Vince Gill Defends Grammys After Diversity Criticism, Says It’s ‘What’s Great’ That Matters Most
Not for the first time, the Grammy Awards have come under fire for a lack of diversity: In this instance, the hashtag #GrammysSoMale began circling the internet after the 60th annual awards ceremony, during which only one woman, Alessia Cara, went home with a major award.
The Recording Academy also drew criticism for not having nominee Lorde on to perform during last month's live broadcast, as well as offering only one other televised award to a woman. The recipient was Rihanna, for a collaboration with Kendrick Lamar.
The situation only intensified after the Academy's CEO Neil Portnow responded to criticism by saying that women need to "step up," an apparent implication that Grammy Awards recipients are typically male because of a lack of effort on the part of female artists. Portnow later said that the suggestion was regrettable, taken out of context and that it does not reflect his beliefs.
However, Vince Gill spoke out in defense of the ceremony before a benefit concert at the Country Music Hall of Fame on Feb. 13, saying it's "impossible" to honor everyone in a given year and that it's "what's great" that should matter most in the end.
"I look at it kind of trying to see the whole field, you know," the singer and new Eagles member explains. "I think the Grammys will go on and the country artists will feel slighted. Or maybe the classical people will feel slighted. It's impossible to pull off something like that and not leave a few people by the wayside."
Gill shared the stage at the Feb. 13 benefit concert with Emmylou Harris, Maren Morris and Kesha. "You're looking at three really open-minded musical people," he went on to say, indicating the artists beside him. "We don't care about genres, or color of skin, or gender, or anything. We just love playing music with great people."
Morris agreed with Gill, citing Alison Krauss, who has won 27 Grammys and is tied with Quincy Jones for second place in terms of number of total Grammy wins. (In first place, by the way, is Hungarian composer Georg Sorti, with 31.) However, Morris also stated that there's always room for improvement.
"There's always some things that need to be looked at, I think," Morris said. "Maybe it's just voting members. Maybe we need to expand on that."
For her part, Harris added that while she feels that her personal path has been "pretty unfettered with those kinds of things," she knows that women in music commonly face challenges such as sexual misconduct, discrimination and unfair treatment from within the industry.
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