The Culture Joint

Three new categories including Best African Music Performance added to 2024 GRAMMYs

64th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Winners Photo Room

In a significant move that recognizes the global influence and diverse musical landscape, the Recording Academy has announced the addition of three new categories to the prestigious GRAMMY Awards.

Starting from the 2024 GRAMMYs, the 66th installment of the awards, artists in African music, alternative jazz, and pop dance will now have dedicated categories to celebrate their exceptional talent.

The new categories introduced are Best African Music Performance, Best Alternative Jazz Album, and Best Pop Dance Recording. This expansion allows for a more accurate representation of the ever-evolving music industry and ensures that these genres receive the recognition they deserve.

Alongside these additions, the existing categories of Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, and Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical, will be moved to the General Field. This change allows all GRAMMY voters to participate in recognizing excellence in these non-genre-specific categories, emphasizing the inclusivity and diversity at the core of the Recording Academy’s mission.

The decision to introduce these categories and make amendments to the awards process was made following careful consideration and a voting process at the Recording Academy’s semiannual Board of Trustees meeting in May 2023. The changes reflect the Recording Academy’s commitment to listening and responding to feedback from the music community and accurately representing a wide range of relevant musical genres.

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. expressed his pride in the new category changes, stating, “By introducing these three new categories, we are able to acknowledge and appreciate a broader array of artists.” Moving the producer and songwriter categories to the General Field ensures that all voters can participate in recognizing excellence in these fields, further enhancing the inclusivity and relevance of the GRAMMY Awards.

The breakdown of the three new GRAMMY Award categories is as follows:

Best African Music Performance: This category recognizes tracks and singles that incorporate unique local expressions from across the African continent. It celebrates the rich melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic traditions found in genres such as 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, among others.

Best Pop Dance Recording: This category acknowledges tracks and singles that are up-tempo, danceable, and follow a pop arrangement. Eligible recordings feature strong rhythmic beats, significant electronic-based instruments, and place emphasis on vocal performance, melody, and hooks. It’s important to note that dance remixes are only eligible in the Best Remixed Recording category and cannot be entered in Best Pop Dance Recording.

Best Alternative Jazz Album: This category recognizes excellence in alternative jazz albums by individuals, duos, and groups/ensembles, with or without vocals. Alternative Jazz is a genre-blending, boundary-pushing hybrid that fuses jazz with other genres such as R&B, Hip-Hop, Classical, Contemporary Improvisation, Experimental, Pop, Rap, Electronic/Dance music, and/or Spoken Word. It may also incorporate contemporary production techniques and instrumentation associated with other genres.

These category additions reflect the Recording Academy’s commitment to embracing and celebrating diverse musical expressions and genres that push boundaries and defy traditional classifications.

The Awards & Nominations Committee, composed of Academy Voting Members from various genres and backgrounds, convenes annually to review proposals and update awards categories, procedures, and eligibility guidelines.

The Recording Academy is thrilled about these important developments in time for the 2024 GRAMMYs and encourages music enthusiasts to stay tuned for more information about Music’s Biggest Night.

The Culture Joint