And British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons, which made an auspicious debut in front of an international audience during the 2011 Grammys, is up for album of the year for "Babel," one of 2012's best-selling releases.
Miguel, who helped Ocean shake up the R&B world this year, and jazz great Chick Corea join the Keys with five nominations apiece. Nas and recording engineer Bob Ludwig join Bhasker at four apiece.
There were no major snubs. Most of 2012's inescapable hits are represented in some way — Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" is up for record of the year and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" garnered a song of the year nod. Drake, Rihanna and Nashville residents Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Jack White and best new artist nominee Hunter Hayes were among 16 nominees with three nods.
In many ways the nominations reflect a singles-driven year when no album rose to the level of acclaim as Adele's "21" or West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," which dominated the Grammys last February.
The best new artist category is a great example of this year's diversity. From the minimalist R&B of Ocean, the pop-influenced sounds of fun. and Hayes, the soulful rock of Alabama Shakes and the Americana swing of The Lumineers, there's little resemblance between the acts.
"I think people listen to a lot of types of music and Spotify has proven that, and iPod has proven that," Lumineers member Wes Schultz said. "... Every person in that audience tonight, I saw them freaking out about various artists that have no relationship to each other."
Alabama Shakes drummer Steve Johnson noted the diversity in the category after the show, then made a surprising statement: "If I were on the other side of the fence, I'd vote Frank Ocean personally."