Local acts could shun Grammys - Steel Pulse lead singer wants reassessment of the category

November 24, 2020
Steel Pulse
Steel Pulse
Koffee poses with the award for best reggae album.
Koffee poses with the award for best reggae album.

There is plenty of prestige that is derived from being nominated for a Grammy award.

But with many lashing out at the Recording Academy over the years for undue bias to the reggae category, one veteran artiste believes that quite soon, that prestige will wear thin.

In a recent interview with THE STAR, David Hinds, lead singer of the Grammy-winning reggae group Steel Pulse, said that every year the reggae Grammy category continues to lack diversity, the less attractive the award becomes to its proprietors.

"People are always gonna care about the Grammys because it's out there and well established in the music game, but I totally understand if, pretty soon, nuff a di artiste dem nuh care. I couldn't blame them because the Grammys has been totally unfair to a lot of them for a long time," he said. "I can't wrong the artiste dem if dem want to shy away from the Grammys because a lot of times, it's not the best body of work that walks away with the award, but the artiste with the bigger name or the bigger label."

He said the Recording Academy has a reputation of voting for "who they know".

"They don't have the time to listen to every single record submitted, and so what you find happening is the same names winning again and again," he said. "There needs to be a line drawn, and certain things need to be reassessed, or you're going to find more and more local artistes losing interest in and respect for the Grammys."

Transforming Local Awards

Hinds said he believed that the time had come for Jamaica's music industry to start looking into transforming local awards into internationally acclaimed events.

"When I was at the JaRIA (Jamaica Reggae Industry Association) awards a few years ago, I felt so proud sitting in the audience because mi never realise say it so 'kris'. It come in like a our thing dis, and I believe say we need to step it up a notch now where it start get more internationally recognised. We need to have a platform where if the Grammys is not doing it for us, we do it ourselves," he said.

Hinds also admitted that although he was happy for Koffee's historic reggae Grammy victory in January, he felt that Steel Pulse should have won.

"We went to the Grammy awards for the first time in years in January. When Steel Pulse name call inna dat auditorium, the whole place tear dung. Mi did a prepare myself to go up there and collect the award, and when dem say the winner is Koffee, I remember hearing somebody say, 'Who's that?' Not saying her album wasn't a good album, but I think many people believe we should have won," he said. "Now, after what I experienced back in January, mi nuh care bout no Grammy thing. And it's a very touchy topic because sometimes noise is created around an artiste because it was earned. Still, there is a lot that needs to be revisited and taken into consideration before a lot of artistes start respecting the Grammy process again."

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