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Most-nominated artists who have never won a Grammy

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Terry Wyatt // Getty Images for Musicians On Call

Most-nominated artists who have never won a Grammy

The old chestnut “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” lends itself nicely to those musical artists who have garnered many Grammy nominations, but never bagged the big prize. While artists will say it's an honor just to be nominated, deep down they feel the sting of defeat and yearn to take home one of those little golden trophies. Alas, for every winner there will be multiple losers. Among all those Grammy losers, no one loses as often as the musicians on this list.

Using data taken from the official Grammy website, Stacker compiled a list of the most nominated acts that have failed to walk away with a win. Musicians were ranked according to the number of nominations they received during their careers, up to and including 2019, and must not have had a single win by January 2020—except for Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement awards. Artists with an equal number of nominations were sorted by most recent nomination year and then alphabetically.

Winning is nice, but it isn't everything, and most losers on the list can console themselves with fat bank balances. Some are industry veterans, others are newcomers who have taken the music industry by storm. A select few are current nominees. Will their luck finally change? Tune into the 62nd Grammy Awards Sunday, Jan. 26, to find out.

In the meantime, read through the list to see which industry titans and more obscure acts are still chasing the golden gramophone.

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livepict.com // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Public Enemy

- Nominations: 6
- Most recent nomination: 1994

Consisting of social activist Chuck D and zany cohort Flavor Flav, Public Enemy busted through the industry doors in 1986 and instantly began changing the cultural landscape. With intelligent, political, and controversial lyrics, the famous duo put America's racial misdeeds front and center. To this day, Public Enemy's influence can be seen throughout the hip-hop sphere. That they never won a Grammy feels negligible next to their substantial contributions to music and culture.

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Kraft74 // Shutterstock

#47. Tupac Shakur

- Nominations: 6
- Most recent nomination: 1999

Rapper Tupac Shakur rose to fame tackling social injustice through music before succumbing to the dangers of street life. Shakur's legacy remains shrouded in mystery and contradiction. His last Grammy nomination came posthumously in 1999 for the song “Changes,” providing a fitting retread into his earlier days as a thoughtful provocateur.

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Dave Kotinsky // Getty Images for BET

#46. Tamia Hill

- Nominations: 6
- Most recent nomination: 2012

With a career spanning two decades, Canadian singer-songwriter Tamia Hill (better-known as Tamia) is no stranger to comebacks. Her 2012 song “Beautiful Surprise” was her first big hit in six years.

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Rich Fury // Getty Images for iHeartMedia

#45. Billie Eilish

- Nominations: 6
- Most recent nomination: 2019

For some entries on this list, it isn't entirely fair to highlight that they have not yet won a Grammy, as they are relatively young in their careers. Soon-to-be 18-year-old Billie Eilish, who started her career with the 2017 EP “Don’t Smile at Me,” is an example. However, her 2019 debut studio album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” has impressed critics and fans in the U.S. and abroad.

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Leon Halip // Getty Images

#44. Brothers Osborne

- Nominations: 6
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Despite hitting number 2 on the Billboard Country Airplay charts, the Brothers Osborne has struggled to gain positive attention with the Grammy selection committees. Their single, “Stay a Little Longer,” may break the trend, as it is the pair’s best performing track to date.

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Ryan Pierse // Getty Images)

#43. Khalid

- Nominations: 6
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Hit singer Khalid Robinson burst onto the R&B scene in 2017 with “Location,” a song he released while still a senior in high school. All five of Khalid's Grammy nods were for work released in 2017 in connection with his debut album “American Teen.” His follow-up album “Suncity” was well-received when it was released in 2018, but failed to pick up any nominations.

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Ethan Miller // Getty Images

#42. Lana Del Rey

- Nominations: 6
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Lana Del Rey is a very controversial persona in American music. While few can deny the magnitude and theatric quality of her sound, many feel that her sudden shift from Lizzie Grant to Del Rey reflects a studio re-packing of the artist and a complete abandonment of authenticity. Yet, it is undeniable that her sad sound has redefined pop, with many artists—including Taylor Swift—becoming loyal fans of the "Summertime Sadness" singer.

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Steve Jennings // Getty Images for iHeartMedia

#41. Lil Nas X

- Nominations: 6
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Lil Nas X is a trailblazer. His single “Old Town Road” achieved Diamond Certification (10 million combined sales and streams) and reached the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 with an entry from the niche genre of country rap was not without its controversies. The only open LGBTQ+ artist to win an award from the CMAs, it is likely that Lil Nas X will grace the Grammy stage sooner than later.

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Tabatha Fireman // Getty Images

#40. Post Malone

- Nominations: 6
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Post Malone, born in Syracuse, N.Y., and raised in Grapevine, Texas, defies labels. A rapper that does not believe he raps, Post Malone has referred to his own music as “genre-less.” Those that follow his music, such as his track “Sunflower” from the “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” soundtrack, finds that it resonates with energy and soul, but also has an embraceable folksy quality to it. This lack of a clear definition, however, has left some in the music industry at unease about Post Malone.

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Cultureinject // Wikimedia Commons

#39. En Vogue

- Nominations: 7
- Most recent nomination: 1996

Hailed as one of the best female vocalist groups of all time, En Vogue debuted in 1990 and enjoyed a meteoric rise, peaking in 1996 with their third single, “Don't Let Go (Love).” In 1997, they released their third album, “EV3.” It sold well and earned a Grammy nomination, but also represented a drop in momentum from which the group never completely recovered.

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EBASTIEN BOZON/AFP // Getty Images

#38. Queens of the Stone Age

- Nominations: 7
- Most recent nomination: 2017

Formed in the mid-‘90s, California outfit Queens of the Stone Age are known for heavy riffs and occasional collaborations with fellow rockers like Dave Grohl. “Villains,” the band's most recent release, was nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award, but the band went home empty-handed.

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Craig Barritt // Getty Images for Something in the Water

#37. Travis Scott

- Nominations: 7
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Self-releasing his first mixtape in 2013, Travis Scott broke onto the scene. With "Rodeo," his first studio album—his third release—Scott was well-received by the hip-hop community. His single “Sicko Mode” from his third studio album, "Astroworld," earned his first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2018. Scott is a favorite to win a Grammy in 2020.

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Kevin Winter // Getty Images

#36. Avril Lavigne

- Nominations: 8
- Most recent nomination: 2003

Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne was just 16 years old when she signed a two-album deal with Arista Records. What followed was a wildly successful string of hits, amounting to more than 40 million albums sold by 2013. Lavigne's infectious pop-punk sensibilities have earned her plenty of acclaim, as well as her fair share of awards, but no Grammy.

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Ethan Miller // Getty Images

#35. Backstreet Boys

- Nominations: 8
- Most recent nomination: 2018

At the height of the boy band craze came the Backstreet Boys, a group of five singers and dancers who churned out hit after hit. In 1998, they received a key to the city of Orlando, Florida., where they were first discovered. They also have multiple Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, and MTV Video Awards. Despite these accolades, the band has yet to add a Grammy to their haul. All this may change in this upcoming award season as the band is nominated in the Best Pop Duo/Group category for “Don't Go Breaking My Heart.”

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Raph_PH // Flickr

#34. Janelle Monaé

- Nominations: 8
- Most recent nomination: 2018

Acclaimed actress and singer Janelle Monáe is no stranger to the Grammy Awards. In 2008, she received her first nomination, for Best R&B Performance, and together with Bruno Mars made her stage debut at the show in 2011. Her latest album “Dirty Computer” and music video “PYNK” are both up for honors; this could be the year the multi-talented performer adds a Grammy to the Screen Actors Guild Award she won in 2017 for her work in the 2017 film “Hidden Figures.”

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Terry Wyatt // Getty Images for Musicians On Call

#33. Blake Shelton

- Nominations: 8
- Most recent nomination: 2019

While Blake Shelton today is better known for his role as a judge on NBC’s hit “The Voice,” he is also a highly prolific country artist who holds the record for the most consecutive #1 singles on the Billboard Country Airplay charts. Among a few other artists on this list, Shelton’s eight previous Grammy nominations without a win feels like an oversight that deserves to be addressed.

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Lisa Lake // Getty Images for iHeartMedia

#32. Lizzo

- Nominations: 8
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Minneapolis-based rapper Lizzo did not take off until her third studio album “Cuz I Love You,” but since, she has yet to land. Her 2017 single “Truth Hurts” hit the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2019, and the deluxe version of “Cuz I Love You” is a strong favorite in the upcoming award show (Album of the Year, Urban Contemporary Album).

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Matteo Chinellato // Shutterstock

#31. Sia

- Nominations: 9
- Most recent nomination: 2017

Besides recording her own popular music, Australian singer-songwriter Sia pens hit singles for fellow artists like Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Beyoncé. According to legend, it took Sia all of 14 minutes to write Rihanna's hit song “Diamonds." As if all that wasn't enough, Sia is also an acclaimed video director and performance artist.

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Janette Pellegrini // Getty Images for BWR-PR)

#30. Alice in Chains

- Nominations: 9
- Most recent nomination: 2018

Seattle grunge rockers Alice in Chains have racked up nine Grammy nominations since Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney formed the band back in 1987. Shortlisted for Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal for the single “Man In The Box” in 1992, the band left the awards ceremony empty-handed. With “Rainier Fog” up for Best Rock Album this year, Alice in Chain's 28-year losing streak may finally end.

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Christopher Polk // Getty Images for NARAS

#29. SZA

- Nominations: 9
- Most recent nomination: 2018

Growing up in the ‘90s, R&B singer SZA had a fondness for Drew Barrymore films such as "Never Been Kissed" and "Poison Ivy." That might help explain the dual themes of whimsical nostalgia and aggressive sexuality that frequently permeate her songs. SZA raked in five nominations in 2017 but failed to clinch a single win. Nominated for four more awards this year in connection with her most recent release, “All The Stars,” SZA may triumph yet.

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Jason Kempin // Getty Images

#28. Eric Church

- Nominations: 9
- Most recent nomination: 2019

CMT Award winner Eric Church has been topping the country charts with singles like “Drink in My Hand” and “The Only Way I Know.” Credited as giving Taylor Swift her big break, Church has been a mainstay in country music for nearly 15 years. Church’s latest album, “Desperate Man,” was released in 2018.

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Stuart C. Wilson // Getty Images for MTV

#27. Nicki Minaj

- Nominations: 10
- Most recent nomination: 2015

Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj hit the Billboard #1 spot with her debut 2010 album “Pink Friday,” and has been a pop culture mainstay ever since. Besides her slew of Grammy nominations, Minaj was the inspiration for a limited-edition Barbie Doll auctioned off for charity.

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Bill Ebbesen // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Wiz Khalifa

- Nominations: 10
- Most recent nomination: 2015

Cameron Jibril Thomaz, better known as Wiz Khalifa, once claimed to spend $10,000 a month on marijuana. That didn't stop his native city of Pittsburgh from declaring Dec. 12, 2012, “Wiz Khalifa Day,” however. Wiz Khalifa has recorded tons of hit songs, earning him 10 Grammy nominations.

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Peterappelros // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Elly Ameling

- Nominations: 11
- Most recent nomination: 1990

Most of those tuning in to watch the Grammys aren't watching for the classical categories. For that reason alone, Elly Ameling may not ring a bell. However, the Dutch soprano carved out a highly respectable career, recording more than 150 albums of classical works. Ameling was knighted in the Netherlands in 1971.

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John Lamparski // Getty Images for Sheen Center for Thought & Culture

#24. Vanessa L. Williams

- Nominations: 11
- Most recent nomination: 1997

One has to remember deeply to recall that Vanessa L. Williams—the first African American to win the Miss America crown—was an acclaimed singer. An actress, television personality, and fashion mogul, her 1988 debut album, “The Right Stuff,” paled in comparison to her follow-up albums, “The Comfort Zone” (1991) and “The Sweetest days” (1994), which saw critical and popular acclaim. With her last album, "The Real Thing," released in 2009, Williams is largely retired from music.

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Cliff // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Connie Smith

- Nominations: 11
- Most recent nomination: 2010

Country legend Connie Smith may not rank alongside contemporaries like Lynn Anderson or Dolly Parton, but that's not for lack of talent or success—quite the opposite, in fact. Smith has enjoyed a long and rewarding career with plenty of awards and 11 Grammy nominations to show for it.

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bioneers // Flickr

#22. R. Carlos Nakai

- Nominations: 11
- Most recent nomination: 2014

If you're into yoga or meditation, there's a reasonable chance you've heard R. Carlos Nakai without even knowing it. The revered Native American flutist is a veritable institution in the genres of New Age and instrumental. In 1989, Nakai released “The Canyon Trilogy,” a trio of works that became the only Native American albums to achieve platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America.

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Pixabay

#21. J. Cole

- Nominations: 11
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Before he was a best-selling rapper and sought-after producer, J. Cole worked at an ice skating rink, where he would occasionally don a kangaroo mascot costume. It all just goes to show that every dream has to start somewhere. Cole's 2018 album “KOD” went platinum in December, yet received no Grammy nods. Cole, however, isn't necessarily out of luck in this year's awards. Collaborative work has earned Cole two nominations: Best R&B Song for “Come Through and Chill” with Miguel, and “Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Pretty Little Fears” with 6lack.

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Lenny Gomulka

#20. Lenny Gomulka

- Nominations: 12
- Most recent nomination: 2006

Not only has polka artist Lenny Gomulka racked up 12 Grammy Award nominations throughout his career, but he also penned “Say Hello to Someone in Massachusetts,” the Bay State's official polka song.

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MICHELE CROSERA/AFP // Getty Images)

#19. Keith Jarrett

- Nominations: 12
- Most recent nomination: 2010

A prodigy, jazz pianist Keith Jarrett started playing the piano before he was 3 years old. He received his first nomination in 1971 for Best Jazz Performance By A Group and his last in 2010 for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. Unfortunately, Jarrett was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 1996, forcing him to curtail his career.

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Lipstar & Frederic Lippe (Fred Production) // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Busta Rhymes

- Nominations: 12
- Most recent nomination: 2011

Rapper Busta Rhymes, born Trevor George Smith Jr., made sure his music stayed raw in the ‘90s. These days, he's expanded his horizons with occasional guest appearances on shows like “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Master of None,” and serving as inspiration for a small island named after him. Busta Rhymes' most recent Grammy nomination was for a guest appearance in Chris Brown's song “Look at Me Now.”

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Rick Kern // Getty Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation

#17. Diana Ross

- Nominations: 12
- Most recent nomination: 2012

As a founding member of The Supremes and an indisputably successful solo artist, Diana Ross may seem like a shoo-in at any given Grammy Awards ceremony. Nevertheless, she's a 12-time runner-up. To make up for such blatant oversight, Ross was honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

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Jamie Lamor Thompson // Shutterstock

#16. Ledisi

- Nominations: 12
- Most recent nomination: 2017

Soulful songstress Ledisi Young received her first two Grammy nominations in 2007 for Best R&B Album and Best New Artist. She's scored additional nominations since then but has yet to walk away with an award. A prodigious talent with a loyal following, Ledisi turned her talents to the silver screen, playing Mahalia Jackson in the 2014 Oscar-winning film “Selma.”

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Jamie Lamor Thompson // Shutterstock

#15. Jazmine Sullivan

- Nominations: 12
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Jazmine Sullivan's music is heavily influenced by jazz and reggae. The young singer-songwriter broke through in 2008 with the Missy Elliot-produced single “Need U Bad,” which rapidly soared to #1 on the Billboard charts. Jazmine's last string of Grammy nominations came in 2015.

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Thoughtmatters // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Spyro Gyra

- Nominations: 13
- Most recent nomination: 2009

Jazz fusion outfit Spyro Gyra has over 30 albums to its name, but no Grammy wins to-date. The band still tours after 40 years and occasionally records—meaning hope isn't entirely lost.

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Noam Galai // Getty Images

#13. Nas

- Nominations: 13
- Most recent nomination: 2012

Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones won the rap world over with his 1994 debut, “Illmatic.” Over the years, Nas has engaged in feuds with artists like Jay-Z, married and divorced singer-songwriter Kelis, and earned 13 Grammy Award nominations.

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Adam Bettcher // Getty Images for iHeartMedia

#12. Katy Perry

- Nominations: 13
- Most recent nomination: 2014

Katy Perry's 2008 hit single “I Kissed A Girl” launched a meteoric pop career that's still going strong. Assuming she keeps those continual hits coming, Perry's 13 Grammy Award nominations could increase soon, along with her chances of winning.

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Marcus Ingram // Getty Images for BET)

#11. Musiq Soulchild

- Nominations: 13
- Most recent nomination: 2018

With a career spanning 20 years, Musiq Soulchild continues to seduce audiences with elements of funk, blues, jazz, gospel, and hip-hop. The artist's 2017 release, “Feel the Real,” was nominated for Best R&B Album but failed to take the prize.

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Keith Tsuji // Getty Images for Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

#10. Toshiko Akiyoshi

- Nominations: 14
- Most recent nomination: 1994

Now 89 years old, Japanese jazz pianist and bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi first appeared on vinyl in 1954 and released about one album per year in the decades that followed. Along the way, Akiyoshi racked up plenty of acclaim and 14 Grammy Award nominations.

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Disney | ABC Television Group // Flickr

#9. Martina McBride

- Nominations: 14
- Most recent nomination: 2011

Martina McBride developed her passion for country music singing in her father's band as a child, the beginning of a long and fruitful career that saw McBride tackle a range of themes and styles with consistent success. Through her music and her charitable endeavors, McBride has been a tireless and pivotal figure in the fight against domestic violence.

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Jason Kempin // Getty Images

#8. Dierks Bentley

- Nominations: 14
- Most recent nomination: 2016

Dierks Bentley's first Grammy Award nominations came in 2006 for his top-selling track “Every Mile A Memory.” The popular country singer has garnered 12 more nominations since, the most recent of which came in 2016.

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Rebecca Sapp // Getty Images for The Recording Academy

#7. Tanya Tucker

- Nominations: 14
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Tanya Tucker is special in the world of country music. One of the few child musicians to transition successfully into adult stardom, Tucker started regularly performing at the age of 11. While her career has been marked by difficulties, Tucker is still seen today as a key part of the outlaw country scene.

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Vtpeters // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Joe Satriani

- Nominations: 15
- Most recent nomination: 2007

If rock fans aren't readily familiar with guitar legend Joe Satriani, it's because he doesn't write hit singles. Accordingly, most of Satriani's 15 Grammy Award nominations fall in the category of Best Rock Instrumental Performance. And while he does indeed shred his guitar with gusto, he's also no stranger to catchy melodies: Just ask Coldplay.

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Santiago Felipe // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Björk

- Nominations: 15
- Most recent nomination: 2018

While Icelandic singer Björk has always been synonymous with eccentricity and experimentation, she's delivered a surprising amount of accessible work over the years. Early albums like “Homogenic” were rife with catchy hooks and electronic textures. Björk' is nominated for Best Alternative Music Album for “Utopia" this year.

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Giorgio Perottino // Getty Images for OGR

#4. Fred Hersch

- Nominations: 15
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch's first Grammy nod was a nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, which came in 1993, and was followed by two more in 1995 and 2006. Hersch rebounded from health issues in 2008 with eight more Grammy nominations. Shortlisted this year for both Best Improvised Jazz Solo and Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Hersch may still walk away with a win.

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Jamie McCarthy // Getty Images for STARZ

#3. Snoop Dogg

- Nominations: 16
- Most recent nomination: 2015

Snoop Dogg has remained a pop culture icon for over two decades. These days you're just as likely to find the rapper hosting game shows or throwing dinner parties with Martha Stewart as you are to see him performing music.

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Emma McIntyre // Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night

#2. Brian McKnight

- Nominations: 17
- Most recent nomination: 2004

Known primarily as an R&B crooner, Brian McKnight is also a multi-instrumentalist, writer, and producer. Raised a Seventh-day Adventist, McKnight frequently infuses religious themes into his work, and as of late, those themes dominate. His last Grammy Award nomination, meanwhile, came in 2004 for the song “What We Do Here.”

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Frazer Harrison // Getty Images

#1. Morten Lindberg

- Nominations: 28
- Most recent nomination: 2019

Morten Lindberg tops the list of artists most frequently disappointed at the Grammy Awards. Lindberg is a revered Norwegian producer and sound engineer, and founder of record label 2L, which specializes in high fidelity classical recordings. This year Lindberg has been nominated for Best Immersive Audio Album twice, for “Folktoner” and “Sommerro: Ujamaa & The Iceberg.”

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