LOS ANGELES - Despite the fact they've been in headlines for a year, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis still called their seven new Grammy Awards nominations "surreal." Announced on Friday night (Dec. 6), the nods were for honors including Album of the Year ("The Heist") and Song of the Year ("Same Love" feat. Mary Lambert).

"[The award nominations] feels very, very, very, surreal. It's never gonna feel normal," Macklemore said backstage at "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!" show at the Nokia in L.A. The two had opened up the hour-long show, but still felt like they were "sneaking onto red carpets... This is the pinnacle of the awards. If we got to bring home one [Grammy] award, it would be a lifelong achievement for both of us. It's something we never ever thought was possible when we made this album."

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have been vocal anti-discrimination personalities since they've been in the spotlight. Perhaps that prompted a member of the press to ask about their reaction to the passing of Nelson Mandela. Macklemore said he spent time studying up on the South African Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist and former president. "I left emotional," he said, calling Mandela a "brilliant man and a hero."

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are likely to perform at and attend the Grammy Awards on Jan. 26 in 2014.

Check out all the nominations here.

Read a summary of the other biggest nominees here.

Here are our thoughts on the surprises and snubs of the nominations.