Women dominate nominations for Grammys after sexism outcry
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’
Guardian music critic
The year of female artists … from left, Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves and Janelle Monáe are all in the running