Kacey Musgraves’ New Album Deemed Ineligible For Country Music Grammy

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Kacey Musgraves’ New Album Deemed Ineligible For Country Music Grammy

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

The Recording Academy doesn’t think Kacey Musgraves is country anymore.
Her new album star-crossed has been deemed ineligible for Country Album Of The Year at the Grammys, Billboard reports. The ruling was made last week during the Recording Academy’s annual screening committee meeting, where submissions are reviewed to make sure they are placed in the appropriate genre category.

The genre screening committees, made up of country professionals and artists, meet every year before the first-round ballots go out. To be eligible for Best Country Album, an album must contain “51% playing time of new country recordings.” After being rejected by the committee, star-crossed is still eligible for the all-genre Album Of The Year award and could be recommended to another category (such as Pop Album Of The Year).

star-crossed was released under a new joint partnership between Universal Music Group Nashville’s MCA Nashville imprint and Interscope Records and debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart. In a letter to Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason, UMGN president Cindy Mabe decries the decision to pull Musgraves from the country music category.

“As a prime stakeholder in country music, I would really like to frame what’s happening in our genre right now and help you and the Grammys fully understand the importance of Kacey Musgraves to country music and why this decision is so much more than an entry point for an awards show,” Mabe writes. “Taking her out of the country category actually does harm to a format struggling with change and inclusivity overall.’

“The numbers speak and are a matter of public record with women making up only 10 percent of all country airplay,” Mabe continues. “This year alone country music has been mired in the controversy surrounding one of the formats biggest artists, Morgan Wallen, who used a racial slur and grew fans and audience from it. THIS IS NOT ALL THAT WE ARE. Under the surface are the artists that change it all and they are led by the example of Kacey Musgraves.”

“Sonically, it’s got more country instrumentation than Golden Hour which won Country Album Of The Year in 2019,” Mabe says. “To compare Golden Hour to star-crossed, both albums were produced by Ian Fitchuk, Daniel Tashian and Kacey Musgraves. Both albums were mixed by Shawn Everett … There is no departure in sound from these two projects. This album was consistently classified as country throughout its metadata and overall labeling across the DSP accounts and partners.”

“The idea that a handful of people including competitors, who would benefit from Kacey not being in the country category, are deciding what is country only exacerbates the problem,” Mabe concludes. “The system is broken and sadly not just for Kacey Musgraves but for our entire genre because of how these decisions are made for music’s biggest stage. Building roadblocks for artists who dare to fight the system is so dangerous and against everything I think the Grammys stand for. But that’s where we are today.”

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