Country may be known as a genre where women don’t always get a fair shake, but you wouldn’t guess how that rocked nominations for the 2021 Grammys. All five nominations for the best country album category were for female solo artists or bands with women as the lead actors. In addition, material with a female front was awarded four out of five slots in two further categories: the best country song and the best country solo performance. This 80 to 100% imbalance is of course quite the opposite of what a fan of the music will hear on the radio waves.
If the Grammys made a statement, the receiving academy wouldn’t just be doing it in the country. In some rock categories there was a similar readjustment of the scales. For the best rock performance, all six nominees are women or have a singer. The best rock song and best alternative album are also dominated by women, with women commanding three out of five slots in these two divisions.
Do these strong and sometimes all-consuming performances by women in two of the most male-dominated genres represent a case of activism by rock and the country’s respective nomination committees? Perhaps. Or it could be a year in which female artists’ contributions were undeniable, even without a vested interest in undoing institutional sexism. At least the separate committee narrowing down the nominees in the top four categories was on the same page, as artists like Phoebe Bridgers, HAIM, Brittany Howard, and Ingrid Andress also received nominations in the genre-independent departments.
Andress, who was nominated for Best New Artist, is also part of the field for Best Country Album. Her « Lady Like » debut meets Brandy Clark’s « Your Life Is a Record », Miranda Lambert’s « Wildcard », Little Big Town’s « Nightfall » and Ashley McBryde’s « Never Will », which are an extremely competitive field with no clear front runner.
For the best country song, Andress’ No.. 1 hit « More Hearts Than Mine » meets Maren Morris’ crossover smash « The Bones », Lambert’s « Bluebird » and the « Crowded Table » of the highwomen, all four Molochs. Male artists get a sure nod when Old Dominions « Some People Do » ranks fifth.
Lambert and Clark again have the best country solo performance in the running, for the songs « Bluebird » and « Who You Thought I Was ». Mickey Guyton is also taking a nomination for her racist hymn “Black Like Me. The other two slots go to Vince Gill’s « When My Amy Prays » and Eric Church’s « Put That in Your Country Song ». ”
Of course, Guyton doesn’t just represent women in the country: With her nomination, she becomes the first black solo artist ever to be nominated for a country Grammy … and the first black artist to be nominated in this field, all since Pointer Sisters Mitte unlikely to have picked up two Country Grammys with a crossover hit in the 1970s.
Only the best country duo / group performance category goes back slightly to men, with Little Big Town’s “Sugar Coat” and Lady A’s “Ocean” versus a re-appearance of the Old Dominion song and Brothers Osborne’s “All Night ”. and « 10. 000 hours « by Dan Shay with Justin Bieber. (Though Dan Shay had a dominant crossover presence at the American Music Awards, her view of the Grammys is limited to just that one nomination. )
In rock, the best rock performance category has six nominees, indicating a tie, with male frontmen making up none out of that half-dozen. The nominees: « Shameika » by Fiona Apple, « Not » by Big Thief, « Kyoto » by Bridgers, « The Steps » by HAIM, « Stay High » by Howard and « Daylight » by Grace Potter.
The best rock song comes close to a copy of the best rock performance, as Apple, Bridgers, Howard and Big Thief bring the same songs into play there as in the other category. Tame Impala’s « Lost in Yesterday » creeps in for fifth place.
The best alternative music album finds Apple’s « Fetch the Bolt Cutters », Bridger’s « Punisher » and Howard’s « Jaime » against Tame Impala’s « The Slow Rush » and Becks
« Hyperspace. ”
If anyone wants to claim that the rock committee made its decisions with some sort of SJW bias, the best evidence of this could be the best rock album pick, with Grace Potter’s « Daylight » being the only contender female front is against albums of the Strokes, Sturgill Simpson, Fontaines D. . C.. . and Michael Kiwanuka.
If you’re looking for bias, you might argue that there are better clues about it in the top four categories of any genre . . . but it’s not against women as they dominate most of these slots again this year. If anything, it could be against the country itself as a genre. Andress’ best new artist is the only nomination for a country artist in one of these four top categories, a solitary presence among a total of 23 nominees. Gabby Barrett, who was also predicted to be the best new artist nomination, did not receive any nominations in any category. And the all-star group of highwomen, who were considered the wild cards for the album of the year, had to be satisfied with their nomination for a country. At least it wasn’t just rural women who left the committee that dealt with the four main categories underserved. Even highly commercial compatriots like Luke Combs and Morgan Wallen found no place there (or anywhere else). . Clark and McBryde were also seen as contenders for the top album of all genres category, and Guyton was also frequently named as best new artist if the nomination committee had been more country-conscious.
While rock didn’t exactly dominate the top 4 categories, HAIM and Bridgers at least got the album of the year with the ironic title “Women in Music Pt. III « or. « Punisher ». The funk-rock sounds of Black Pumas landed on the record and album of the year. To the extent that anyone would want to think of Coldplay as a rock rather than a pop act, they too picked Album of the Year, the band’s only Grammy score that year. Apple’s lack of presence in the album of the year for « Fetch the Bolt Cutters », arguably the best-reviewed album of the year, is a glaring oversight for many.
Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance, Nomination, Fiona Apple, The Recording Academy, Brittany Howard
World News – CA – Women fill entire categories in country and rock as Grammys reset the scales for Gender-Unbalanced Genres
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