Kanye West, Amy Winehouse spice up Grammy race
By Dean Goodman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rap star Kanye West dominated the Grammy nominations for the third time in four years on Wednesday, while troubled British pop singer Amy Winehouse led a strong field of female contenders for the music industry's top honors.
West, 30, received eight nominations in six categories, including the coveted album of the year for "Graduation," one of the biggest sellers of 2007.
He already has six Grammys, after leading the races for awards presented in 2005 and 2006 with a total of 18 nominations. But in both those instances, he failed to win the contest for best album, much to his frustration.
His latest nominations were mostly in the rap categories, including best rap album and two entries for best rap song ("Can't Tell Me Nothing" and "Good Life").
Winehouse was a surprisingly strong contender with six nominations, including album, song and record of the year, as well as best new artist. The 24-year-old London native won commercial and critical acclaim for her second album, "Back to Black," a deeply personal release that mixed autobiographical lyrics with melodies harking back to the golden age of soul.
But her promising career has been overshadowed by drug and alcohol problems, and a chaotic life with her new husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, who is in a British jail awaiting trial on charges of assaulting a pub owner last year.
With the U.S. government cracking down on work visas for musicians with legal problems, Winehouse may have trouble performing at the Grammys. She was forced to cancel a U.S. visit last month because of visa issues. Continued...