The Grammy’s, local music and the trouble with awards

The Grammy’s have come and gone, leaving much of the year’s best music without mention–let alone accolades–while the usual pablum from the top-40 arena gets all the love. In terms of live performances, the Lil Wayne/Eminem number was embarrassing considering how much real talent was on that stage. Pink’s acrobatic number was stunning but somewhat distracting too. Is her voice not enough?  Talk about gilding the lily. Pink’s underrated vocal ability rivals that of every female singer who was  in the room that night, including Beyonce and Taylor Swift (ugh). She could have performed that song from inside a cardboard box and it would have been spectacular.

That all said, the Reporter’s main music writers, myself included, have finalized our choices for bands/artists to keep an eye on in 2010 in anticipation of our annual local music issue in late March. This year we are planning our first ever live event to showcase some of the musical artists we’ve chosen, and we’re pretty excited about it.

Someone in the Reporter camp raised the idea of music awards and it made me wince.  While I’m absolutely in favor of celebrating local talent, committed to it on every level, I find art too variable and personal to judge objectively. Competition, whether it be through an awards system or a simple battle of the bands, to some extent devalues the artist and creates division where there should be unity.

At the end of 2008, Ventura County experienced  its own micro-Grammy’s by way of the MAVRIC music awards. The end of ’09,  saw no repeat of the awards. I’m not entirely surprised given what a massive undertaking it was and the problems that are built-in to such a project like accurately categorizing genres and creating meaningful, valid criteria for judging.

In the end, I’d rather leave awards out of the equation and continue to find creative ways to give local music the attention and support it deserves.

Stay tuned for more info about the VCReporter local music issue and showcase.

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