Sometimes, pop and country music is meant to be together.
When it comes to the Grammys, pop culture fans know that the star-studded award show always brings unexpected guests together.
But in recent years, artists from two different genres have been creating some music magic that cannot be ignored.
When Sunday night comes around, many eyes will be on a few important categories to see if pop and country music artists come out on top.
For starters, the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance nomination features the talented pairing of Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton‘s “Say Something.” At the same time, Zedd and Maren Morris‘ hit song “The Middle” may just earn themselves a trophy.
It’s just two examples of artists from different genres coming together to make some unforgettable hits.
“We’re an unlikely pair, but because it fit the song so well, it was a great marriage of genres,” Maren previously shared with Billboard when discussing the track. “The Grammys are known for these unlikely Grammy Moment collaborations, so to have a song that really represented what the Grammys are about is really full circle.”
While you may correlate Nashville with Maren—whose new album GIRL is available March 8—and Las Vegas nightlife with Zedd, both artists aren’t completely surprised that the match worked. Besides, streaming has changed the way consumers discover new music and explore various genres.
“People being able to just switch straight to the next song if they don’t like it, there’s not this barrier anymore because you’re not selling a song to somebody,” Zedd explained to Billboard. “You can just mix genres however you want. If people don’t like it, they can listen to something else cause, thanks to streaming, they basically own all songs.”
If you’re thinking these collaborations are extremely difficult to nail down, you may want to hear how Chris and Justin came together.
As it turns out, the pair met up in Los Angeles to write some songs. What came next were a few words that inspired one of the biggest hits of 2018.
“It’s a very fluid process with him,” Chris previously shared with Billboard. “He was like ‘All right, you hop in there and take a verse’ and I’m like, ‘You want me to do what?’…It came out great. I had a blast with him. He’s a great creative force and one of those guys that if you get a chance to work with him, you should.”
Another category music fans will be watching extra carefully is the Best Country Duo/Group Performance. Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha teamed up to create “Meant to Be.”
The track recently claimed the record for the longest-ruling No. 1 in the history of Billboard‘s Hot Country Song Charts. The song it beat? Sam Hunt‘s crazy catchy tune “Body Like a Back Road.”
“I think this song has a really powerful, universal message that fans are connecting with,” Tyler Hubbard previously shared with E! News. “It shows me that this song is anointed by the best writer there is, the Lord. With every unexpected surprise in the ‘Meant to Be’ story, God was showing himself to be stronger than any tradition or genre.”
While this year’s show may have more pop and country collaborations than ever before, it’s not exactly a new thing in the industry.
Brad Paisley and Demi Lovato found huge success when they teamed up for “Without a Fight.” Chris Lane and Tori Kelly created a massive hit thanks to “Take Back Home Girl.”
And at the 2017 Grammys, Kenny Chesney and Pink were nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance thanks to their hit “Setting the World on Fire.”
“To me, great songs are great songs regardless of genre—and the core of being alive is the same no matter where you are,” Kenny once shared in a statement to Rolling Stone about the song. “That rush of realizing there’s something going on here, you’re really clicking with someone, or even just one of those perfect nights with your friends—there’s no feeling like it.”
Perhaps that’s the magic music fans can look forward to in the months and years to come. After all, Florida Georgia Line just teamed up for a song with Jason Derulo titled “Women.” Spoiler alert: It’s already getting radio airplay across the country.
Smells like a hit, y’all!