The Grammys have a new award: Songwriter of the Year
Coming to the Grammys next year: a new award for songwriter of the year.
The award, given in recognition of “excellence in writing, the profession and the art of songwriting,” is one of several adjustments made to the Grammy rules for the 65th annual ceremony.
Four more new categories are coming, including Best Alternative Musical Performance, Americana Musical Performance, Spoken Poetry Album and Video Game and Other Interactive Media Soundtrack, the Recording Academy, the organization behind the Grammys, announced Thursday. There will also be a new Merit Award for Best Song for Social Change, chosen by a special committee.
The biggest change is the composer price. Since the first Grammy Awards in 1959, Song of the Year has been one of the most prestigious awards given to composers of a single song. The first winners were Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno, for “Nel Blu, Dipinto di Blu” (better known as “Volare“), and the most recent award went to Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak and two collaborators for “Leave the Door Open”.
In recent years, songwriters have lobbied the Recording Academy for greater recognition, which has come gradually. At the 60th Annual Grammys in 2018, songwriters were added to the ballot for Album of the Year, but only if they contributed at least 33% of an LP; for the 2022 show, this limit was eliminated, allowing any songwriter credited with new material to be nominated. (Samples don’t count, nor do writers of old songs — hence Cole Porter’s omission this year for Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s “Love for Sale” album.) In 2021, the academy created a Authors and Composers Wing for its members.
The new category, officially called Songwriter of the Year (Non-Classical) – although there is no classical equivalent – will go to a single songwriter or team of songwriters for a given work. A similar approach has long been taken for Producer of the Year.
“The intent of this new category is to recognize professional songwriters who write songs for other artists for a living,” said Harvey Mason Jr., chief executive of The Recording Academy. “This dedicated award highlights the importance of songwriting’s meaningful contribution to the musical process, and as a non-performing songwriter myself, I’m thrilled to see this award come to life.”
Among the other changes this year is the establishment of “business committees” in three classic categories. Specialist teams will have the final say on who will vote for Producer of the Year (Classical), Best Engineered Album (Classical) and Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The change follows some grumbling in the classical world over the nomination last year of Jon Batiste – the jazz bandleader and TV personality who won album of the year – for the award. of contemporary composition. (Award went to Caroline Shaw.)
The change is notable since last year the academy eliminated its controversial nominating committees, which acted as an invisible hand in dozens of categories, although craft committees have been retained for categories like engineering. and packaging which require special expertise.
The new categories arrive after a series of cuts over a decade ago. In 2011, for example, the academy abandoned 31 categories, consolidating many separate male and female awards and cutting some in areas like Classical and Latin. Two years earlier, the polka category – where annual submissions had fallen to just 20 titles – had been scrapped after a 24-year run.
The last Grammy ceremony, in April, had 86 categories. At the first, they were 28.