The 63rd Grammys are in the books, and The Weeknd – who boycotted the event after receiving zero nominations for his commercially successful After Hours effort – has signaled that he won’t be part of the awards show moving forward.
Billie Eilish (who swept the main-four Grammys categories last year), Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Megan Thee Stallion won big at the 2021 Grammys, but The Weeknd received a grand total of zero nominations and, in turn, zero awards.
The high-profile nominations snub arrived despite the fact that the Toronto-born artist achieved considerable commercial success with his After Hours album, including placing third on Spotify’s Top 200 Global chart with “Save Your Tears” yesterday and sixth with “Blinding Lights.”
Halsey also failed to garner a single nomination, even with the strong commercial performance of Manic, but toned down her public criticism of the Recording Academy after levying serious allegations on Instagram back in late November. The Weeknd has continued to air his grievances publicly, though, characterizing the Grammys as “corrupt” – prompting an official response from interim Recording Academy head Harvey Mason Jr. in the process.
Building upon the point, The Weeknd indicated in a concise statement just days ago that he wouldn’t enable his label to send his music to the Recording Academy moving forward. “Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys,” he specified.
But in the same New York Times interview, The Weeknd’s manager (and CEO of XO Records), Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, appeared to suggest that his client could resume participating in the Grammys if certain organizational and transparency-minded changes were implemented before the 64th annual event.
“The Grammys should handle their legacy and clean it up to raise the bar to a level where everyone could be proud to hold up that award,” stated Slaiby, who also serves as international head of partnerships for Middle Eastern streaming giant Anghami. “This is Harvey’s chance to step up and have his legacy be the guy who got the Grammys finally right.”
Worth noting on this front is that several stars – Beyonce and Taylor Swift among them – were conspicuously absent from the 2020 ceremony, having boycotted the happening in the wake of Deborah Dugan’s shocking allegations.
Evidently, however, changes that the Recording Academy has made since then (retooling rules and eligibility requirements and renaming the “World Music” category to avoid “connotations of colonialism,” for instance) were enough to bring these and other big-name artists back into the fold.
Beyonce received both the most nominations (nine) and the most awards (four) of any artist at this year’s Grammys, upping her lifetime awards total (as a solo act and as a member of The Carters and Destiny’s Child) to a record high of 28. Taylor Swift, for her part, performed live and became the first female creator to take home an award for “Album of the Year” on three occasions.
Plus, Fiona Apple – who questioned the circumstances surrounding Deborah Dugan’s abrupt dismissal from the Recording Academy – secured two Grammys in 2021, including for “Best Rock Performance.” Nevertheless, the 43-year-old opted not to attend the event, citing the pressures of appearing on national television and their possible impact upon her sobriety.