Brandi Carlile ‘Disappointed’ in Grammys Moving ‘Right on Time’ From American Roots to Pop

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Brandi Carlile’s single “Right on Time,” from her recent Billboard Top Americana/Folk Albums and Top Rock Albums No. 1 album In These Silent Days, has been moved from the American roots Grammys categories to the pop category.

“Right on Time” was submitted for record of the year, song of the year, best American roots song, best American roots performance and best music video, short form. The song was accepted in the all-genre record of the year, song of the year and music video categories, but removed from American roots song and American roots performance categories and placed in the pop solo performance category. Carlile’s album In These Silent Days, which released Oct. 1, is not eligible for this year’s Grammys, as it was released outside the eligibility period, which closed Sept. 30.

Carlile took to social media on Tuesday (Oct. 26) to express her disappointment in the news.

“While I’m incredibly flattered to be considered ‘pop’ as a 40-year-old crooning lesbian mother, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit surprised and disappointed to learn the Recording Academy decided to move ‘Right on Time’ out of the American Roots genre and into the pop category. Being recognized by the Grammys–in any form–is a great honor. I just want folks to know that this wasn’t my decision. Regardless, it doesn’t change who I am or what my Americana community continues to mean to me.”

Of Carlile’s six Grammy wins, half have been in the Americana and American Roots categories. At the 2019 Grammy Awards, Carlile won best American roots performance and best American roots song, both for “The Joke.” Her 2018 album By the Way, I Forgive You also won for best Americana album. That same year, her music was nominated in the all-genre record of the year, album of the year and song of the year categories as well. At the 2016 Grammy Awards, Carlile’s The Firewatcher’s Daughter earned a nomination for best Americana album.

Carlile’s other three Grammy wins thus far have included best country song, for the track “Crowded Table,” which she wrote and recorded as part of the group The Highwomen. Carlile also won best country song for her writing on Tanya Tucker’s track “Bring My Flowers Now” and best country album for her production work on Tucker’s While I’m Livin’ album.

In her statement on social media (read the post in full below), Carlile highlighted her commitment to the Americana genre. “Americana/American Roots is more than a genre to me,” Carlile wrote. “It represents my community, my family, my friends, and my beautiful island of misfits. I am also proud that it represents a great number of people actively WORKING to platform marginalized people–LGBTQIA, women, and people of color (who, of course, actually built the genre).”

Carlile highlighted that she has been the recipient of the Americana Music Association’s artist of the year honor twice. She also noted of In These Silent Days, “It was an honor to have made my album at the same place I made my last one [By the Way, I Forgive You]…and with all the same folks! Same producers and band. I cut every song live with acoustic guitars, vintage electrics plugged into old Fender amps, beautifully aged pianos, and with my fog horn vocals bleeding into every mic.”

The Recording Academy has recently come under criticism for similar category shifts. Kacey Musgraves’ album star-crossed, which was released in September via a joint partnership between UMGN’s MCA Nashville imprint and pop label Interscope Records, was deemed ineligible for the best country album Grammys category (though a song from that album, “Camera Roll,” was submitted and accepted in the best country song category). The news prompted UMGN president Cindy Mabe to issue a letter to the Recording Academy, denouncing the decision.

Bo Burnham’s album Inside (The Songs), which was the biggest album of the year on Billboard’s Comedy Albums chart was also recently deemed ineligible for best comedy album at the upcoming Grammy Awards and will compete instead for best compilation soundtrack for visual media.

The Recording Academy did not immediately respond to Billboard’s request for comment.

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