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Grammys announce three new categories, including best African music performance

A man in a black tuxedo stands in front of a black wall that has pictures of Grammys on it
Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. at the 63rd Grammy Awards in 2021.
(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)
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Three new categories have been added ahead of the 2024 Grammy Awards: best African music performance, best alternative jazz album and best pop dance recording.

Additionally, producer of the year, non-classical and songwriter of the year, non-classical — the latter of which was created last year — will now slot into general field, allowing all Grammy voters to vote.

“The Recording Academy is proud to announce these latest category changes to our Awards process. 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,” said a statement from Harvey Mason Jr., chief executive officer of the Recording Academy, which presides over the Grammys. “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.”

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Rather than competing for best global music performance, African songs will now duke it out in a dedicated African music category. Aimed to highlight “regional melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical traditions,” genres including Afrobeats, amapiano, highlife, alte, fuji and kwassa will be eligible for nomination.

The creation of the category comes at a time where African music has never been more visible in America. This summer, Burna Boy will become the first Nigerian artist to headline a U.S. stadium, when he takes the stage at Citi Field in Queens, New York. And Tems has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the past few years, featuring on Future and Drake’s chart-topping hit “Wait for You” along with Wizkid’s inescapable “Essence.”

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The newly created best pop dance recording will highlight uptempo music with a pop arrangement. Eligible songs will feature “strong rhytmic beats and significant electronic-based instruments.” Last year, Beyoncé swept the dance category, with “Break My Soul” taking dance recording and the blockbuster “Renaissance” album winning dance album.

Best alternative jazz album will honor artists who blend jazz with other genres such as R&B, hip-hop, classical, experimental, pop and EDM.

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