With the Grammy Awards coming up this weekend, have you ever wondered exactly how these artists are nominated and who votes for the award winners?
Vocal instructor and chair of the music department at the Patel Conservatory Gregory Ruffer offers insight into how it all works.
Ruffer actually gets to vote on the Grammys.
How does it work?
Ruffer is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the association for recording professionals which hosts the Grammy Awards.
“In order to be a voting member, you’re required to have six commercially released recordings, and one of them had to win a Grammy,” explained Ruffer.
In 1996, Ruffer sang with the National Symphony Orchestra and The Washington Chorus under the direction of Leonard Slatkin on the CD Of Rage and Remem’brance, a piece by composer John Corigliano. The CD won the Grammy that year for Classical Album of the Year.
The Grammy qualified Ruffer to become a voting member of the Recording Academy.
“I was very fascinated by the process, and it was an interesting idea to me,” said Ruffer.
He explains, “Voting members of the association start nominating in the fall... You can nominate anyone you want.”
Once the nominations are in, the ballots go out. Each member votes on nine categories. The first two are Artist of the Year and Album of the Year. Members then vote on seven more categories with which they’re most comfortable.
“I mostly vote on classical music categories. I sometimes vote on film scores,” said Ruffer. “I rarely vote on pop music, but a couple of years ago, I was intrigued by the work Katy Perry was doing, so I voted for her.”
While it’s impossible to know all artists in all categories, Ruffer says he tries to listen to as many different artists and music styles as he can before he votes.
“Sometimes you just know the quality of the artists,” he said. “It’s a real privilege to be a part of the process. It makes me feel connected to the artistic community.”