Recording Academy Senior Vice President: Beyonce Got Rock Grammy Nomination Because of Jack White Guest Spot + Led Zeppelin Samples
Last week, the 2017 Grammy nominees were revealed and, per usual, it left rock and metal fans scratching their heads and raising their eyebrows. Between Metallica landing in contention for Best Rock Song for "Hardwired" and Beyonce up for Best Rock Performance for "Don't Hurt Yourself," there's been plenty of chatter from fans and musicians alike. While this collective speculation typically goes unresolved, Recording Academy Senior Vice President Bill Freimuth has offered an explanation.
"When you exclude metal, the rock category is one of our biggest umbrellas," Freimuth told Metal Injection. Going on to note the expansive and seemingly all-encompassing rock genre, he continued, "Not quite as broad as pop, but maybe the next up in terms of what constitutes rock – it can be blues rock, folk rock, ballads. All of that. I think what we found this year is that so many artists that were in rock or adjacent to rock were really taking more sonic risks this year than ever before, and it made for a really exciting dynamic landscape in that field."
As for how Beyonce's song, which features Jack White, landed alongside Disturbed, David Bowie, Twenty One Pilots and Alabama Shakes, Freimuth added, "That [Beyonce] recording has Jack White in it and it has Led Zeppelin samples in it and I think it's Beyonce really stretching. It's an artist at the height of her musical powers, really reaching in many different directions and we are all the better for it."
The Senior VP also explained how the voting process works, detailing that their 13,000 members cast votes and typically vote in the area in which they have expertise. While this may not always be the case, Freimuth shied away from the notion that many votes are being cast from anyone outside of their realm of familiarity.
Freimuth also noted record label employees do not vote unless they share creative duties. "Producers, engineers, songwriters, instrumentalists, vocalists, notes writers, video directors, they all have to be creatively involved. So if you're on the business side, you're not voting," he said.
In our interview with Disturbed's David Draiman, he offered his thoughts on the Grammy nominations, discussing both Metallica and Beyonce. "Uh …. I don’t know (laughs). They should be in metal," the singer began when asked about Metallica landing on the rock side.
"They are … Metallica, but maybe they classify things differently these days. You’re talking about the same organization that put us and I think it was The Mars Volta together in the same category and now I’m in the same category with Beyonce, for example," Draiman added. "So, we’re nominated. That’s the main thing (laugh). They need to do some homework in a bunch of different areas, I’m sure, but it’s something that doesn’t necessarily surprise me."
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