A little more than a year ago, I wrote a post expressing some disbelief at the entire slate of the 54th Grammy Award nominees for Best Children's Album. When this year's slate of nominees was announced in December 2012, I outlined why I thought it was a better slate, completely setting aside whether I liked the slate as a whole better than last year's. But I also made the erroneous assumption that the nomination process was unchanged from the year before, when participation in Grammy365, the Recording Academy's social networking site for members, appeared from the outside to be a major determinant of who was nominated.
I heard shortly after that piece that no, in fact, the nominating process for kids' music had changed for the 55th Grammys. Nobody seemed to want to discuss it very much, and I can't say that I blame them -- a select group of Academy members going through the first round of voting and selecting nominees from among them? That would raise questions in the minds of a lot of folks (including me) -- who were on the nominating committee? What albums did they choose from?
I chose not to write about the process at the time because I didn't think I'd be able to get much information. But NPR last weekend aired a story on an issue I'd heard about before -- how an dance music artist with little popular notoriety snagged a Grammy nod amidst some much larger names. And in that piece, a Grammy official noted that other genres -- including kids music -- used an intermediator, the nominating committee.
When I wrote my piece on the nominations 14 months ago, there was dissatisfaction on my part, but undergirding my words were the feelings of lots of other members who felt that something was amiss with the process. And clearly those feelings translated into a changed nomination process -- if everyone had been totally satisfied, then nothing would have changed. And the result? The Okee Dokee Brothers won -- for an album that also happened to win the 2012 Fids and Kamily Awards. And a couple other albums in the top 15 for F&K, The Pop Ups' Radio Jungle and Elizabeth Mitchell's Little Seed, appeared on the nomination list as well. Previous Grammy winner and longtime kids musician and storyteller Bill Harley joined the group. And while none of those artists approach Taylor Swift-ian sales level, they are, within the genre, popular artists. Can You Canoe? sold about 10,000 albums, and Elizabeth Mitchell consistently ranks amongst the KidzBop-ers and Spongebobs on kids music album charts -- she is a superstar of kindie.