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New Grammy Award Categories Showcase African Music, Dance Pop

Last Updated: June 15, 2023
The particular addition of Best African Music Performance reflects how artists such as Burna Boy, David, and Wizkid are topping the charts by honoring their home continent’s musical traditions.

On Tuesday, the Recording Academy announced the addition of three new categories to the Grammy Awards starting next year. The inclusions arriving with the 66th edition of the music industry showcase are:

  • Best African Music Performance
  • Best Pop Dance Recording
  • Best Alternative Jazz Album

Mark your calendars for Jan. 31, 2024.

Per the Recording Academy’s announcement, the changes were voted through at its Board of Trustees meeting last month, bringing the grand total to 94 categories eligible for the famous golden gramophone.

The Academy also revealed the existing Grammy Award categories of Producer of the Year (Non-classical) and Songwriter of the Year (Non-classical) will be moved to what it considers the “General Field,” which means they are officially unmoored from criteria-based restrictions like genere.

In describing Best African Music Performance, the Academy said qualifications consist of singles that “recognize recordings that utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent,” adding that it is meant to highlight “regional melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical traditions.”

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Regarding Best Pop Dance Recording, the organization classified it as “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.”

Finally, Best Alternative Jazz Album is meant to highlight “artistic excellence in Alternative Jazz albums by individuals, duos and groups/ensembles, with or without vocals.”

“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,” Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said. “We are excited to honor and celebrate the creators and recordings in these categories, while also exposing a wider range of music to fans worldwide.”

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About The Author
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. She began her career in sports journalism with bylines at SB Nation, USA Today, and most recently Yahoo. She received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Truman State University, and when she's not watching old clips of Serena Williams' best matches, she is likely perfecting her signature chocolate chip cookie recipe or preparing a traditional Cameroonian meal.