So... Second year in a row, the outsider, this time Norah Jones, takes the limelight. However, I think the Grammy voting procedure itself is the statement that should be analyzed, not the honoree.
I received my preliminary ballot last fall. There are thousands of entries, most of which I've not heard, nor do I have time or inclination to listen to. Therefore, I look for people I know, people I'd like to help out, etc -- though this is specifically discouraged by NARAS.
Also specifically forbidden by NARAS is "campaigning" for a nomination. However, yearly, I receive faxes, emails, even phone calls from representatives of entrants... Just wanting to "point out" their entries, you understand.
Of course, I vote for any entries from my own label... Of course, The Music Room has exactly ONE voting NARAS member. How many voting members do you suppose are associated with Sony or AOL/Time Warner/EMI?
Then comes the final ballot. There was no one on the final ballot that I really WANTED to vote for on a musical basis, so I voted as a statement. Yes... I voted for Norah Jones simply because a vote for Norah said to the industry establishment, "I hate what you're doing... ANYTHING is preferable to the crap you issue!" I believe that many others did just as I did.
So... It's not that I don't like Norah Jones... She's got a nice voice, her record is pleasant in a "Julie Is Her Name" sort of way. But I don't think for one second that she's the "next big thing". I just think there's a big negative feeling towards majors and the status quo. It's amazing how always the FIRST things blamed by the folks who manage these labels are cassette taping from radio, CD buring, internet file swapping. And yet it always turns out to be just the poor quality of their product!
(c) 2003 by Jim Stringer