NEW YORK: New Zealand pop prodigy Lorde thanked her fans for supporting female musicians, as artists hit back amid controversy that the Grammy Awards neglected women — a spat fueled by comments from the Recording Academy’s president seen as disparaging.
The 21-year-old’s “Melodrama” was the only work by a woman nominated for the most prestigious prize of Album of the Year on the music industry’s biggest night.
She not only was bested by Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” but was also not given a spot to perform at the televised show in New York. The Recording Academy, which administered the awards, had said the roster was full.
Lorde took out a full-page advertisement in The New Zealand Herald with doodlings about the Grammys and a handwritten note that thanked readers “for loving and embracing ‘Melodrama’ the way you did. Lorde added to this with a “Thank you, also, for believing in female musicians. You set a beautiful precedent!”
The Grammy winners slanted overwhelmingly male at a time of mounting activism by women against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The show’s most memorable performer may have been Kesha, who fiercely sang her track “Praying” about a producer she said raped and psychologically tormented her — allegations he denied.
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow told reporters that the music industry needed to show a “welcome mat” to women, but drew controversy as he explained how female artists could win more awards.
“I think it has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and their souls who want to be musicians… to step up, because I think they would be welcome,” he said.
Pop singer P!nk struck back without naming Portnow: “Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’ — women have been stepping since the beginning of time.”
Honoring women would show “the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair,” she wrote in a handwritten note on Twitter.
— P!nk (@Pink) January 29, 2018
Before this year’s controversy, the last two winners of Album of the Year were both women — Adele and Taylor Swift. And this time Canadian soul-pop singer Alessia Cara won one of the top awards, Best New Artist.
But Cara also faced criticism on social media with users saying the 21-year-old singer, whose breakthrough hit “Here” came out in early 2015, did not qualify as new.
Cara — whose socially conscious lyricism wrestles with issues such as poor self-image — responded on Instagram that she had not sought the award and added: “I am not going to be upset about something I’ve wanted since I was a kid…I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking offense to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck,” she wrote.
“Here’s something fun! I’ve been thinking I suck since I was old enough to know what sucking meant.”
to address the apparent backlash regarding winning something I had no control over: I didn’t log onto grammy.com and submit myself. that’s not how it works. I didn’t ask to be submitted either because there are other artists that deserve the acknowledgment. but I was nominated and won and I am not going to be upset about something I’ve wanted since I was a kid, not to mention have worked really hard for. I meant everything I said about everyone deserving the same shot. there is a big issue in the industry that perpetuates the idea that an artist’s talent and hard work should take a back seat to popularity and numbers. and I’m aware that my music wasn’t released yesterday, I’m aware that, yes, my music has become fairly popular in the last year. but I’m trying very hard to use the platform I’ve been given to talk about these things and bring light to issues that aren’t fair, all while trying to make the most of the weird, amazing success I’ve been lucky enough to have. I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking offence to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck. here’s something fun! I’ve been thinking I suck since I was old enough to know what sucking meant. I’ve beat u to it. And that’s why this means a lot to me. despite my 183625 insecurities, I’ve been shown that what I’ve created is worth something and that people actually give a shit. all of the years feeling like I wasn’t good at anything or that I was naive for dreaming about something improbable have paid off in a way that I have yet to process. I know it sounds cheesy and dumb but it’s the honest truth. thanks to everyone who’s shown me kindness and support along the way. I’ll stop talking now.