Smith, 22, picked up five nods including the top awards Record of the Year for his song "Stay with Me" and the coveted Best New Artist award, alongside Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, British pop-rockers Bastille, country singer Brandy Clark and California sister trio Haim.
Record of the Year nominees also include Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off," Meghan Trainor's catchy summer anthem "All About That Bass," Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX's "Fancy" and Sia's "Chandelier."
Smith also picked up nominations in Song of the Year, for "Stay with Me," and best Pop Vocal Album nod for "In the Lonely Hour." Song of the Year contenders also include Swift's "Shake it Off," Trainor's "All About That Bass" and Sia's "Chandelier," alongside Hozier's "Take Me to the Church."
Beyonce, 33, landed key nominations in the R&B category, including best R&B performance and best R&B song for her steamy single "Drunk in Love" featuring rapper husband Jay Z. Her self-titled album, released suddenly without fanfare last December and one of this year's biggest-selling records, was nominated for best urban contemporary album.
With a total of 51 nominations throughout her music career, Beyonce has now become the most-nominated artist in Grammy history, passing producer David Foster.
Swift's "1989" album, which has sold more than 2 million copies since its October release, didn't land any nominations although its title song "Shake it Off" picked up three nods.
The final Album of the Year category, the top Grammy, will be announced at a televised "A Very Grammy Christmas" concert airing late Friday on CBS.
The Recording Academy comprises music industry professionals who select artists and music released between Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014.
In an effort to draw younger viewers to the annual Grammys ceremony, which will be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 2015, the Recording Academy chose to announce the nominees in 82 categories throughout Friday morning on its Twitter feed.
Dierks Bentley's "Riser," Eric Church's "The Outsiders," Clark's "12 Stories," Miranda Lambert's "Platinum" and Lee Ann Womack's "The Way I'm Livin'" will compete for best country album. Church and Lambert landed four Grammy nods each.