Disclaimer: I am not a member of the Board of Governors of HARA. What I write here is based on my prior experience as a board member, continuting interaction with them and other members, and continuing service on the selection committee. Hopefully it will help, inform and entertain you, but take it with a grain of salt, and a dash of sarcasm.
Since last December or so, I’ve gotten a lot of messages, texts, and emails from folks asking for help or advice about their entries for the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards (there is a different season for Grammy requests). Sometimes I feel like I need to add “Music Awards Program Consultant” to my résumé. While it may seem more convoluted than necessary, it’s really not. It is a challenge for the Board and office staff because of the number of categories and variety of criteria that guide them in placing releases in various categories. The changing landscape of the recording industry also requires that they adjust as necessary. Continue reading
This past Tuesday was a pretty good day. It didn’t rank in my Top 10 all-time days–not that I even keep such a list. It doesn’t approach the day I got married, the day our children were born, or when they graduated from high school, or when my son returned home safe from Iraq, or when I watched my daughter bungee jump in New Zealand. But it was still pretty darn good. The final ballot for the 2011 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards were announced that day, and I was humbled to learn that I had two nominations, and my dear friend and partner in music, Kenneth Makuakāne, had eight. What a thrill and honor. And then Friday came along. Continue reading
I found my preliminary ballots for the 2009 and 2010 Grammy Awards. Here’s a breakdown of the entries in the three primary categories that will compete for the “Best Regional Roots Music Album” Grammy in 2012 :
- Best Zydeco Or Cajun Music Album 2009: 30 entries, 2010: 34 entries
- Best Native American Music Album 26 entries, 2010: 32 entries
- Best Hawaiian Music Album 20 entries, 2010: 32 entries
I should note that the Board of Governors of the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording arts went to extraordinary lengths to get entries in 2010. I personally entered half of the 32 entries into the Hawaiian category on behalf of various artists and labels. There likely would have been far less if we had not done so. Given the numbers above, I think it would be foolish for people to assume that Hawaiian releases have no chance of wining the award. It’s all going to come down to networking and PR, as it always has. Which means it will be business as usual for those that covet the trophy.
Today The Recording Academy, bestowers of the annual Grammy Awards, announced a major restructuring of the awards that reduces the number of awards from 109 to 78. This change will be implemented in next years awards–the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. One of the categories affected by this adjustment is the Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Album–it has been eliminated. However, releases that would have been eligible in this category will now be eligible in the new “Best Regional Roots Music Album” at the 54th Grammy Awards. Other genre that previously had their own categories and will be entered in this category next are Best Native American Music Album and Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album. Or course, Hawai‘i releases in other genre categories can enter in those categories.
March has arrived, and with it comes the preparation, printing and mailing of the preliminary ballot for the 2011 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards. Like many, I was oblivious to the amount of work, consideration and communication that goes into this process until I joined the HARA Board of Governors four years ago and subsequently became a member of the selection committee. The amount of work is tremendous, the rewards few, and the consternation is sometimes overhwelming. It’s impossible to please everybody, and the job of finding the appropriate category for many releases is challenging, particulary when the majority are based on musical style (jazz, reggae, rock, etc.), others thematic (Christmas, religious, island music) and some based on language (Hawaiian Album and Language Performance). The committee did an admirable job, and I applaud my colleagues.
Another part of “March Madness” (as I fondly call it), is the beginning of the “awareness campaigns” that are popular during the preliminary and final balloting processes. Neither the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts (the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards) nor the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the Grammy Awards) allows blatant solititation of votes, vote swapping, or other nefarious activities, though I doubt there are many that would deny that it happens with both awards.