Ahead of the 64th annual Grammy Awards, set for Jan. 31, 2022, many artists, songs, albums and more made themselves heard amid the ongoing pandemic. With the Recording Academy appointing three new leaders — co-president Valeisha Butterfield Jones, CEO Harvey Mason Jr. and co-president Panos A. Panay — to run the Grammys, Billboard asked artists across genres the following question: What should their top priorities be with regard to the awards show?
BRELAND: The biggest priority should be recognizing the ever-changing landscape of music, much of which exists between traditional genre lines. Many of the most impactful songs this past year fuse genres in ways the world hasn’t seen before. Trying to measure a song that dances between R&B/country against a traditional country song by the same metric is a difficult task, and I hope these new leaders are prepared for the challenge.
Japanese Breakfast: The Recording Academy should strive to represent music’s greatest trailblazers across all genres. It should valorize art that refuses to pander, art that is both timeless and visionary. It should acknowledge the systemic forces that have sought to quiet some of the most powerful voices in music’s history and prioritize diversity alongside technical skill and true depth of heart.
Nicholas Petricca (Walk the Moon): I’ve always admired the Grammys as a platform for celebrating artists making great art, as opposed to the popularity contest which awards shows sometimes become. I would be really excited to see that limelight focused on emerging and established artists who are bringing new light and originality, and expanding their respective genres, especially the mainstream ones.
Paloma Mami: Diversify the [group] that votes for artists to be nominated, allow more talent to be incorporated into the show performance [and have] equal representation on the show across gender, culture and genre.
SG Lewis: I think the three things the new leaders should be prioritizing are representation, diversity and unbiased voting. It’s important that the awards reflect the opinions and talent of the wider musical community.
Vic Mensa: I think the new leadership of the Grammys should bring an authentic group of people together to represent hip-hop that are trusted in the culture to make decisions that accurately reflect the craft beyond commercial metrics of success.
Ye Ali: I think the top priorities should be focused on properly categorizing the music selections for awards such as R&B and pop, [and] making sure Black women are represented fairly in categories.
This story originally appeared in the Dec. 11, 2021, issue of Billboard.