In 2006, U2 won the Grammy for Album of the Year for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, and Song of the Year for Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own. Also nominated for AOTY and SOTY in 2006 was The Emancipation of Mimi, and We Belong Together. I’m not saying the Grammys give preferential treatment to old white dudes. But you’ve got a greater chance of catching Mariah waking up on poly-blend sheets than you do finding a person who can hum the melody of Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own.
And Mariah Carey is just the tip of the snubby iceberg. It’s almost like it’s rigged. Even the recently-fired former head of the Recording Academy Deborah Dugan implied the show was rigged by saying that the 2020 Grammy nominees look the way they do due to multiple “conflicts of interest.” But the Recording Academy is here to assure you that the Grammy voting process is absolutely not fixed.
This latest revelation comes after Deborah Dugan released a “bombshell memo” in which she accused them of “sketchy voting practices, financial mismanagement and conflicts of interest,” as well as sexual harassment. She also claimed the Recording Academy was a boy’s club. The Recording Academy shot back, accusing Deborah of misconduct and bullying an assistant, as well as secretly demanding $22 million to leave her position quietly. She’s been placed on leave, due to the accusations that were made against her.
Deborah spoke with Good Morning America, and alleged that the Recording Academy shows favoritism to artists they have relationships with, and will shut out others. Deborah alleges that’s why Ariana Grande only received a few nominations at the 2019 Grammys, was shut out of the big 3 categories (album, song, record), and why she was snubbed from performing. Grammy producers claimed it was because they just didn’t have enough time to organize her performance, but Ariana accused them of lying about the real reason why she was denied a performance.
People magazine says that the Recording Academy is so horrified that anyone would think their award show is fake. Here is the Recording Academy’s official response to the allegations made by Deborah, released by Bill Freimuth, the Recording Academy’s chief awards officer:
“Spurious allegations claiming members or committees use our process to push forward nominations for artists they have relationships with are categorically false, misleading and wrong. This process is strictly enforced with everyone involved and has no exceptions The Nomination Review Committees are made up of a diverse group of current and relevant music creators with a high level of expertise in their respective genres. These committee members are all Voting Members. Committees are built by the Chair in consultation with the President/CEO and Chief Awards Officer using names submitted by all Academy Chapters. Many are Trustees.”
Bill goes on to explain that committee members are chosen just weeks before the first round of nominees is created, so it’s not known whether some of the members will be nominated for a Grammy. He adds that because many of the committee members are at the “top of their craft,” and that many members work with multiple artists, it’s not unusual that there will be members who get nominated.
They apparently avoid a conflict of interest by forcing said nominated committee member to leave the room during the entirety of the listening session, and aren’t allowed to vote in their own category. Bill then ended his statement by urging everyone to forget what Deborah has been blabbing about, and try to focus on the artists up for awards this weekend:
“We remain fully committed to the integrity, transparency and robustness of the awards and look forward with excitement to celebrating the artists who deservingly receive them. We are acutely aware that many artists have worked a lifetime for this moment at music’s biggest night and it is them we want to focus on when we celebrate this weekend.”
So the Recording Academy wants you to believe there’s nothing shady going on. I’m not sure Halsey would agree I’m still skeptical, and this denial from the Recording Academy has me wondering how deep does this scandal go. Is every Grammy award the result of insider friendships? I guess we need some indisputable proof that there’s something fishy going on. One thing is for sure: Macklemore is nervously clutching his Best Rap Album Grammy so that no one can seize it as evidence. “No takebacks! I might not have earned it, but it’s mine.”