “Duckworth.”

Rapsody tweeted Tuesday upon hearing the news: “Man. Man.....THANK YOU so much to the @recordingAc. To my team, @JamlaRecords I love y’all! What a journey we’re on. *tears of joy*”

Meanwhile, the Sylvan Esso duo of Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath scored for Best Dance/Electronic Album with “What Now” – their second album.

This is their first Grammy nomination. When asked Tuesday morning if they’ll attend the ceremonies, Meath laughed and said, “Of course.”

“It’s the Grammys, a dream,” Meath said. “You grow up watching them, and it’s about the only thing that makes most of your relatives think you’re doing OK as a musician. I’m trying to manifest stuff happening by preparing for it, so I’ve got my cousin who designs earrings making me some special one-offs. And I think I found the dress.”

Iron & Wine is the artistic name of singer-songwriter Sam Beam, originally a South Carolina native. Iron & Wine is nominated for Best Americana Album.

Beam moved to the Triangle in 2013, first to Durham and then a year later to Chapel Hill, where he still resides. He also co-produced “Stitch of the World,” the latest album by Tift Merritt.

Beam has earned voluminous acclaim for his eight full-length albums, but never a Grammy nomination until this year. Iron & Wine’s “Beast Epic” faces a formidable field for the Americana Grammy, up against Jason Isbell, The Mavericks, Brent Cobb and the late Gregg Allman.

Wonder joined Rapsody in Lamar’s 2015 Album of the Year nomination for “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

As before, Rapsody will also attend the Grammy ceremonies this time.

“Without a doubt, I’m definitely going back, for sure,” Rapsody said Tuesday. “My mama’d killed me if I didn’t! And I need another fly new outfit, too.”

Another nominee with North Carolina ties is Charlotte native Anthony Hamilton with his 17th nomination since 2002, in Best Traditional R&B Performance. His one Grammy win came in that category in 2008.

In other local connections, Hiss Golden Messenger multi-instrumentalist Brad Cook is credited as executive producer of The War on Drugs’ “A Deeper Understanding” – nominated for best rock album.

Overall, Jay-Z leads with eight total nominations, including album and record of the year. Lamar has seven nominations – up against Jay-Z and Rapsody in best rap album among them.

The Grammy Awards will be presented Jan. 28 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The Grammy’s have embraced Hip Hop and R&B for its 2018 nominations. Jay-Z has earned eight nominations while Kendrick Lamar picked up seven. Other nominees include; Childish Gambino, Bruno Mars and Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee.

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi

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