Window of opportunityWednesday, May 05, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
THE Best Reggae Album category of the Grammy Awards will not be affected by the latest amendments to the nomination process as announced by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science (NARAS), the organising body of the annual event.
However, there are benefits which could be derived for local artistes.
That's the word from academy member and music industry insider Cristy Barber, who said that the reggae category was never subject to the nomination committee which is what has been generating all the buzz in recent days.
“The truth is this never affected us. The Reggae Grammy is voted on by all the members of the academy. This category which is of most interest to Jamaicans did not come under this ruling by the Grammy organisation and therefore abolishing it now means nothing to us,” Barber told the Jamaica Observer.
Last Friday, the academy announced changes to its awards process which it said reflect its ongoing commitment to evolve with the musical landscape and to ensure that the Grammy Awards rules and guidelines are transparent and equitable. Among the changes are the elimination of nominations review committees, a reduction in the number of categories in which voters may vote, and two category additions. These updates are a result of extensive discussions and collaboration over the course of the last year amongst a special sub-committee of Recording Academy members and elected leaders, and were voted on by the academy's board of trustees. These changes go into effect immediately for the 64th awards set to take place on January 31, 2022.
Barber noted that the local acts could, however, benefit from the other changes which included the new categories Best Global Music Performance (Global Music Field) and Best Música Urbana Album (Latin Music Field), as collaborations with artistes in genres such as Afrobeats, soca and reggaeton now have a wider field to be nominated.
She added that the reduction in the number of categories in which an academy member can vote could work in the favour of the reggae artiste.
“Now that members can only vote in 10 categories, down from 15, I hope this frees up our category a little bit. I feel a lot of people who were voting for the Best Reggae Album category were not persons from our industry. Now that they have been limited I believe it will stop them from voting, so hopefully there will be more of us,” said Barber.
The academy noted that this amendment in particular serves to ensure that music creators are voting in the categories in which they are most knowledgeable and qualified. Those 10 categories must be within no more than three fields. All voters are permitted to vote in the four general field categories: Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist.
“It's been a year of unprecedented, transformational change for the Recording Academy, and I'm immensely proud to be able to continue our journey of growth with these latest updates to our awards process,” said Harvey Mason Jr, chair and interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy.
“This is a new academy, one that is driven to action and that has doubled down on the commitment to meeting the needs of the music community. While change and progress are key drivers of our actions, one thing will always remain — the Grammy Award is the only peer-driven and peer-voted recognition in music. We are honoured to work alongside the music community year round to further refine and protect the integrity of the awards process,” he added.
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