In an interview with Variety after the 2024 GRAMMY nominations were announced Friday, the CEO of The Recording Academy shared his immediate reaction after one of the most commercially successful artists failed to get a nom. And it wasn’t just Wallen. Fellow country superstar Luke Combs also got snubbed.
Calling it a “sore spot,” Variety asked Mason if he ever says to himself, “Come on, we have to be fair here?” whenever it seems like there could be a deliberate snub, given Wallen’s controversial past. Mason says that when it comes to snubs, he’s disappointed, but he also reminds fans that evaluating music is always subjective.
“I always believe that we’ve got to be fair and we have to be honest — I think that goes without saying,” he told the outlet. “But music is subjective, and when you’re evaluating it, a lot goes into that. Our voters, I believe, take that task very seriously. I think they generally do a really good job, doing the work of listening and making decisions based on the music, but it is subjective. And when it comes to snubs, it absolutely disappoints me — I’m affected by it, for sure.”
As ET noted immediately after the GRAMMY nominations were announced, Latin artists were also noticeably left out of the Big 4 General Field categories — Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best New Artist — much to the chagrin of many.
Peso Pluma, for example, forced the music industry as a whole to pay attention to his rise earlier this year thanks to “Ella Baila Sola.” The track topped the Billboard 100 chart this year, becoming the first regional Mexican song ever to do so. The 24-year-old’s catchy tune also earned the distinct notion of officially becoming Spotify’s global Song of the Summer thanks to its whopping 367 million streams, but the Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico, native was nowhere on the Best New Artist list of nominees.
Ditto for Bad Bunny in the Album of the Year category, prompting one writer to ask if it’s perhaps time to consider that the recognition of the Latin GRAMMYs is allowing the Recording Academy to slack a bit when it comes to recognizing the success of Latin music in the mainstream.
“I know what it feels like to put all your heart and soul into a project that you really believe that you believe is the best work,” Mason said. “So, it disappoints me, I always want to make sure we’re being representative and we’re being accurate. But it’s very subjective.”
As for Wallen, the snub feels even more egregious given One Thing at a Time — a 36-track banger about whiskey and women — is still at the top of the Billboard Country charts after 28 weeks. His single, “Last Night,” scored a Best Country Song nomination, but that category honors the songwriters — John Byron, Ashley Gorley, Jacob Kasher Hindlin, and Ryan Vojtesak — and not the performer.