Georgia artists amass dozens of Grammy nominations

A country band with devout loyalty to the University of Georgia, a bookish-looking rapper raised in Decatur and an Atlanta hip-hop-soul master responsible for one of the most engaging – and humorously profane – songs in recent memory command the list of Georgia-related nominees for the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.

And let’s not forget that other country band bred in Dahlonega, the one led by a guy with a penchant for knitted beanie hats.

Lady Antebellum, B.o.B., Cee Lo Green and the Zac Brown Band front the nominations list with a combined 19 nods, but they’re hardly the only attention-getters from the area.

More than 30 artists, songwriters and producers with ties to Georgia landed among the Grammy hopefuls in categories ranging from pop (Justin Bieber) to R&B (Usher, Janelle Monae, Monica) to country and bluegrass (Alan Jackson, Patty Loveless, Little Big Town) to gospel (VaShawn Mitchell, Karen Peck and New River).

The Grammy ceremony takes place Feb. 13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles; winners will be announced live on CBS starting at 8 p.m.

Although Eminem heads the overall nominations with 10, followed by 25-year-old producer-turned-singer Bruno Mars with seven, country superstars Lady Antebellum nip at their heels with six – including the prestigious album of the year category for their 3-million-plus-selling “Need You Now.”

The strong showing for Lady A -- whose Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley are UGA grads – isn’t unexpected given the tremendous success of the album’s title track.

And the coronation of newcomer B.o.B., who nabbed five slots related to his debut album, “B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray,” was indicative of his breakout year.

The 22-year-old rapper/producer rooted in Decatur celebrated the No. 1 single “Nothin’ On You” and follow-up hits “Airplanes” and “Magic,” while also scoring in the U.K.

“Nothin'," which features Mars, will compete for record of the year against fellow Southerners Lady Antebellum (“Need You Now”) and Cee Lo Green (“F*** You”), along with the Eminem/Rihanna duet “Love the Way You Lie” and Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ triumphant “Empire State of Mind.”

Green, meanwhile, has achieved inconceivable success with the infectiously groovy “F*** You,” renamed “Forget You” for radio play and its recent appearance on Fox’s “Glee.”

The Atlantan, also known as half of Gnarls Barkley, told the Associated Press that the song never was meant for radio.

“It really took on a life of its own, and I had no idea it would become what it is today,” he said.

The same could be said about the mania surrounding local transplant Bieber, the 16-year-old pop whiz whose teen appeal was validated by a pair of nominations.

He’ll challenge Drake, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons and Esperanza Spalding for the best new artist crown, and his “My World” album will contend with releases from Susan Boyle, Lady Gaga, John Mayer and Katy Perry for best pop vocal album.

Grammy night could also be a busy one for the Zac Brown Band, which could potentially take home four gramophones.

The band’s song “Free” is up against fellow Georgians Lady A (“Need You Now”) and Little Big Town (“Little White Church”), as well as Dailey & Vincent (“Elizabeth”) and The SteelDrivers (“Where Rainbows Never Die”) for best country performance by a duo or group.

The Grammy Awards’ 108 categories are voted on by members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Eligible recordings were released between Sept. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2010.