The Recording Academy has added three new categories for the 66th annual Grammy Awards including Best African Music Performance, Best Alternative Jazz Album and Best Pop Dance Recording. Additionally, the existing categories of Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, and Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical will be moved to the general field, allowing all voters to vote in these non-genre-specific categories.
The category additions and amendments were passed during a vote at the Recording Academy's most recent semi-annual Board of Trustees meeting in May 2023.
"These changes reflect our commitment to actively listen and respond to the feedback from our music community, accurately represent a diverse range of relevant musical genres, and stay aligned with the ever-evolving musical landscape," Harvey Mason Jr., the CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement "By introducing these three new categories, we are able to acknowledge and appreciate a broader array of artists - and relocating the Producer of the Year and Songwriter of The Year categories to the general field ensures that all our voters can participate in recognizing excellence in these fields."
The Recording Academy accepts proposals from members of the music community throughout the year. The Awards & Nominations Committee, comprised of diverse genres and backgrounds, then meet annually to review proposals and update categories, procedures, and eligibility guidelines.
Three New Grammy Award Categories Defined:
Best African Music Performance
A track and singles category that recognizes recordings that utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent. Highlighting regional melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical traditions, the category includes but is not limited to the Afrobeat, Afro-fusion, Afro Pop, Afrobeats, Alte, Amapiano, Bongo Flava, Genge, Kizomba, Chimurenga, High Life, Fuji, Kwassa, Ndombolo, Mapouka, Ghanaian Drill, Afro-House, South African Hip-Hop, and Ethio Jazz genres.
Best Pop Dance Recording
Recognizes tracks and singles that feature up-tempo, danceable music that follows a pop arrangement. Eligible Pop Dance recordings also feature strong rhythmic beats and significant electronic-based instruments with an emphasis on the vocal performance, melody and hooks. Dance remixes are eligible in the Best Remixed Recording category only and may not be entered in Best Pop Dance Recording.
Best Alternative Jazz Album
This category recognizes artistic excellence in Alternative Jazz albums by individuals, duos and groups/ensembles, with or without vocals. According to The Recording Academy, Alternative Jazz may be defined as a genre-blending, envelope-pushing hybrid that mixes jazz (improvisation, interaction, harmony, rhythm, arrangements, composition, and style) with other genres, including R&B, Hip-Hop, Classical, Contemporary Improvisation, Experimental, Pop, Rap, Electronic/Dance music, and/or Spoken Word. It may also include the contemporary production techniques/instrumentation associated with other genres.