OPINION: Grammys Melodrama Is Not About Gender, It’s About Music
Two weeks later after the Grammy awards, the music industry is still abuzz over the lack of female artists that were nominated. Calls for changes at the Recording Academy have ramped up even more after comments CEO Neil Portnow made that night directed toward women in the music industry.
Days after Portnow took the stage and called on female artists to "step up," artists like Pink and Kelly Clarkson joined 21 other female music industry executives calling for his resignation and for a revamping of the Recording Academy's membership and voting practices.
Six executives, in a separate letter, called the Academy "woefully out of touch with today's music, the music business, and even more significantly, society."
While I think Portnow used an extremely poor choice of words in his rallying cry to women, I'm not sure there's an issue with women being under-represented in music. I think it has more to do with the cyclical nature of music — what's popular, who had the best album, and what is currently going on in society and culture outside the confines of the music business.
Just a couple of years ago, black artists claimed hip-hop was under-represented. This year, four of the five artists nominated for Album of the Year were black. Same for Record of the Year.
Anyone remember how many Grammy's Adele took home in 2017 for her album "25"? Five. The music landscape changes year to year. If Adele released "25" a year later and was up against Bruno Mars "24 K," I'm not sure Mars would have walked away with six awards this year.
This year, Lorde was up for Album of the Year for "Melodrama" (which I really liked) and was upset she wasn't asked to perform during the show while other Album of the Year nominees were. Perhaps it had more to do with her bizarre and sleepy performance of "Royals" at the 2014 Grammy's than it had to do with her being a woman. She was invited to join in and sing Tom Petty's "American Girl" this year, which she declined. She also wasn't on stage with a dozen other female artists joining Kesha while she poured all her emotions into "Praying."
Quick music trivia question: Which artist, male or female, has the most Grammy wins? Country artist Alison Krauss with 27.
Also in the top five, just three awards behind the legend Stevie Wonder, is Beyonce with 22 awards (one more than her husband, rapper Jay-Z).
To call the Recording Academy "out of touch" with society and the music people are listening to is ridiculous and a case of sour grapes. You're never going to please everyone when nominees are selected, and someone, either an artist or fan, is going to feel snubbed.
I'm not pleased by the lack of rock music represented, but I know that has to do with hip-hop surpassing rock in popularity, especially among younger listeners. Trust me, it kills me that my teenage kids don't know who Metallica or the Foo Fighters are but know who Cardi B is.
I'd like to keep hearing from the women who many consider groundbreaking artists to break the glass ceiling of rock and roll — Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde, Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson. Women who've held their own side-by-side anyone —man or woman— who ever took the stage with them.
Nicks was recently interviewed by CNN and talked about how she and the only other female in Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie, made a pact.
"We said we would never be treated like a second-class citizen amongst our peers as we get more and more famous," she said. "We've been a force of nature our entire career, so nobody has dared step over that line to Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks."
Next February, I'm sure we'll be talking again about who won and who didn't, but let's try to keep things in perspective and realize that not everyone, every year, is going to be happy with the results.
Dave Andreesen anchors "The Noon News Hour" weekdays at 12 p.m. on News Talk 98.1 WTSN.