Here are lessons Charterhouse need to learn from the recent Grammys nominations ahead of 2016 Ghana Music Awards.
Let me start off by congratulating Rocky Dawuni for winning the first Ghanaian Grammy nomination. Rocky has been doing his thing across the world for years and I feel he has earned this nomination. I wish him the very best of luck. The Best Reggae Album has works from legends such as Luciano, Morgan Hertiage, Jah Cure and Barrington Levy so it won’t be an easy fight. But he is the thing about the Grammy; it is such a massive awards that earning a nomination is perhaps even more competitive than winning it. It is not strange to have big shot artists being introduced with how many Grammy nominations they have had, and how many won (of course). So win or not, we have Rocky Dawuni to honour and to celebrate.
Now to what is on my mind.
5 per category
I have gone through the nomination list for the 2016 Grammy Awards, and one thing that jumps out of the list is the consistent five nominations for the entire 83 categories. Over the past few years, we have seen an inconsistency in this regard with the Ghana Music Awards, there have been instances between 2012 and 2015 where some categories have had as many as 10 nominations, with others having a measly three. During the 2012 awards, only one category had nominations less than 5 with as many as 11 categories having 6 nominations and another 11 with 7 to 10 nominations. Between the same period, we had some categories having as many as 10 nominations (one in 2013, two in 2015 and another one in 2014. The concentration of nominations between 7 and 10 tallies at 35 between 2012 and 2015.
This is what I think: we should decide and go ahead to ensure that we do not pick more than 5 nominations per category. I believe in being original but I also believe in not re-inventing the wheel and learning from the best as well. Organizers should be able to settle on the best 5 in each category. There is no reason why 10 songs should all be so good that they all compete for Song of the Year. If one thinks about the amount of songs produced in the US and yet they manage to scale nominations down to 5. Except if someone wants to tell me we have a much bigger industry than them.
In keeping the numbers low, artists, the media and the general public will appreciate the nomination process more. It will also give the much touted bragging rights to nominees even if they fail to win. It also gives some uniformity to the award process. Over the past three years or so we have had occasions where some categories have seen just 3 nominations. Perhaps it is because there were not so many nominations received. Perhaps. But as much as possible I suggest we select and maintain a standard.
That I believe still remains artists bringing in their nominations. With the Grammys, I understand that with the Grammys, “After the September 30 submission deadline, submitted recordings that are approved for eligibility in various categories after pre-screening are placed into a first-round nominations list. This list is sent to all members of NARAS (the National Academy of Recording Acts and Sciences, comprised of music industry professionals who have been credited on at least six commercially-released recordings), who have the option to nominate in the four general fields (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist) as well as nine additional fields in which they are considered an expert. These nominations are returned in two to three weeks, after which they are further filtered and confirmed by committee leaders who determine the final nominations”
I think we do a similar thing with the GMAs. There is no doubt that the GMAs have become so important that most artists want to be recognized and to win. So yes, let’s keep the format. But I reckon to avoid some of the impending controversies, we should be able to devise a mechanism that tracks release dates and all. For example, I think Gasmilla’s very popular hit, Telemo, may have been released earlier last year and may not qualify for the awards next year. That’s what I think. Are we able to determine some of these dates?
Sorting Controversies Out
Award shows across the world are rarely bereft of controversies. After the nominations were announced for the Grammys, Omarion was not happy that his hit, ‘Post to be’ was not recognized. He said among others on Twitter that “This isn't a "im upset" (post to be) rant. This is a- ok so that wasn't good enough. I'll be back. Have my Grammy's ready”. We cannot begrudge him. That song was massive and it makes sense that he expected to get a few nominations. But the experts said, ‘sorry Omarion, others were better’.
Again, Drake’s banger, 'Hotline Bling' was reportedly not submitted for next year's Grammy Awards due to a mix up. According to online reports, the song was overlooked due to some clerical error from his label, Cash Money. So mistakes do happen. Sometimes some artists think their songs are big enough to win not just the GMA, but the BET, Grammy and all possible awards. I must say the GMA process handles some of these things quite excellently. They should keep it up and in the process make it worth the while of industry players and the general public.
So we look forward to what the folks at Charterhouse and the Ghana Music Awards learn from the Grammy process and apply it to ours ahead of next year.
By Kwame Gyan