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5 surprising people nominated for Grammy awards (including a mega-preacher and couple presidents)

The trophy of the Grammy Awards in Los AThe trophy of the Grammy Awards in Los A

The 57th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony takes place on Sunday. Everybody who’s anybody in the world of popular music will be there, eager to discover whether “Shake It Off” is indeed a finer song than “All About That Bass.”

Whoever wins on Sunday night, it’s a safe bet none of them possesses any the real-world know-how necessary to cut it in the executive world.

Or is it?

Numerous Grammy nominees have executive experience on their impressive resumes, and we’re not just talking about king-making music industry brass like Clive Davis or Herb Alpert. Several famous executives have been nominated for the statuette, and a few of them have even taken one (or two) home.

Jimmy Carter

As the 39th president of the United States, Jimmy Carter served only one term. But when it comes to Grammy nominations, the former chief executive of both the United States and the state of Georgia has racked ’em up, with no less than six separate spoken word nominations to his credit since 1997.

For a decade, it seemed as though he would forever be a Grammy bridesmaid, never a bride. However, that changed in 2007, when he took home the Best Spoken Word Album prize for his audiobook, “Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis.”

T.D. Jakes

Bishop T.D. Jakes is CEO and founder of TDJ Enterprises, a Christian media and entertainment company that offers “premium inspirational products,” according to its website. Its content can be found on television, at the bookstore and on the web, among other platforms.

As if that’s not enough, Jakes was also nominated for – and won — a Grammy award. The statuette glistening on his mantelpiece is from the Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album category, for 2003’s “A Wing and a Prayer.”

Barack Obama

U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (R) poses with his Grammy awarded to him by Grammy President Neil Portnow during a “Grammys on the Hill” event on Capitol Hill in Washington September 6, 2006. REUTERS/Molly Riley (UNITED STATES) – RTR1H1UF

You may have heard of one Barack Obama. Since January 2009 he’s been the 44th President of the United States and leader of the free world. All fine and good, but did he ever get nominated for a Grammy? As it turns out, yes.

Obama was nominated twice and won twice. In February 2008, he won the best spoken word Grammy for the audiobook version of “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.”  This was two years after winning the same prize in 2006 for “Dreams From My Father.”

Jon Stewart

Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, better known as Jon Stewart, is host of Comedy Central’s satirical news program, “The Daily Show.” He has also served as its executive producer, as well as executive producer of “The Colbert Report” and “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.”

Stewart is also a two-time Grammy winner. In 2004 he won the Best Comedy Album award for “America: A Citizen’s Guide To Democracy Inaction,” and in 2010 he won the Best Spoken Word Album award for “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Audiobook).

Chandrika Tandon

If you go to Chandrika Tandon’s LinkedIn page, it lists her as CEO of Soul Chants Music. However, before any of that ever happened, she was the founder of the financial advisory firm Tandon Capital Associates.

In 2011, she was nominated for a Contemporary World Music Grammy award for her album “Soul Call.” She lost, sadly, but she didn’t let that slow her down — and in 2013, she released the album “Soul March.”


Daniel Bukszpan is a New York-based freelance writer.