On the heels of Nicki Minaj questioning the Recording Academy’s placement of her song “Super Freaky Girl” in the Grammys’ pop category, as opposed to rap, comes another case of artists protesting a submission eliminated from her division. chosen … in this case, the category of children’s albums.
The album in question is “Arise Together,” a record featuring children’s artists, children’s choirs and other musicians, opinion leaders and children living in war-torn Ukraine. The Grammy judging committee didn’t push it into a different genre category, but into the All Genre Album of the Year category — which the “Arise” producers could have chosen to additionally submit to the originated their project, but did not make it.
Reached for comment, Grammys representatives pointed to guidelines on the judging committees’ choices, which read in part: “Entries in most categories are reviewed by panels of genre experts to determine appropriate placement in category and domain. If a genre selection committee determines that a recording should be moved to another genre, the recording is forwarded and screened by that genre committee.
However, the Academy’s guidelines say nothing about moving a recording from a genre category to a non-genre specific category, like this one was, putting it up against several thousand projects. competitors, including top superstar projects, instead of the small field of children’s albums.
Sources say that sometimes an album is deemed unsuitable for a specific genre by the appropriate judging committees, and when this happens the recording in question is moved to album of the year. . It is unclear what would happen if the project in question had already been submitted in this category as well.
“Arise Together” features guest appearances from Julian Lennon, Dave Mason, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi, and is produced by Rupam Sarmah and Kevin Mackie. The themes of the album center around promoting inclusion, peace and diversity.
The album was submitted during the Grammy Awards online entry process. Correspondence between the producers and the Academy verified that the album was recorded correctly, the producers say. They then paid for a Grammy-edition Billboard ad, which they said had at the time been verified by the Academy as a legitimate children’s music album entry. Two weeks later, after Billboard’s publication and a day before members’ voting began on October 12, producers were informed that the album had been removed from the children’s category and placed in the best overall category, which which they say is unprecedented and irrelevant. background for a children’s album.
An individual track from the album, “Children of the World”, featuring Lennon and Mason, was entered – and accepted – into the category of world’s best musical performance.
The record, explained musician Alex Otey, is designed to help Ukrainian children in several ways: Ukrainian children played on it – for example, a duet across the ocean on the empowering “Go, Me” with the singer Kimberly Witkowski. — recognizing their talents and acknowledging their situation in times of war. Proceeds go to the One Little Finger Foundation (501c3), which currently helps families and children affected by violence. Proceeds from Arise Together are intended to help children around the world and include financial assistance to Ukrainian children for medical treatment due to mental and physical trauma.
“I question the entry and how albums are judged in their categories,” Elci said. Variety. “I question that because according to Grammys guidelines, it would appear that with our album, they violated their own guidelines. Something is wrong. So I question this entry process. It makes no sense to me. The secret committee—who is part of it? What if there is a problem? We should have the right to know. There is a lack of transparency in this process. The Grammys slowly tried to fix it, but they didn’t quite go through with it. »
According to the Grammy Awards guidelines: “The selection committee must consider the artist’s intent as part of the decision-making process. In cases where a selection committee is unsure whether to move the recording to another genre, the artist’s intent (as indicated by the category in which the recording was originally entered) must be considered the deciding factor in the placement of the appropriate category.
“Is Nicki Minaj right? Are competing artists encouraged to get out of the competition by denouncing each other and exercising their power behind closed doors? Mackie asked in a statement. “The Arise Together team calls for transparency. Who is on these committees and why is this kind of relentless unethical behavior allowed to continue under the world’s most prestigious music awards program? In this case, the children lose.