Brandi Carlile ‘Flattered,’ But ‘Surprised and Disappointed,’ to Be Considered for Pop, Not Americana Grammys in 2022
Brandi Carlile's current single, "Right on Time," is eligible for nominations at the 2022 Grammy Awards — but not in the all-genre awards show's Americana categories, or even in its country ones. Instead, the singer-songwriter revealed on Instagram on Tuesday (Oct. 26), the Recording Academy has opted to consider the song in its pop sector.
Per Carlile, her team submitted "Right on Time," released in July, in the Grammy Awards' American Roots arena, where it would have been eligible for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song. (Carlile's newest album, In These Silent Days, and its other songs will not be eligible at the Grammy Awards until 2023, as it was released on Oct. 1 and the 2022 eligibility period ended on Sept. 30.) However, those at the Recording Academy in charge of overseeing the nomination process decided that "Right on Time" belonged in contention within the pop sphere, where it can be nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance.
"While I’m incredibly flattered to be considered 'pop' as a 40-year-old crooning lesbian mother," Carlile writes on Instagram, "I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit surprised and disappointed to learn the Recording Academy decided to move 'Right on Time' out of the American Roots genre and into the pop category."
"Being recognized by the Grammys — in any form — is a great honor. I just want folks to know this wasn’t my decision," she adds. "Regardless, it doesn’t change who I am or what my Americana community continues to mean to me."
Carlile's full message, in fact, details many of the ways in which the Americana music community has welcomed and supported her as an artist, and why she feels it's so important to define herself as part of the genre. "Americana/American Roots music is more than a genre to me. It represents my community, my family, my friends and my beautiful island of misfits. I am also proud that it represents a great number of people actively WORKING to platform marginalized people — LGBTQIA, women, and people of color (who, of course, actually built the genre)," explains Carlile, the reigning Americana Music Association Artist of the Year for two years running.
"The importance of staying and working within Americana is greater than just me," she continues. "There is not a moment where I don’t view my role as something larger. I feel great responsibility in representing marginalized queer people in rural America who are raised on country and roots music but are repeatedly and systematically rejected by the correlating culture. Every rung I can sling my gay sequined boot up on top of gets queer people a little higher on the ladder to being seen as just a bit more human in the great American roots landscape."
Carlile also uses her Instagram post to point out the confusing nature of the Recording Academy's decision to classify "Right on Time" as pop: She recorded both the song and her entire In These Silent Days album with longtime collaborators Phil and Tim Hanseroth, with the same band and producers (Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings) and in the same studio (RCA Studio A) that she used for 2018's By the Way, I Forgive You. That record won Best Americana Album at the 2019 Grammy Awards, while the single "The Joke" won Best American Roots Song and Best American Roots Performance.
By the Way, I Forgive You and "The Joke" also landed Carlile 2019 Grammy Awards nominations in the all-genre Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year categories. "Right on Time" will be eligible in the record and song categories at the 2022 Grammys as well.
The Recording Academy's decision on Carlile's 2022 Grammy Awards eligibility echoes its recent decision on Kacey Musgraves' Star-Crossed album, which was submitted in the awards show's country categories but deemed ineligible there. Her 2018 album, Golden Hour, and its songs "Space Cowboy" and "Butterflies," won Musgraves Best Country Album, Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance, respectively, at the 2019 Grammy Awards (and the album also won Album of the Year).
Like Carlike, Musgraves made Star-Crossed with the same producers and the same mix engineer she worked with for Golden Hour; she also wrote much of both albums with her producers, Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk. Additionally, in a letter to the Recording Academy, Cindy Mabe, president of Musgraves' record label, points out that "[b]oth albums complete each other with Golden Hour telling the story of falling in love and Star-Crossed telling the conclusion of the breakup. There is no departure in sound from these two projects."
The 2022 Grammy Awards will take place on Jan. 31. Nominations will be revealed in late November.