The Recording Academy has added three new categories for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards, it announced today: Best African Music Performance, Best Alternative Jazz Album, and Best Pop Dance Recording.
According to Variety, last year’s new additions included songwriter of the year and song for social change.
Additionally, the existing categories of producer of the year, non-classical and songwriter of the year, non-classical will be moved to the general field — meaning that all Grammy voters will be allowed to vote in those categories, which previously were “craft” or specialised categories, along with engineering, packaging and the like, for which only members working in those areas voted.
The category additions and amendments were voted on and passed at the Recording Academy’s most recent semiannual Board of Trustees meeting, held last month.
“The Recording Academy is proud to announce these latest Category changes to our Awards process. These changes reflect our commitment to actively listen and respond to the feedback from our music community, accurately represent a diverse range of relevant musical genres, and stay aligned with the ever-evolving musical landscape,” said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “By introducing these three new categories, we are able to acknowledge and appreciate a broader array of artists – and relocating the producer of the year and songwriter of the year categories to the general field ensures that all our voters can participate in recognizing excellence in these fields. We are excited to honor and celebrate the creators and recordings in these categories, while also exposing a wider range of music to fans worldwide.”
According to the announcement, the three new categories include:
Best African Music Performance
A track and singles category that recognizes recordings that utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent. Highlighting regional melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical traditions, the category includes but is not limited to the Afrobeat, Afro-fusion, Afro Pop, Afrobeats, Alte, Amapiano, Bongo Flava, Genge, Kizomba, Chimurenga, High Life, Fuji, Kwassa, Ndombolo, Mapouka, Ghanaian Drill, Afro-House, South African Hip-Hop, and Ethio Jazz genres.
Recognizes tracks and singles that feature up-tempo, danceable music that follows a pop arrangement. Eligible pop dance recordings also feature strong rhythmic beats, significant electronic-based instruments with an emphasis on the vocal performance, melody and hooks. Dance remixes are eligible in the best remixed recording category only and may not be entered in best pop dance recording.
Best Alternative Jazz Album
This category recognizes artistic excellence in alternative jazz albums by individuals, duos, groups/ensembles, with or without vocals. Alternative jazz may be defined as a genre-blending, envelopepushing hybrid that mixes jazz (improvisation, interaction, harmony, rhythm, arrangements, composition, and style) with other genres, including R&B, hip-hop, classical, contemporary improvisation, experimental, pop, rap, electronic/dance music, and/or spoken word. It may also include the contemporary production techniques/ instrumentation associated with other genres.