Stakeholders discuss Grammy Awards expectations
The Grammy Awards first round of voting which opened exactly one week ago will end on Friday, November 5. Comparing the Olympic Games to the process of being nominated for a Grammy Award, industry professional Sean ‘Contractor’ Edwards said, “It is more difficult to make it to the finals.
“It is not a sprint race to the finals; this is not like watching Bolt up against eight other runners. There is no second or third place, just one winner to be named, in the five nominees that will be announced at the end of next month,” Edwards told The Gleaner.
“When an artiste or producer looks at the body of work, and the quality of work that he or she is up against, to be on the list alone gives one a good feeling, and why I will also say that is because there are albums submitted that do not make it,” he continued.
At the end of the first round of voting, it is expected that there will be 125 albums in the category for Best Reggae Album. Edwards released the Reggae Vaccine compilation album earlier in June and took the opportunity to submit in the coveted category as well as two others, Album of the Year and Best Album Cover. He expressed that it is a learning process to understand the regulations and guidelines of the Grammy Awards.
“I had to learn the requirements and what it takes to make the list, and not only do you have to have a good body of work but a good body of people around you to come up with an album. A compilation album like Reggae Vaccine is a teamwork effort; wherever it goes, everyone goes. Teamwork is important in the business and especially for us in reggae to make it work and be successful at it,” Edwards explained.
He further explained that there are several determining factors that result in an album receiving nomination. One of those is quality, the other is that the power of the Grammy lies in its peer voting system. The 64th Grammy Awards nominations announcement is slated for November 23. The final round of voting takes place on December 6 through to January 5, 2022.
He said, “It is an award given out by our peers and many factors comes into play why our peers make the decisions they do for albums they vote for. Toots [Hibbert] won posthumously, and I believe because he passed away, and he being who he is, an icon played a role in the final decision. These are human beings, not robots. We also find that the best-quality albums, and not necessarily the most popular, are nominated. I think that will follow suit this year.”
AIM TO HAVE WORK SUBMITTED
All criteria for eligibility aside, Grammy Award-winning reggae artiste Gramps Morgan conveyed that all artistes should aim to have their work submitted for consideration. He put forward his third solo album, Positive Vibration.
“It’s sort of elementary right now, so I believe every artiste who has released a record has submitted. Earning a Grammy award is the highest honour. All should submit. We work very hard to put together our best body of work each time we put out an album,” he said.
Reggae-dancehall superstar Sean Paul, who is also familiar with the Grammy Award stages, told The Gleaner, “Every collaborator worked hard [on the Live n Livin album] and is deserving of the honour to be nominated.”
He added, “It feels great to know my album is being considered for the Best Reggae Album category. And big ups to all the other artistes in the running. Let’s keep our fans fed with good music even throughout this pandemic.”
Etana, a 2018 Grammy Award nominee for Best Reggae Album, said that she was hopeful about her new album being listed in the nominations.
“I’m positive all the time about the Pamoja album and I remain hopeful that my hard work and the work of all those involved with the project will be recognised by other talented and creative people in music. I have a lot of faith in the lovers of good music,” she said.
Pamoja, which means ‘together’ in Swahili, could easily fall in the category of Best Global Music Album (formerly World Music). It features collaborations from Jamaican dancehall and reggae acts Vybz Kartel, Damian Marley, as well as vocalists from Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana and Kenya.
Elaborating on the promotion of her music over the past year, Etana offered, “Taking the music directly to the people has been one of the ways of promoting a new album. Due to the pandemic, the reach was a bit limited. However, I had many great conversations with journalists, had many great reviews and so much love from fans all over the world.”
However, she does not hold the pandemic or a lack of promotion as a determining factor, whether or not her album or those of fellow recording artistes are considered.
“The voting members will vote for who they want to vote for because it’s their vote and their choice, even more now than ever. They once voted for me with Reggae Forever, my first full independent project, and I remain forever grateful,” she said.