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February 5, 2023. Los Angeles, California. Beyoncé accepts the Best Dance/Electronic Music Album onstage during the 65th GRAMMY Awards at Crypto.com Arena ()

Picture by: Kevin Winter | Getty Images for the Recording Academy

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What’s the whole buzz about? The Grammy Awards explained

As we approach the 66th edition of the Grammy Awards, held annually by the Recording Academy, here are the things you need to know to fully appreciate the upcoming ceremony

Last year, Los Angeles witnessed a moment that will go down in history: Beyonce Knowles Carter added four iconic statues to her collection and set a new record of 32 wins.

This event is all about the beautiful outfits on the red carpet, reporters’ cameras flashing, and the celebration of music. It’s one of the most outstanding galas, listed alongside the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Met Gala.

This year’s event will be hosted for the fourth time in a row by a famous comedian, Trevor Noah. Performing on the night will be Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, Travis Scott, Burna Boy, Luke Combs and Dua Lipa.

In the United States, you can watch the Grammy Awards on CBS Television Network. It will also stream on Paramount+ on Sunday, February 4, 2024, from 5 pm Pacific Time and 8 pm Eastern Time. This translates to Monday, 1 am in London and 2 am in most of Europe.

What are the Grammy Awards?

The Grammy Awards have been organised every year since 1959 by the Recording Academy (formally: the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences), an organisation which associates people from the American music industry (musicians, producers, recording engineers, and other musical professionals).

Grammys are in the world of music, Oscars are for the film industry, Emmys for television, and Tonys are for theatre. They recognise ‘outstanding’ new achievements in music – at least three-quarters of the awarded material has to be newly created.

The winner in each of the categories receives an iconic, golden-plated trophy depicting a gramophone – the trophy is a remnant of the times when Grammys were called Gramophone Awards.

How are Grammys awarded?

Only Recording Academy members and record companies are allowed to submit entries for consideration. Only works released before October 1, 2022 and September 15, 2023, were eligible to enter this year’s competition.

The Recording Academy’s website states: ‘While the total amount of entries varies each year, [we] can receive as many as 20,000 entries during a GRAMMY season. Once we receive submissions, each entry is individually vetted by a member of the Recording Academy’s Awards staff to determine eligibility’.

Then, members of the Academy vote in two rounds. In the first ballot, they select five nominees for most of the categories. The nominees for the 2024 Grammys were announced on November 10, 2023.

 

 

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In the second round, the winner in each category is selected, but the announcement of the winner takes place during the annual gala, contemporarily held in Los Angeles (historically, these events also took place in New York City, Chicago, and Nashville).

In 2024, all members of the Academy are allowed to cast a ballot in six categories belonging to the General Field. Additionally, they have 10 votes, which they can use in no more than three fields – the idea is for the members to vote where they have expertise.

What are ‘fields’ and ‘categories’, and which are the most important?

There are 94 categories divided into 11 fields depicting various aspects of the music industry.

The most important field, traditionally, is the General Field, which from this year consists of six key categories: ‘Record Of The Year’, ‘Album Of The Year’, ‘Song Of The Year’, ‘Best New Artist’, ‘Songwriter Of The Year’ (non-classical), ‘Producer Of The Year’ (non-classical).

Other popular fields are ‘’Pop & Dance/Electronic Music’, ‘Rock, Metal & Alternative Music’ and ‘R&B, Rap & Spoken Word Poetry’, while ‘Gospel & Contemporary Christian Music’, ‘Production, Engineering, Composition & Arrangement’ or ‘Classical’ attract less attention from the general public.

Who has the most nominations, and what are the predictions?

The 2024 Grammy Awards gala will take place at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on February 4.

“Who runs the 2024 Grammys? Girls” wrote Taylor Whetherby on the Recording Academy website. This year’s main competitors are R&B artist SZA (Solána Imani Rowe), who received nine nominations, followed by Phoebe Bridgers and Victoria Monet who picked up seven.

Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, Brandy Clark, John Batiste and Jack Antonoff each stand six chances at winning a trophy.

Harbingers’ predicts that The ‘Record Of the Year’ will go Anti-Hero by Taylor Swift, and she will also take the ‘Album Of the Year’ award.

In our opinion, the ‘Song Of the Year’ trophy will go to the songwriting teams behind Dua Lipa’s Dance the Night, What Was I Made For by Billie Eilish or A&W by Lana Del Ray.

Rolling Stone magazine disagrees – they predict that Taylor Swift’s Anti-Hero will win the ‘Song Of the Year’ category, while SZA’s Kill Bill should win this category.

When it comes to the ‘Best New Artist’ category, our bet is on Ice Spice.

 

What are the Grammy records and controversies?

Currently, Beyonce holds the record for most Grammy wins, with 32 awards. She is followed by Georg Solti, who was a Hungarian-British conductor. The last place on the podium belongs to Quincy Jones, who is a 90 year-old American record producer. He spent 60 years in the entertainment industry with 80 Grammy nominations.

Speaking of nominations, according to the 2023 data, the artists with the most nominations are Jay-Z and, once again, his wife, Beyonce, both with 88 nominations (How romantic is that?).

When it comes to controversies surrounding the Grammy Awards, various artists accuse the format of racism, corruption and over-commercialisation of music.

In the 65-year history of the Grammys, only eleven Black artists won the ‘Album Of The Year’ award. According to a report commissioned by CNN, “Black performers represented about 38% of all artists on Billboard’s signature chart from 2012 to 2020, yet they received only 26.7% of top Grammy nominations during the same period.”

In 2020, Abel Tesfaye, known by his stage name The Weekend, accused the Grammys of corruption after his album After Hours did not receive any nominations despite topping the charts in the previous year.

“I remain uninterested in being a part of the Grammys, especially with their own admission of corruption for all these decades. I will not be submitting [my music] in the future,” he said in an interview for Variety.

Drake called for the Grammys to be scrapped altogether. “I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards,” the American rapper said.

Back in 1991, Irish musician Sinead O’Connor refused to accept a Grammy award, accusing the Recording Academy of promoting “false and destructive materialistic values.”

Missing altogether from this year’s nominations are kpop artists while little country and latin music have been recognised despite all three having ‘dominated’ the charts. Rap has also been ‘shut out’ of three of the four main categories.

According to Independent when it comes to the Grammy evaluations “there’s a lot to discuss.”

Written by:

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Klara Hammudeh

Contributor

Warsaw, Poland

Born in 2008 in Warsaw, Poland, Klara is planning on studying psychology in the United States.

She is very interested in reading, music and pop culture, especially West End musical adaptations of classic Disney stories.

Edited by:

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Megan Lee

Culture Section Editor

Hong Kong | United Kingdom

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