Afrobeats might get its own category at the upcoming Grammys in 2023. The Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. is hinting that Afrobeats may become a part of the Grammys very soon.
The genre was founded by sounds out of West Africa, but in recent times its influence has spread outside of Africa into the mainstream music arena like the United States by artists like WizKid and Burna Boy.
Mason, who was in Ghana when he made the statement, said that he was meeting with music industry stakeholders to explore how feasible the idea is.
“We called in producers, songwriters, artists, executives and we had a virtual listening session where we heard from Afrobeats creators,” Mason said in a press conference, according to CNN.
As it is, the genre is still growing, but quite a few artists like Wiz Kid, who has collaborated with Chris Brown and Drake, and other rising stars like Tems, who has collabs with Drake and Future, and Burna Boy for his track “Last Last” have raised the song’s profile and even Shatta Wale who was featured on one of Beyonce’s biggest projects.
Mason, who spoke at a press conference over the weekend, says that he is trying to learn more about the genre and its commercial viability.
“[We] just talked about, ‘What are the different subgenres? What are the needs? What are the desires?’”
However, a new category is not so simple as the proposal will have to be voted on in several rounds and then later by the Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees.
“My goal is to make sure that we represent all genres of music, including Afrobeats, at the Grammys. But it has to be done properly,” Mason added.
“I think the listening session last week was very important, very valuable, and a step towards that path.”
In the meantime, Afrobeats is already getting the recognition it deserves, with both the U.S and the U.K having respective charts for the genre.
Mason says the Recording Academy is constantly working to add new categories and recognize emerging genres as the organization move to stay relevant with culture shifts. This year the Academy is adding five new categories including best score soundtrack for interactive media and video games, and songwriter of the year. These additional categories will take effect for the 2023 Grammys.