R+B star Mariah Carey, rapper Kanye West and soul singer John Legend lead the nominations for next year's (06) Grammy Awards, picking up eight nods each.

The HONEY singer, 35, is up for Album Of The Year for her best-selling disc The Emancipation Of Mimi, while her ballad WE BELONG TOGETHER is up for Song Of The Year (Songwriting) and Record Of The Year.

West is nominated for Album Of The Year for Late Registration, Best Rap Solo Performance for GOLD DIGGER and Best Rap Song for DIAMONDS FROM SIERRA LEONE.

Meanwhile, Legend has been nominated for Song Of The Year for Ordinary People and Best New Artist.

Following close behind the urban stars are 50 CENT, Beyonce Knowles, Stevie Wonder and Black Eyed Peas rapper WILL.I.AM with six nods apiece, while Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Gwen Stefani are named in five categories each.

Carey gushes, "This year has been such a blessing. This is prayers answered. I'm grateful for the nominations and I'm really grateful for the fact that people are responding to the music I've made."

Legend says, "I feel incredible. You put a lot of expectations into what you want the record to be."

The winners in the Grammys' 108 categories will be announced at a star-studded ceremony at Los Angeles' Staples Center on 8 February (05).