One-rhythm album will not win Reggae Grammy, says music executive | Entertainment

This year, the Recording Academy which governs the annual Grammy Awards received 125 submissions for consideration in the Best Reggae Album category.

“But unfortunately, less than half of them are artiste albums and the bulk of them are various artistes’ albums, which people know, in reggae, a lot of those compilations are one-rhythm albums which will never get nominated,” Grammy Award-nominated producer Cristy Barber told THE STAR.

Barber, who has been in Grammy advocacy mode since 2004, says reggae-dancehall artistes and producers who care about reggae’s position in the awards should include campaigns focused solely on the Grammy Awards in their marketing plans. She said that contrary to what some producers believe, one-rhythm albums, known as juggling rhythm compilations, are not high on the list for nominations. She explains that eligible voters are not familiar with that style of album presentation.

“Maybe in a different time, for instance, when Diwali riddim was released or Sly and Robbie’s Murder She Wrote (Bam Bam) Riddim, now those stood a chance. Just that back in those days it was harder to win because no one understood what it meant to the genre,” she said. “And I am not saying there aren’t good rhythm album projects out there but when it comes to the Grammys, I will be the first to tell you that there’s no way a one-rhythm album is going to win the award for Best Reggae Album.”

She says the only way an album of that nature can win is if a top-tier international artiste like Beyonce was featured on it. She says the Recording Academy recognises that the music industry has been affected by the pandemic, but it will not change the way the votes are tallied.

“Once it [the pandemic] hit, people weren’t releasing records the way they usually would. There might be a category that would have had 800 submissions pre-pandemic that had half this year and while reggae is picking up more than last year, the category has always experienced low submissions because there weren’t enough releases,” Barber said.

“The interesting thing that happened with voting this year, outside of the general field which everyone can vote in, each voter only gets three other categories. If someone chooses to vote in the reggae category, it is because they love it. So, our focus needs to be on protecting our category, ensuring more marketing goes into the music, and that more album submissions are made to avoid reggae being folded into the world music category,” she continued.

Producer Sean ‘Contractor’ Edwards suggests that dancehall artistes must look into the quality and type of music that has been nominated or won the Grammy.

“Over the years, a few dancehall artistes have been nominated and some have even won, whether by being on a successful single or albums, and some with albums of their own, so there is an opportunity for more to become nominated. Each year, the Grammy nominations are on spot for quality and I look for the same in this year’s list,” Edwards said.

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