Sugarland and several other Grammy nominees praised Taylor Swift to a room of reporters in Los Angeles when the nominations were announced during a concert on Wednesday (Dec. 2). The 19-year-old singer-songwriter secured a total of eight nominations in pop and country categories.
“I think it’s exciting for country music now in the sense that Taylor has done a lot for the genre,” said Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles. “She’s brought a lot of young people into country music and exposed them to country music, so I think it’s exciting. I was just laughing about it, though, the other day. I was thinking, ‘All right, she’s 20 years old and she is nominated for Grammys and she’s done all this and she’s making all these decisions. When I was 20 years old, I was playing clubs and learning how to drink Jim Beam and Coke. You know, very different. Very different, but I think she’s doing great things for herself.”
Sugarland’s “It Happens” received a Grammy nomination for best country performance by a duo or group with vocals. During the CBS telecast of the nominations special, they were backed by a gospel choir in front of Club Nokia to perform “Coming Home,” a song from their new Gold and Green holiday album.
“We thought it would be appropriate to do it in front of a Christmas tree, so it was nice,” Nettles said. “It was fun, and it was my first time playing piano on national television. Normally, that’s just for me in my house and the studio.”
“Put a choir on anything, and it gets good,” added her bandmate, Kristian Bush.
Backstage at the event, Colbie Caillat, Kings of Leon’s Nathan Followill and LL Cool J also spoke highly of Swift.
“I’m so excited for Taylor,” said Caillat, a singer-songwriter who earned four Grammy nominations. “She deserves everything that’s happened for her this year. She has eight nominations. She deserves it all.”
Two of Caillat’s nominations were for her work with Swift — as a featured artist in the all-genre album of the year category (Fearless) and for pop collaboration with vocals (“Breathe”).
“We’re Nashville boys so we’ll pull for our locals — Taylor Swift, Sugarland, all the country people that live in the same town that we bump into at Whole Foods every weekend,” Followill said. Among their four nominations, Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” is up for record of the year and song of the year. Swift’s “You Belong With Me” landed in those same categories.
“I think the future is limitless for Taylor,” said LL Cool J, who hosted the concert that was televised on CBS.” I think that she’s young, she’s pretty, talented — you know, pretty and talented, just to be clear. She’s an amazing artist.”
Neil Portnow, President of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, remarked, “Taylor is a phenomenon, I think, in entertainment. She crosses so many genres and so many generations. She’s really struck a chord with people because her music is so honest. She writes her music. It comes from her heart, speaking to an audience that perhaps hasn’t been spoken to in a way that she has these days. So I’m not surprised, and I’m very happy for her.”View photos from the Grammy nominations concert.