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Were the Grammys a Popularity Contest?

Emily Sargent | esargent@radford.edu

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held on Jan. 28 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Bruno Mars was the big winner of the night, taking home awards for Album of the Year, Record of The Year, and Song of the Year. Mars was also popular in the R&B category, winning every award he was nominated for.

Kendrick Lamar took home every award in the rap category while most of the awards in the Country category went to Chris Stapleton. Ed Sheeran won two awards in the pop category – Best Pop Solo Performance, and Best Pop Vocal Album.

This list has a common theme. The most popular artists of today are winning all of the awards. The Recording Academy seems to care more about popularity than recognizing actual talent. In years past, talented singers and songwriters were recognized by the academy, and the awards were evenly distributed.

Today, the Academy seems to only give Grammys to popular artists with chart-topping albums and singles. The awards are no longer about talent; they are about popularity. Why should popularity determine an artist’s eligibility for a Grammy award? What happened to awarding talented singers and songwriters?

Another issue with this year’s awards was the winner for Best New Artist. The award went to Alessia Cara, who has been around since 2015. Cara found huge success last year with singles “Scars To Your Beautiful” and “Stay,” her collaboration with Zedd. Both songs earned spots on Billboard’s Hot 100 Songs of 2017 chart.

I have mixed feelings about Cara’s win. I think she deserved the award because she is very talented and “Scars To Your Beautiful” is a powerful song. However, I do not believe it is fair to give this award to someone who has been around for two years. Best New Artist should be awarded to an artist who just came on the scene within the past year.

I also do not understand why Bruno Mars won most of the top categories. He has great music, but this is not fair to the other artists who were nominated. The other nominees should have been given at least one Grammy to balance things out. The Recording Academy should recognize other artists and not award only the popular ones.

It seems that to be recognized at the Grammy Awards, an artist should put out music that people want to hear. Apparently what people want to hear in today’s age is pop music with overused techno beats, rapping, and some R&B. No one, not even the Recording Academy, seems to care if the artist can sing or not.

Real talent is not being recognized at major award shows like the Grammys. There are plenty of artists who put out fantastic music that does not even get nominated. This greatly disappoints me.

In the future, the Grammy Awards should be more open to recognizing real talent and give more talented artists a chance to win. That way, the show will be more enjoyable to watch, and more artists will be given an opportunity to shine.

Photo Credit (news.sky.com)

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