Posted by KB on 2/17/2017 to Opinions & Thoughts
The Grammys, like most awards, were created to validate an industry by crowning the best at a profession. They are designed for artists who want awards, attention, accolades and fans fawning over them. They are self serving. The awards normally go to expected winners within a circle of general acceptance. Not usually to the true best or most innovative in their respective categories. Occasionally the committees get it right (Sturgill Simpson this year) and sometimes the mega popular release is the right choice (think "Thriller"). But most of the time the awards go to the best selling or most played album/song. In other words the most relevant. They are releases not created by "artists" but instead by a machine through a template that is trying to apply the proven formula to ensure popularity which then could lead to an award-The Grammy. Artists, on the other hand, create something that is burning within them. It's their ideas, philosophies, pain, exuberance, social commentary and so forth that needs to get out. Artists need to create, express themselves and true artists continually evolve. Artists create to of course hopefully put food on their table, but they are not driven by trying to win awards or being loved by the populous. If it happens great, if not hopefully they engage enough devotees to keep them creating. My point here is that best are not winning let alone being represented. The Grammys are not awarding cutting edge (except posthumously when an artist is no longer cutting edge) but instead awarding those that are popular and acceptable. Example: Metallica are now acceptable but were ignored in the 80's when they were their most influential. For fun just do a "where are they now" search on past Best New Artist or Best Album or Song. See how many are no longer relevant.
Now when I read or hear about bias with the Grammys, or any award show, I want to bang my head against the wall. Calls for bias are from those (see above) who want to win awards. And unfortunately we live is a society where if I don't win, it's not because someone else was better it's because I was disrespected and victimized. They don't get that earning an award is much more rewarding than whining about it so maybe next time they win. This year it was Beyonce. But not from her. From what I have seen she hasn't cried bias everyone around her has. But why? Is it just because she didn't win Album of the Year? Is it because she is a part of that acceptable circle and thus should win? Boo hoo. Beyonce has 22 Grammys from 62 nominations. She's batting .355 which is pretty damn good in baseball. She's beyond wealthy and loved by roughly eleventy bazillion people. Bias? I don't think so. I think she's doing ok.
Now I don't know how exactly the voting is done or how the nominees are selected but I am pretty sure they are not sitting in a room listening to countless releases note for note and comparing them to see who warrants consideration. It's more likely that they look at what is topping the different charts and starting there. Sturgill Simpson getting nominated this year was great, but I bet this is how he was picked. It spawned his creating his "Who the Fuck is Sturgill Simpson" t-shirt which I am a proud owner. I would love a little transparency and explanation on how the nominees are gleaned. But that won't occur.
So as we start another back-patting-look-at-me award season I challenge people in the future to look at the nominees and ask themselves; a) how many artists did I listen to that are NOT on the slate? b) of the nominees, how many am I fan of primarily because my circle of friends all like them? and c) does a win make an artist more relevant?
Better yet do like me and just don't watch and just enjoy what you enjoy.