By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British soul-pop artist Sam Smith, R&B star Beyonce and singer-producer Pharrell Williams led artists with six Grammy nominations each, including nods for the top prize of Album of the Year, the Recording Academy said Friday.
Smith's "In the Lonely Hour," Beyonce's self-titled album and Pharrell's "Girl" joined rocker Beck's "Morning Phase" and British singer Ed Sheeran's "X" in the Album of the Year category, announced during the CBS broadcast of "A Very Grammy Christmas" concert late Friday.
Smith, 22, picked up nods in the three top Grammy categories including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for his song "Stay with Me." He follows in the heels of fellow British soul-pop singer Adele, who won all six of her Grammy nominations in 2013 including the top three awards.
Smith is a contender for the coveted Best New Artist, alongside Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, British pop-rockers Bastille, country singer Brandy Clark and California sister trio Haim.
Record of the Year nominees include Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off," Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass," Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX's "Fancy" and Sia's "Chandelier."
Song of the Year also includes Swift's "Shake it Off," Trainor's "All About That Bass" and Sia's "Chandelier," alongside Hozier's "Take Me to the Church."
Pharrell, 41, earned Grammy nominations for his own album "Girl" and his production work on Sheeran's "X" and Beyonce's self-titled record.
Beyonce, 33, became the most-nominated artist in Grammy history with 52 nominations. Her self-titled album, released without fanfare last December, is one of this year's biggest-selling records with 2 million U.S. copies sold.
Swift's "1989" album, which has sold more than 2 million U.S. copies since October, did not land any nominations, but its song "Shake It Off" picked up three nods.
The soundtrack from Disney's Oscar-winning film "Frozen," the year's top-selling album with more than 3.5 million U.S. copies sold, scored nominations in the categories for music written for visual media.
The Recording Academy comprises music industry professionals who select Grammy contenders from music released between Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014.
In an effort to draw younger viewers to the annual Grammys ceremony in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 2015, the Recording Academy chose to announce the nominees in 82 of its 83 categories throughout Friday morning on its Twitter feed.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Mary Milliken, Grant McCool, James Dalgleish and Lisa Shumaker)