The Grammys have withdrawn Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff, and St. Vincent as nominees on Olivia Rodrigo’s album Sour after they had been included due to a submission error.
Sour, Rodrigo’s debut album, has seen huge success following its release in May. Not only did Sour chart at the top spot in several countries, but it also broke the global Spotify record for the biggest opening week for an album by a female artist.
A testament to its huge success, Sour was nominated for Album of the Year in the forthcoming 2022 Grammy Awards, alongside the likes of Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Lil Nas X, Taylor Swift, and more.
Swift, Antonoff, and St. Vincent — whose real name is Annie Clark — were previously included under Rodrigo’s Album of the Year nomination for their roles as “songwriters” on her tracks “Deja Vu” and “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back.”
However, the three weren’t actively involved in the songwriting processes of Rodrigo’s tracks, which instead include interpolations from older songs cowritten by Swift, Antonoff, and Clark.
Interpolation refers to when parts of a song’s composition are rerecorded to create something new. It’s a different concept from sampling, which refers to a snippet being lifted from an original song.
Rodrigo’s “Deja Vu” includes an interpolation of Swift’s “Cruel Summer,” a track she cowrote with Antonoff and Clark for her 2019 album, Lover.
Meanwhile, “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back” rearranges the notes from Swift’s 2017 song “New Year’s Day,” which was cowritten with Antonoff for her 2017 album, Reputation.
On Nov. 23, the Grammys unveiled the list of nominees for its 2022 award ceremony, with Rodrigo and Swift bagging several nominations each.
Swift — who has won 11 Grammys to date — was nominated for Album of the Year for her 2020 work Evermore.
Meanwhile, Rodrigo — marking the end of her hugely successful breakout year — bagged a total of seven nominations. As well as being named for Album of the Year, the 18-year-old was nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocals Album, Best Pop Solo Performance, and Best Music Video.
However, it’s now been reported that Swift, Antonoff, and Clark were incorrectly included under Rodrigo’s nomination, due to a submission error.
The Academy reportedly clarified that its policy is “not to include the writers of interpolated songs in nominations” and maintained that it did only so in Rodrigo’s case due to “a submission that incorrectly named Swift, Clark and Antonoff as full co-writers.”
In light of the now-rectified error, the Academy made an update to its website on Dec. 5, announcing that it has withdrawn all three of their nominations for Sour.
“In Category 2/Album Of The Year/Olivia Rodrigo/Sour,” reads the updated site, “Songwriters Jack Antonoff, Annie Clark and Taylor Swift have been removed.”
According to Billboard, the Academy further issued a statement on the topic, explaining its decision for the seemingly sudden withdrawal.
“During the submission process, the Academy received credits from the label for the track ‘deja vu,’” the statement purportedly read.
“Last week, we received the correct credits from the label that recognize Annie Clark, Jack Antonoff and Taylor Swift as songwriters of an interpolation on the track, ‘deja vu,’” it continued.
“In keeping with current Grammy guidelines, as songwriters of an interpolated track, Clark, Antonoff and Swift are not nominees in the album of the year category for Sour,” the statement said.
The Academy also clarified that Antonoff and Swift remain Album of the Year nominees for their work on Swift’s album Evermore. Meanwhile, Antonoff also remains a nominee for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, and Clark is still nominated for Best Alternative Music Album.
Rodrigo’s decision to credit Swift, Antonoff, and Clark on her debut album is something that attracted widespread attention earlier this year.
Speaking with Zach Sang in May, Rodrigo discussed how she and her producer, Daniel Nigro, came to interpolate one of Swift’s tracks.
“We interpolated ‘New Year’s Day,’ which is Taylor’s song from Reputation,” Rodrigo said. “I came up with the ‘1 Step Forward’ concept and I sort of wrote a verse and a chorus. I was in the car on a road trip, and when I got home, I decided to sing it over the chords of ‘New Year's Day.’ I think they're really beautiful chords. I was lucky enough to get that approved, and it's on the record.”
Billboard estimated that for “Deja Vu,” Swift, Antonoff, and Clark would receive a combined share of 50%, while Rodrigo and Nigro split the rest. For “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back,” the outlet estimated that Swift and Antonoff would receive around a third of the royalties each, with Rodrigo claiming the final third for writing the song by herself.
And it wasn’t just Swift that Rodrigo reportedly gave royalties to. According to the report, the Sour singer offered credits to Paramore's Hayley Williams and Josh Farro, after her hit song “Good 4 U'' bore similarities to the band’s 2007 track “Misery Business.”