According to Rolling Stone, Cindy Mabe, President of Kacey’s record label Universal Music Group Nashville, says she has been informed that Kacey’s most recent album, Star-Crossed, will not be eligible in the country music album category this year at the Grammys.
Instead, Star-Crossed was ruled eligible for Pop Vocal Album.
It’s a bit of a shock, considering the fact that Kacey has always been a bit of a critical darling at these types of ceremonies.
Her debut album Same Trailer Different Park won the Grammy for Best Country Album in 2014, then her sophomore record Pageant Material was nominated in the category in 2016, and she won the award for the second time in 2019 with Golden Hour.
In an email obtained by Rolling Stone, Mabe said the decision sets a dangerous precedent for the genre going forward:
“This decision from the country committee to not accept ‘Star-Crossed’ into the country albums category is very inconsistent and calls into question the other agendas that were part of this decision.
The idea that a handful of people including competitors, who would benefit from Kacey not being in the country category, are deciding what is country only exacerbates the problem.
The system is broken and sadly not just for Kacey Musgraves, but for our entire genre because of how these decisions are made for music’s biggest stage.
Building roadblocks for artists who dare to fight the system is so dangerous and against everything I think the Grammys stand for.”
While I absolutely love Kacey and what she’s done for the genre over the years, it’s hard for me to be completely on board with the fact that Star-Crossed is a true “country” album.
Granted, there’s been a handful of previous records nominated in the same category in years past that certainly weren’t true “country” albums either, but I can’t say I disagree with the Academy’s decision.
I mean, Universal Nashville partnered with Interscope Records (a non-country label) to promote and distribute the album. Seems pretty telling of what her own label thought of the record…
Mabe also added that she believes it’s even more unfair considering that Morgan Wallen has seemingly grown his audience after his racial slur incident earlier this year, which whether true or not, has nothing to do with the status of Kacey’s album as a country album.
“Country music has been mired in the controversy surrounding one of the formats biggest artists, Morgan Wallen, who used a racial slur and grew fans and audience from it.
THIS IS NOT ALL THAT WE ARE.
Under the surface are the artists that change it all and they are led by the example of Kacey Musgraves.”
At the end of the day, her previous work, who produced the album, how many songs she wrote, and Morgan Wallen’s success have nothing to do with whether or not the album is country or not. The committee makes its decision solely on the finished product, and they came to the conclusion that Star-Crossed was more closely aligned with the pop genre.