The Weeknd declared that he does not trust The Grammys. In 2020, the artist called The Grammy organizers “corrupt”. His album “After Hours” failed to receive a single nomination yet it excelled well in the world of music. He said there are “secret committees” who dictate the shortlisted nominees.
The Recording Academy announced they had been scrapped on Saturday. However, The Weeknd says that is not enough.
In an interview with Variety, he said, “The trust has been broken for so long between the Grammy organisation and artists that it would be unwise to raise a victory flag.”
Abel Tesfaye, popularly known as The Weeknd won three Grammys previously. However, he said the move was made to dissolve the committees.
“The industry and public alike need to see the transparent system truly at play for the win to be celebrated. I remain uninterested in being a part of the Grammys, especially with their own admission of corruption for all these decades. I will not be submitting [my music] in the future,” Abel Tesfaye explained.
His album ‘After Hours’ was the world’s second biggest-selling album of 2020. His single, ‘Blinding Lights’ spent more than a year in the US top 10. However, he was not recognized by the music industry. Artists like Drake, Elton John and Nicki Minaj defended him.
“I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards,” said Drake, who called for the Grammys to be scrapped altogether.
Drake went ahead to explain that to “accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after. This is a great time for somebody to start something new that we can build up over time and pass on to the generations to come.”
How Grammy Nominations Are Selected
Grammy nominations are selected by experts in their respective genres. This includes singers, songwriters, producers, and record, label staff. A screening committee considers thousands of applications to produce a shortlist. In fact, until this weekend, that list was whittled down further by a nominations review panel. The panel referred to as the controversial “secret committees”.
Those committees had the power to overrule and replace nominees. Last year, they came under scrutiny. Deborah Dugan is the Recording Academy’s former chief. She accused them of corruption as part of a legal complaint over her dismissal from the organisation.
For example, Deborah claimed that an artist who was up for the song of the year category. She was allowed to sit on the committee for that category.
In 2020, the Academy ruled that musicians on the committees should sign disclosure forms to prevent such conflicts of interest. However, The Weeknd’s music fell through the cracks nevertheless. In fact, After Hours was considered a pop record by the R&B committee and vice versa. However, Abel got locked out of both categories.
Drake, Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Frank Ocean protested over the Grammy’s lack of recognition for black artists. They claimed that the committees routinely overlook hip-hop and R&B artists in the main four categories. Categories include the record of the year, the album of the year, the best new artist, and the song of the year. In addition to that, they noted the fact that no rap album won the album of the year. Outkast’s ‘Speakerboxxx’ or The Love Below in 2004 was the last.
The Grammy’s Change of Rules
The Grammy’s voted to change the nominating process. They dissolved the nomination review committees for 61 out of 84 categories in the ceremony.
Awards overseen will be solely determined by voting members of the Recording Academy. Furthermore, organizers confirmed that more than 90% of the members will have to prequalify before they are eligible to vote in 2022. Therefore, ensuring the voting body is actively engaged in music creation.
According to the Interim Grammy chief Harvey Mason Jr, the process of eliminating secret committees had started before The Weeknd’s snub. However, they acknowledged that the controversy undoubtedly helped push the changes through.
“Any time an artist, especially one of that stature, calls our process into question or thinks something is unfair… the Academy is of course going to be affected by that, and want to work to make things better,” he said.
Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, manager for The Weeknd said:
“No change comes without a voice heard. I’m just proud of Abel for standing up for what he believes in. I was in a shock when all this happened but now I see it clearly, and I’m glad we stood for our beliefs.”
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