THE WAR AND TREATY
Michael Trotter, Jr. and his wife Tonya Trotter met at a Love Festival in Laurel, MD, and were instantly taken with each other’s talent. Once they began singing together, the rest of the world was equally taken. They released two albums prior to 2023’s breakthrough Lover’s Game and had an eye-opening performance with Dierks Bentley at the 2021 CMAs, which garnered them a lot of new fans.
Like Kahan, Michael Trotter has been very open about the PTSD he suffered after serving two tours in Iraq. (Their song 2020 “Five More Minutes” documents one of the couple’s darkest moments with remarkable affirmation.) He supplied the “War” part of their name and Tonya supplied the “Treaty.” They have already reached heights that no African American duo has attained in the world of country music, and they are only now becoming known to a wider audience. “Blank Page,” from Lover’s Game, is also up for Best American Roots Song.
Frederick John Philip Gibson (AKA Fred Again..) is only 32 but has been making his own music for more than twenty years. He was born into a well-to-do family in South London and began dabbling with various forms of electronic music before he was ten years old. Then, as a teenager, he impressed a family acquaintance enough to take an interest in the young musician. That friend was Brian Eno, one of the most influential pop music producers of the past fifty years. With Eno’s encouragement, Fred soon became an in-demand producer for top-tier stars like Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and Charli XCX.
But Fred continued experimenting with his own unique brand of pop/dance music that draws heavily on samples from spoken word in addition to singing. He has found remarkable ways of incorporating traditionally non-song elements into his music and is one of the rare electronic artists who perform his wizardry live in front of audiences, as opposed to relying primarily on pre-recorded tracks. He has recently begun performing live with Skrillex and Four Tet and has exploded from cult hero to major arena headliner in short order. Along with his New Artist nomination, Fred has three others in the Dance/Electronic Music categories.