Wed | Aug 5, 2020

Grammy nominations out tomorrow - Who will make up the reggae category?

Published:Tuesday | November 19, 2019 | 12:00 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Busy Signal
Marcia Griffiths
Third World
Steel Pulse

The Recording Academy will announce this year’s Grammy nominees tomorrow and, as expected, there is much speculation about who will make the final five in the reggae category.

Multiplatinum-selling, double Grammy-winning DJ/producer Wayne ‘Native Wayne’ Jobson, a member of the Recording Academy’s committee,in a recent interview with The Gleaner, singled out the Damian Marley-produced Third World album More Work To Be Done; Birmingham reggae band, Steel Pulse’s Mass Manipulation, their first album in 15 years; and 19-year-old reggae sensation Koffee’s Rapture EP as “good albums”.

Boswell ‘Stampede’ Lammie, of the popular Stampede Street Charts, doesn’t think Koffee’s Rapture will be in the final five, but he says Busy Signal’s Parts Of The Puzzle has a good chance of being nominated. Stampede also mentioned Third World’s album as one of his picks.

Industry expert Copeland Forbes did not hesitate to name who he thinks will be four of the final five. “My picks are Third World, Koffee, Marcia Griffiths, and Morgan Heritage. This year, the cut-off point was a little earlier than before, so a few albums didn’t get into that catchment,” he said.

There were over 120 entries this year, and Forbes sees this as a good sign.

“Remember that a few years ago there were considering dropping the category because there were not enough entries,” he said.

Forbes admitted that although a lot of albums were released this year, he didn’t get to listen to many of them, but he also identified a grey area as it relates to the criteria for nomination.

“I still don’t know what are the official criteria for an album to be nominated. First, the category was called the Best Reggae Recording, then it changed to something else. There are cover songs and tributes to Marley that have won and then Stephen [Marley] won twice with the same album, so I am still confused,” Forbes said.

Changing attitudes

That aside, however, Forbes, who has been counted present at the Grammys on four occasions, scores the industry high for the changing attitude towards the Grammy nominations.

“This year is the first time that everybody who was nominated attended the event, and it was great. I was so happy to see Etana showing them that reggae can walk the red carpet. I bet you that if Marcia [Griffiths] gets nominated, she is going to dazzle on the red carpet,” he said.

He disclosed that the year when Buju Banton won, there were only two representatives from the reggae fraternity present. “It was me and June (Isaacs, widow of Gregory) alone representing reggae. Gregory had been nominated for a collaborative album he did and we attended. When we went to pick up our tickets to attend the event, the man asked us who we were representing and when we told him Gregory Isaacs, he immediately upgraded our tickets. So we were sitting in the fourth row with Mick Jagger in front of us and Justin Bieber to the side and we did so many interviews. The media houses wanted to hear from us about Gregory. Can you imagine if all the nominees turn up every year, ” Forbes said.

He continued, “We used to argue and make this big noise about us receiving our award in the kitchen, but when we are not even present, we cannot expect our voices to be heard.”

Forbes is urging all the nominees to attend. “Don’t be afraid of not winning. A nomination is a big thing, so show up and represent the industry,” he emphasised.

The 62nd annual Grammy Awards takes place on January 26th and will broadcast live on CBS from Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.