Arts Desk

A Slimmer Grammy Awards Means a Tougher Time for D.C. Artists

The Grammy category in which Carolyn Malachi earned a nomination has been eliminated.

The Grammy Awards just shed more than 30 categories, following a year in which it handed out 109 statues. And the requirements for a category to be awarded at all are now tougher. You can read all about it on the awards show's site.

As a music consumer, I don't find the Grammys especially relevant, and if they want to be more selective, that's probably a good thing. But D.C. musicians probably aren't cheering, and in fact, the slimmer slate of categories feels pretty unfriendly to independent, out-there artists. Some of the eliminated categories are ones in which members of the Recording Academy's D.C. chapter have had a lot of success, a topic I reported on earlier this year. R&B artists appear to be especially affected.

For example: In the R&B field, the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category is gone. D.C. artists have been nominated in that category in each of the last four years. Unless they can go toe-to-toe with more mainstream, wide-appealing R&B singers, artists like Carolyn Malachi—who makes music that's pretty hard to categorize—may be out of luck.

Also in the same field: Male, female, and group awards for R&B performance have been merged, which means the next time Raheem DeVaughn releases music, he'll face a more crowded field.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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