Former music executive and advertising guru Steve Stoute took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to blast the Grammy's organizing body, NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Science), for being out of touch when it comes to honoring artists for their achievements in music. He believes that the award-giving process are flawed and that artists such as Eminem, Kanye West and Just Bieber were all snubbed at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 12.
In an interview with the New York Observer, Mr. Stoute asserts that maybe the winners were pre-chosen before the night's award ceremony.
"I watched the show with a few artists who refused to go [to the Grammys]. I was watching with an artist who received six nominations, who refused. Everybody expected the normal letdown. When Arcade Fire won Album of the Year, I wasn't taken aback by that. What I was taken aback by -- after they performed to close the show. Then they win Album of the Year. Then they're ready to perform [a second time]. That's when it becomes the WWE [World Wrestling Entertainment]. They've gone too far in showing the world that it's premeditated."
Presumedly, the six-time nominated artist that Stoute is talking about is Jay-Z, who has boycotted the Grammys because of how hip-hop has been neglected during the ceremony.
"The feedback I'm hearing -- artists are saying I'm not coming next year," says Stoute on the reponse to the letter. "Why would I show up on TV to be the star of my own demise? Many, many artists are very upset. Everybody knows the artists that I've worked with. [Jay-Z] wasn't there because he's just sick of it. They showed his picture [during the broadcast], and it's from Reasonable Doubt. They don't even have a picture more recent out of the last 15 years."
I and agree and disagree with some of Steve Stoute's criticisms about the Grammy Awards.
First, the Grammys -- throughout its 53-year history -- was never a popularity contest.
However, I agreed that the Grammys and the NARAS voting body are out of touch with what's happening in popular culture.
Now, whether or not Justin Bieber deserved to win the Best New Artist award over Esperanza Spalding is another debate altogether.
In my opinion, Spalding is not a "new artist" compare to Bieber and the other nominees. Spalding has dropped three albums, toured the world 6-times over, performed at the White House twice and is a visiting professor at Berklee College of Music.
So how "NEW" is Esperanza Spalding? Talented? Yes. "NEW"? No.
The Grammy voters should have nominated Spalding's latest album Chamber Music Society in the Jazz categories and let her performed on the show. Now that's how you introduce an artist to the world.
Instead, Esperanza Spalding will be forever remembered as the mysterious Afro-ed chick who stole Justin Bieber's award. How nice.
But I digress . . .
Steve Stoute gets props for bringing attention NARAS' blunders when it comes to honoring artists at the Grammys. Stoute also forgot to mention that during the Grammy's "In Memoriam" tribute of deceased artists, Keith "Guru" Elam of Gang Starr was noticeably absent. Which is another slap to hip-hop . . . thanks NARAS.
A lot of the problems with the Grammys may stem from the voting process. There might be some elitism within the organization, which could affect who will receive an award. Who knows?
Also, who are these mysterious Grammy voters? This might explain why we see so much fuckery at the Grammy Awards.
In the end, the Grammy Awards needs an overhaul -- both in its award-giving process and in its presentation on music's biggest night.