The head of the Recording Academy addressed The Weeknd's boycott and the role it played in eliminating secret committees.
The Recording Academy came under fierce criticism last year after the 2021 Grammy nominations were revealed. The Weeknd, who notably had one of the biggest albums of the past few years with After Hours and one of the biggest songs of the year with "Bling Lights," did not receive a single nomination at the ceremony.
This pushed the singer to boycott the ceremony, saying in a statement in March, "Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys." On Friday (April 30), the Recording Academy revealed that going forward, the secret voting committees would be eliminated from their practices. According to interim Recording Academy president/CEO Harvey Mason jr., the move was in part because of The Weeknd, but affirms the process had been in the works for months.
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"The discussions about possibly removing nominations review started long ago and the real work of putting together a subcommittee to get this right started about eight or nine months ago, so, this isn’t a direct “reaction” to that situation," explained Mason.
He continued, "That said, any time an artist, especially one of that stature, calls our process into question or thinks something is unfair… the Academy is of course going to be affected by that, and want to work to make things better. I think the sentiment around the Academy has been evolving over the last 12 months, I think momentum has been picking up from the end of last year’s show, and we’ve been changing so much."
When asked again if The Weeknd's star power directly impacted the decision, Mason explained, "Did the Weeknd impact someone into thinking this is definitely something that needs to change? I can’t speculate, but I know the goal is to remain relevant and to be on the leading edge of music."
While remaining airy with his explanation, it seems like The Weeknd was in fact the titular reason for the switch. What are your thoughts? Let us know down in the comments!