AJR is nominated in two categories at this year’s American Music Awards: Favorite Rock Artist and Favorite Pop Duo or Group. For a band that’s always straddling between different genres, being nominated as both a rock and pop act actually makes perfect sense to the Met brothers.
“I think that’s always been our mindset of trying to stay between two lines of pop and alternative or whatever it is,” Ryan Met tells ABC Audio. “We’ve always tried to stay in our own lane and keep our head down and be, like, ‘OK, what do we wanna do?,’ separate from the way the music industry sounds.”
He adds, “Honestly, it’s the coolest compliment we could get that we’re nominated for pop and rock.”
As with any award that AJR’s been up for, Ryan says he’s just surprised to be recognized at all.
“We’re constantly in a state of, ‘We don’t deserve to be anywhere,'” he shares. “It’s always crazy to get any kind of recognition for any song or what we’re doing.”
Between the two categories, AJR will compete with everyone from Foo Fighters to BTS, the latter of whom Ryan refers to as the “biggest band on planet Earth.”
Award shows also allow for the opportunity to meet some of the most legendary musicians, like when AJR had a conversation with Elton John at a recent ceremony.
“[Elton] goes, ‘Your collaboration with Justin Bieber was incredible this year!'” Ryan recalls. “Then he goes, ‘Yeah, what you guys have done for country music is just incredible!’ And so we realized he thought we were Dan + Shay, the country band.”
Ryan laughs, “We ended up taking the compliment and just being like, ‘Thank you so much!'”
The 2021 AMAs will air Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.