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GOOD NEWS BUT – Consideration for Grammy NOT a nomination!

Indisputably, the Grammy is the most prestigious music awards scheme in the world and quite evidently, Ghanaians have been starved of that honor for over 50 years, so – any form of association of Ghanaian musicians to that scheme elicits excitement.

This authoritative portal, www.entertainmentgh.com, has observed with interest, the seemingly good news making rounds that, prolific Ghanaian dancehall act, Stonebwoy and his album,’ Livingstone’ are being considered for nominations at the 59th Grammys.

Earlier, another Ghanaian reggae artist, Black Prophet, just like Stonebwoy, had announced on his social media platform that, his album, ‘Stories of Life’ is also being considered for the same privilege.

With the varied commentaries that are greeting the announcements, especially with that of Stonebwoy’s, it is imperative, that as music-loving Ghanaians, fans and followers of the genre – we put things in the right perspective.

Here, www.entertainmentgh.com, has provided some valid information on what it simply means to get consideration, get nominated and eventually annex a Grammy award;

LAS VEGAS - NOV 19: Grammy Award Statues at the 16th Latin GRAMMY Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 19, 2015 in Las Vegas, NV; Shutterstock ID 341425286; Usage: web; Issue Date: n/a
LAS VEGAS – NOV 19: Grammy Award Statues at the 16th Latin GRAMMY Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 19, 2015 in Las Vegas, NV; Shutterstock ID 341425286; Usage: web; Issue Date: n/a

Consideration for a Grammy

Media companies registered with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and individual members of NARAS (artists and other professionals working in the industry who meet certain criteria) may enter recordings for consideration.

Entries are made online and a physical copy of the work is sent to NARAS. Once a work is entered, reviewing sessions are held, involving more than 150 experts from the recording industry, to determine whether the work is entered in the correct category. (Wikipedia)

For consideration, this is how billboard.com also explains it;

  1. More than 20,000 artistic entries are submitted for consideration, and members vote one round, making up to five selections in each category.2. A “star chamber” of experts — about 150 from the various fields — reviews round one’s selections and casts secret ballots to determine the final nominations, honing the choices in each category from 15 to five.

    3. Grammy voters review the final list, the nominations (now five in each category), and place one vote in up to 20 categories (according to their fields of expertise), then mail in their votes on a paper ballot. Accounting firm Deloitte tallies the votes and places winners’ names in sealed envelopes.

Our Understanding: By virtue of Stonebwoy’s linkage with VP Records, the New York-based label, which is registered with the Academy, the submission can easily be done, just like 20,000 others.

Note: For being able to get signed on to an international label, a reputable one at that – it is a big deal for the artist in various regards.

Angelique Kidjo with her 2nd Grammy
Angelique Kidjo with her 2nd Grammy

Who votes on the nominations and awards?

On who gets to nominate artist and vote on the winners, vox.com provides the requisite information;

Only Recording Academy voting members vote on Grammy winners. The Academy flaunts the fact that the voting committees are made up of a jury of a musician’s peers. What that means in practicality is that musicians, engineers, lyricists, producers, and liner note writers can all apply to vote.

There are four ways to become eligible to vote for Grammy winners:

  1. Have been credited with 12 physical or digital tracks released online only and currently available for purchase, with at least one track in the past five years
  2. Have six credits on commercially released tracks currently available for sale and distributed through physical distribution outlets (such as record stores), with at least one track in the past five years
  3. Have won a Grammy before
  4. Get an endorsement from a current voting member

After a person has met one of these requirements, she can apply, pay $100 in yearly dues, and vote for the Grammys. Voting members are asked to vote in only nine genre categories and the four main categories (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist) when choosing nominees. They are then asked to vote for winners in up to 20 genre categories and the four major categories, so that their expertise is best used.

But that means some genres are voted on less than others in the nominations round, and then many people without expertise vote to pick genre winners

Ladysmith B. Mambaso with 2nd Grammy
Ladysmith B. Mambaso with 2nd Grammy

Conclusion

One of the main eligibility rules for the Grammy is to have your record/album released in the USA and the only way to do that is to have an international label and distribution links.

Stonebwoy’s ability to get his works on VP Records is a big deal, especially when the label has distribution deal with powerhouse, Universal Music Group.

Rocky Dawuni remains the only Ghanaian to get nomination
Rocky Dawuni remains the only Ghanaian to get nomination

However, it’s also important to note that, albeit a good step, it would be better if we still keep the champagne on ice; hold on with the exhilaration and pray that the ‘Livingstone’ and the ‘Stories of Life’ albums make it through the various reviews to the Top 5.

As Ghanaians, instead of making noise over the consideration, we need to generate buzz on the albums by buying the albums, sharing stories relating to the albums and the two artists.

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