Maine native Amy Allen has been nominated for a Grammy award. Photo by Caity Krone

Maine’s Amy Allen was nominated Tuesday for a Grammy Award in the new category of songwriter of the year.

She’ll find out if she won on Feb. 5, during a live broadcast of the Grammy Awards on CBS.

Allen, who grew up in Windham and South Portland, has gained a reputation during the past five years as one of the more prolific and successful songwriters in the contemporary music business, having written or co-written songs for such pop stars as Halsey, Selena Gomez, Shawn Mendes and Harry Styles.

The songwriter of the year nominations were announced via livestream shortly after noon, by music legend Smokey Robinson.

“I’m honestly without words, but I’ve always dreamt of being nominated for a Grammy in any capacity, so this nomination in particular is just unimaginable for me. For so long, songwriters have been the unseen engine behind the music industry, so for the Grammys to add this category is just a massive, historical win for songwriters everywhere,” Allen said Tuesday in an email to the Press Herald.

Allen went on to express her gratitude to her manager, Gabz Landman, her family, Maine music producer Charlie Gaylord and her “first true mentor and teacher,” Carter Logan of the Maine bluegrass group Jerks of Grass.


Allen was nominated on the strength of a slew of songs she worked on that were released in the past year or so, including “Matilda,” by Styles; “If You Love Me,” by Lizzo; “Heartbeat,” by Mendes; “Move Me,” by Charli XCX; “Vicious” by Sabrina Carpenter; “My Mind and Me,” by Gomez; “10:35,” by Tiesto and Tate McRae; “For My Friends,” “Dotted Lines” and “Too Bad,” by King Princess; and “If We Were A Party,” “The Hardest Part” and “Magic Wand,” by Alexander23.

When “Matilda” was released in the spring, Rolling Stone called it “a heartbreak masterpiece.”

The other nominees in the category are Nija Charles, Tobias Jesso Jr., The-Dream and Laura Veltz. Veltz has worked on several songs recorded by Demi Lovato, Charles’ recent work includes songs by Beyonce and Megan Thee Stallion, Jesso has written for Harry Styles and Marcus Mumford, and The-Dream has written songs for Beyonce, Jay Z and others.

An October article in the show business publication Variety named Allen among the pop songwriters who could potentially be nominated for songwriter of the year, based on their output and stature in the business. The nominees were picked from a list of 62 eligible writers.

Around the same time she was listed as a potential nominee, Allen posted on Instagram and Facebook about how excited she was that the Grammy Awards had chosen to annually recognize songwriters.


“Truly grateful for everyone who made this happen, and beyond excited for all future songwriters that this now exists,” Allen wrote. “I have worked and learned from more than half the people on this list of writers, so thank you to all of my friends who constantly make me a better person and songwriter, I love you.”

The songwriter Grammy award “recognizes the written excellence, profession and art of songwriting, honoring the most prolific non-performing and non-producing songwriters for their body of new work,” according to the Grammy website.

The Grammy Awards added the songwriter category – officially called songwriter of the year, non-classical – this year along with four other new awards: best alternative music performance, best Americana performance, best score soundtrack for video games and other interactive media, and best spoken word poetry album.

Allen, a 2010 graduate of Waynflete School in Portland, played on her own and in a band before moving to Los Angeles about five years ago to work as a songwriter. She soon co-wrote several hits, including “Without Me” by Halsey, which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop music chart in early 2019. She also co-wrote the radio hit “Back to You” by Selena Gomez, which was on the soundtrack of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”

She continued performing as well, and in 2019, she was signed as an artist to Warner Records and has released several singles plus the EP “AWW!” Her 2020 track “Queen of Silver Linings” has more than 4.5 million streams on Spotify, and the video for “A Woman’s World” has been viewed more than 900,000 times on YouTube since its release last fall.

The two engineers at Portland’s Gateway Mastering Studios, who have won more than a dozen Grammy awards between them and have worked on many other Grammy-nominated recordings, were nominated again Tuesday.

Adam Ayan was nominated in the category of best engineered album, non-classical, for his work on “Chloe and the Next 20th Century” by Father John Misty. Bob Ludwig was nominated in the category of best historical album for his work on “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition)” by Wilco.

The work of Maine musician Dave Gutter, lead singer of Rustic Overtones, also was recognized Tuesday. The song “Stompin’ Ground” by Aaron Neville with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band was nominated for best American roots performance. It was co-written by Neville, Gutter and Eric Krasno.

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