The Recording Academy has added three new categories ahead of its 66th anniversary happening in 2024.
The new categories are: Best African Music Performance, Best Alternative Jazz Album, and Best Pop Dance Recording.
The announcement for the additions was made today, Tuesday, June 13, 2023, and it brings to five the latest additions to the prestigious awards since last year’s Songwriter of the Year and Social Song categories.
The new categories announced for this year were voted on and passed at the Recording Academy’s most recent semiannual Board of Trustees meeting held in May.
Ghana’s iconic Highlife and the country’s recent Drill scene popularly known as Kumerican Drill or Asakaa is recognised in the Best African Music Performance category.
Also, Nigeria’s legendary Afrobeat is mentioned and so is South Africa’s trendy Amapiano.
See the definition for the three (3) new Grammy awards categories below:
1. Best African Music Performance
A track and singles category that recognises 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.
3. 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.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr, the category additions prove that the academy has its ears to the ground and is in step with the times and trends of the music community worldwide.
“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,” he remarked.
He noted also the implications of the new category additions.
“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 recognising excellence in these fields. We are excited to honour and celebrate the creators and recordings in these categories, while also exposing a wider range of music to fans worldwide,” he said.
Meanwhile, winning the Album of the Year with his Harry’s House, the UK’s Harry Styles was the biggest winner at the 2023 Grammys.