The president of UMG Nashville – Musgraves’ label – has criticised the Recording Academy’s decision.
According to Billboard, the decision was made during the Recording Academy’s annual screening committee meeting, where submissions are reviewed to ensure they are placed in the appropriate category, with members able to reject recordings they feel do not fit into the genre.
The decision surrounding Musgraves’ latest record is said to have been made last week during this annual meeting. Billboard reports that star-crossed will instead be eligible for Best Pop Album and the all-genre Album of the Year award. Additionally, album track camera roll has been accepted for the Best Country Song category.
Six-time Grammy Award-winner Kacey Musgraves dropped star-crossed back in September. In our August cover story, Musgraves discussed the record, which was still unannounced at the time. She teased: “Sometimes I feel like this album has more of a foot in country than Golden Hour.”
The record was released under a new joint partnership between Universal Music Group Nashville’s MCA Nashville imprint and Interscope Records. Following the reported ruling, UMGN president Cindy Mabe has written a letter to Recording Academy president and CEO Harvey Mason, in which she criticises the decision to exclude 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 Grammy’s [sic] 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,” writes Mabe. “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,” she 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.”
Mabe also cites similarities between star-crossed and Musgraves’ previous record, 2018’s Golden Hour, which won Best Country Album at the 2019 Grammy Awards.
“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,” writes Gabe. “This album was consistently classified as country throughout its metadata and overall labeling across the DSP accounts and partners.”
The 2022 Grammy Awards are set to take place on 31 January, with nominations for the 64th annual ceremony announced on 23 November.