Women dom­i­nate nom­i­na­tions for Gram­mys af­ter sex­ism out­cry

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Laura Snapes

Af­ter con­tro­versy about the Gram­mys’ fail­ure to recog­nise women’s achieve­ments at the 2018 awards, fe­male artists dom­i­nate key cat­e­gories in the nom­i­na­tions for the 2019 cer­e­mony, which were an­nounced yesterday.

The coun­try stars Maren Morris and Kacey Mus­graves, the rap­per Cardi B, the pop fu­tur­ist Janelle Monáe and Lady Gaga could all take home awards at the 61st Gram­mys in Fe­bru­ary.

Else­where, Kendrick La­mar and Drake dom­i­nate pro­ceed­ings, with eight and seven nom­i­na­tions re­spec­tively. Along with Child­ish Gam­bino, AKA Don­ald Glover, they could rec­tify the other dis­pute that emerged this year, namely the Record­ing Acad­emy nom­i­nat­ing big hip-hop artists but not giv­ing them awards.

The Record­ing Acad­emy’s pres­i­dent, Neil Port­now, said “re­flec­tion, re-eval­u­a­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion” drove re­cent changes to the Gram­mys’ pro­cesses and nom­i­na­tions.

Cardi B, Brandi Carlile, Drake, H.E.R, Post Malone, Monáe, Mus­graves and La­mar’s Black Pan­ther OST are up for al­bum of the year, the most pres­ti­gious prize.

Alexis Petridis, the Guardian’s mu­sic critic, said: “It seems like a con­certed ef­fort on the part of the Gram­mys to re­ward slightly less ob­vi­ous artists than you might ex­pect, and there’s some­thing re­ally pleas­ing about see­ing tal­ented but more tan­gen­tial Nashville artists such as Brandi Carlile and Kacey Mus­graves be­ing nom­i­nated in ma­jor cat­e­gories.”

Many big acts will be dis­ap­pointed. Taylor Swift re­ceived just one nom­i­na­tion for Rep­u­ta­tion, and in best pop al­bum, a mi­nor cat­e­gory.

More than half of the 2019 nom­i­nees in each of the four ma­jor cat­e­gories (al­bum of the year, best new artist, song of the year and record of the year) are women, with Carlile and H.E.R, an R&B singer, among the lesser-known nom­i­nees. Fe­male artists also dom­i­nate the coun­try cat­e­gories – a trend that flies in the face of the genre’s male dom­i­nance.

Only four women were nom­i­nated across all four ma­jor cat­e­gories at the 2018 Grammy awards. Port­now com­pounded the is­sue when he said women artists needed to “step up” if they wanted to be recog­nised, com­ments he said he later re­gret­ted. In re­sponse, the Record­ing Acad­emy an­nounced that it would set up a task­force to tackle anti-woman bias in the mu­sic in­dus­try, led by Michelle Obama’s for­mer chief of staff Tina Tchen.

The 2018 Gram­mys also sparked con­tro­versy for nom­i­nat­ing hip-hop stars yet send­ing few of them home with tro­phies. Strong show­ings for Cardi B, Drake, La­mar and Post Malone could change that this year.

It is a medi­ocre year for Bri­tish acts. The R&B new­comer Ella Mai has found greater suc­cess in the US than her home coun­try, and re­ceived two nom­i­na­tions for her break­out sin­gle, Boo’d Up. Dua Lipa and Jorja Smith are nom­i­nated for best new artist. Seal is nom­i­nated for best tra­di­tional pop vo­cal al­bum, and Arc­tic Mon­keys for best rock per­for­mance and best al­ter­na­tive mu­sic al­bum. Jon Hop­kins and SOPHIE were recog­nised in best dance/ elec­tronic al­bum.

The 61st Grammy awards will take place at the Sta­ples Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les on 11 Fe­bru­ary. Record­ings re­leased be­tween 1 Oc­to­ber 2017 and 30 Septem­ber 2018 were el­i­gi­ble for con­sid­er­a­tion.

‘A con­certed ef­fort to re­ward slightly less ob­vi­ous artists’

Alexis Petridis

Guardian mu­sic critic

The year of fe­male artists … from left, Cardi B, Kacey Mus­graves and Janelle Monáe are all in the run­ning

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