As Grammy Awards announce April date, we take a look at this year’s Dance/Electronic categories
A new date has been confirmed for the 64th Grammy Awards. Originally scheduled to take place on January 31st in Los Angeles, the awards and show were delayed indefinitely due to the surge of the Omicron variant in the US. The ceremony will now take place on April 3rd, and will be held in Las Vegas for the first time in its history. Unsurprisingly, MGM Grand Garden Arena is the confirmed venue. The arena has housed the Latin Grammys for over a decade. South African comedian Trevor Noah is set to reprise his role as host from last year.
In the Dance/Electronic categories, nods have been given to major players in the EDM sect such as Major Lazer and Marshmellow, who are both up for Best Dance/Electronic album. More promising is a nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album for South Africa’s Black Coffee, who gets a nod for his album Subconsciously. This marks the first time a South African artist has been nominated in the Dance/Electronic fields. Other contenders in the category include Illenium, Sylvan Esso, and Ten City. In the Best Dance/Electronic Recording category, Bonobo scores two nods, one for Heartbreak with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and another as featured artist on Ólafur Arnalds’s Loom. Also in contention is Caribou for his goofy yet delightful You Can Do It and James Blake for micro-house track Before. Tiësto, David Guetta & Afrojack, and Australian trio Rüfüs Du Sol round off the category.
While 2021 was a divisive year for dance music, it’s disappointing to see that the category continues to be ruled by big ticket acts, especially for a year which saw excellent turns from ‘independent’ artists such as Loraine James, A.G. Cook and Jana Rush. It’s unclear whether these artists and their labels submitted work for the Academy’s consideration, and also understandable why they might choose not to. The Grammy’s Dance/Electronic categories have historically been a poor reflection of the scene. For the most part, these categories have been used as extensions of their pop categories, awarding prizes to pop songs produced by electronic musicians (Rihanna comes to mind) for a period of time before the rules of the category were changed to avoid this. Still, acts like indie pop duo and previous winners of Best Dance/Electronic Album, Sylvan Esso continue to be given space in the categories, which suggests that the Recording Academy’s definition of what qualifies classification as ‘dance’ and ‘electronic’ may be malleable or flawed.
The 64th Grammy Awards happen Sunday, April 3 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will air live on CBS at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET, as well as streaming live and on-demand on Paramount+.