Kacey Musgraves Reacts After Grammys Exclude Her New Album From Country Category

According to Variety, the Grammys' country screening committee decided that Kacey Musgraves' star-crossed album belonged in the pop categories.

By Elyse Dupre Oct 14, 2021 3:26 PMTags
Watch: Kacey Musgraves Celebrates Her 4 Grammys at 2019 Oscars

Y'all, Kacey Musgraves has a few words for anyone who thinks star-crossed isn't a country music album.

The 33-year-old singer let her feelings be known in a post shared to Twitter on Wednesday, Oct. 13. Sharing a throwback photo of herself in a red cowgirl hat, Musgraves wrote, "You can take the girl out of the country (genre) but you can't take the country out of the girl."

The tweet came a day after Variety published a letter from Cindy Mabe, president of Musgraves' recording company Universal Music Group Nashville, to Recording Academy president-CEO Harvey Mason Jr. in which she asked him to reconsider the "determination to exclude Kacey Musgraves' album star-crossed from the Grammy's country albums category."

The nominations for the 2022 Grammys won't be announced until Nov. 23. And as Variety noted, Mason isn't actually the one who would make this call. After entries are submitted, the Recording Academy explains, they're screened for eligibility and category placement by "committees of genre experts."

As the rules and guidelines state, "If a genre screening committee determines that a recording should be moved to another genre, the recording is forwarded and screened by that genre committee."

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According to the Recording Academy, first-round ballots are then sent to voting members, who are encouraged to vote in the four categories of the general field (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist) and can vote for up to 10 other categories across up to three genre fields in their areas of expertise. These ballots are then counted by an independent accounting firm.

After the nominations have been determined and announced, the Recording Academy adds, voting members are given the final ballot in which they make their selections for the Grammy winners. Again, these are tabulated by an independent accounting firm.

And according to Variety, the country screening committee decided that Musgraves' star-crossed belonged in the pop categories. One Nashville insider told the outlet the committee reviewed each of the album's tracks and determined that, while there were some country music songs, there weren't enough for the album overall to be considered country. However, a source close to the situation told Rolling Stone, Musgraves' song "Camera Roll" was deemed eligible for the Best Country Song category.

In addition, the first insider told Variety the country screening committee sent the album to the pop committee for another opinion—with the insider noting the album would have gone back to the country categories had the pop panel rejected it—and that the pop committee agreed the album fit better in the pop categories. Furthermore, Variety reported that the album was reviewed by the committee that oversees the big four categories, who allegedly found star-crossed to be more pop.

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In the letter obtained by Variety, however, Mabe argued that, sonically, star-crossed has "got more country instrumentation" than Musgraves' 2018 album Golden Hour, which won Album of the Year and Best Country Album, and that many of the same people worked on and produced both albums. 

"Both albums complete each other with Golden Hour telling the story of falling in love and star-crossed telling the conclusion of the breakup," the letter read. "There is no departure in sound from these two projects."

Per the note, Mabe also stressed "the importance of Kacey Musgraves to country music and why this decision is so much more than an entry point for an awards show." She then pointed out that women are currently "making up only 10 percent of all country airplay."

At one point in the letter, Mabe claimed the decision regarding star-crossed "calls into question the other agendas that were part of this decision."

"That takes us to the process," the letter continued. "The idea that a handful of people including competitors, who would benefit from Kacey not being in the country category, are deciding what is country only exacerbates the problem. The system is broken and sadly not just for Kacey Musgraves but for our entire genre because of how these decisions are made for music's biggest stage. Building roadblocks for artists who dare to fight the system is so dangerous and against everything I think the Grammy's stand for. But that's where we are today." 

E! News has reached out to the Recording Academy, Musgraves' rep and Universal Music Group Nashville for comment but has yet to hear back.

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