Grammys give Linda Chorney a late nomination after initial confusion

Singer-songwriter Linda Chorney belatedly landed a Grammy in the American Roots category, after Recording Academy President and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. personally delved into the mystery of the absence of her name in official nominations, even though a few firsts in the news accounts had listed her as a nominee.

It seemed like a strange coincidence that Chorney, of all people – a former contestant with a Grammy-related controversy in her past – would have accidentally been the random victim of a Grammy snafu. But, as Mason discovered and was able to relay it to Chorney this week, it was no coincidence. His appointment had been flagged up by someone within the Academy for an audit, particularly because of that past … and that had not been resolved by the time the appointments were officially announced on November 23, at which another candidate was presented to him. place.

Now her song “Bored” has been reinstated on the ballot. And there are six songs vying for in the American Roots category, as the number that had been raised to replace hers will retain her nomination.

The Recording Academy said in a statement Wednesday: “Ms. Chorney’s song ‘Bored’ was voted Best American Song by her peers. Before the list of nominations was certified, the song was pulled while representatives from Deloitte performed an audit. This audit is now complete and Ms. Chorney’s recording has been added. We apologize for any inconvenience this delay may have caused, but it is essential to ensure the integrity of our voting process. The Recording Academy congratulates Ms. Chorney and all of the nominees in this category.

Talk with VarietyChorney was exuberant after nine days of anxiety over whether she had an appointment and uncertainty as to what was causing the confusion. “It’s amazing what Harvey Mason Jr. did to make sure everything was going well,” she said. “It was not an easy week, but I am so honored to have been nominated for my music by the other members. It’s amazing and wonderful, but on top of that I’m amazed Harvey did the right thing. It is quite remarkable. I believe this is the guy who took the Recording Academy in an amazing direction, because I don’t know if anybody would lean like that for an indie.

Chorney had been experiencing a mood boomerang since the morning of November 23, when she stood up to watch the nominations announced online and realized her song wasn’t one of them. It was later that night that a puzzling development happened: Her phone started ringing with Google news alerts showing that a few news agencies around the world – mostly obscure, but also in the minus one international iteration of Rolling Stone among them – listed “Bored” under the American roots songs category in place of a song by Rhiannon Giddens that had been officially announced as one of the first five hours earlier.

Chorney contacted one of the reporters who listed her song, who only said she had copied and pasted it from another source and was “correcting” the information to reflect what was officially released. of the Academy. Chorney was finally able to ensure that “Bored” first appeared on a leaked list of nominees that had circulated the previous week – apparently the same document the New York Times obtained that showed who were the top eight nominees in the week. the four generals. -categories of land before the directors hold a meeting to increase this number from eight to 10 on November 22.

Chorney, naturally, wondered why she had been pushed around. Her first suspicion was that one of the Americana genre “gatekeepers” who had opposed her 2012 Grammy nomination saw the list leaked and somehow convinced the Academy to cancel her nomination just before she was nominated. be made public. But she accepts Mason’s explanation that no outside intrigue was involved, but rather that the nod was stuck in an internal process.

There’s a fair amount of story to catch up on here to understand Chorney’s past ups and downs with the Grammys, and why someone in the organization might have picked their nomination for an audit. Specifically, Chorney says Mason told her that a book she wrote about her bumpy run as a previous Grammy nominee, and a subsequent dramatic film she made about her experiences (in which she starred herself), “When I Sing”, were what drove someone in the organization to want to make sure everything about their new appointment was legitimate.

When nominations for the 55th Annual Grammys were announced in late 2011, Chorney’s inclusion came as a shock to the somewhat tight-knit American music community, few of whom had heard of before, and not all were convinced that ‘she belonged to the category. . Wrote Variety in a December 2011 story: “Armed with only a computer and a little nerve, a longshot slipped through the back door and into this year’s Grammy competition. Ingenious Linda Chorney earned a Grammy nomination in the Americana Album category for her self-produced and self-produced “Emotional Jukebox” by pitching her mission directly to voters, using the peer-to-peer feature of the United States’ own site. Recording Academy for members, Grammy 365. Many members of the tight-knit American community have reacted questioningly, and sometimes vehemently, to the nomination of Chorney, which outweighed several well-known artists in the genre.

At the time, Chorney’s feud, if it had one, was with America’s bigwigs opposing her getting a nomination for an album with no radio show and no recorded sales. But subsequently, the Academy made its own changes which it said were aimed at preventing a lesser-recognized artist like her from receiving a nomination again. The Academy got rid of the Grammy 365 site that had allowed members of all levels to network during the voting process. At least as importantly, in his mind, an Nominations Oversight Board was created to review Americana nominations, just as it existed for most other genres. Chorney said the late Louis Meyers, one of the co-founders of South by Southwest, told him this was done at least in part in response to his appointment.

In keeping with her DIY attitude, she not only wrote a self-published book about the whole experience, but also made a self-funded movie about it. Chorney says she feared she used the book and film projects to boast about her ability to make the system work to her advantage, which set off the alarm bells for her return to the winner’s circle this time. year.

“The reason I submitted this year is that, A, there were no more committees for the first time since the year I was appointed, so it was full democracy again,” she says. “I wanted to prove that my first appointment was not a fluke, because I took so much shit for it. The first reason was my own validation. And second, I did it just to get the indies recognized, for us to be out there. There are people in creepy little bars that are around the corner and sometimes when people are really listening they are like “God, that person is good” … a lot of amazingly talented indie musicians lugging their own equipment and doing their thing. own marketing. And so I definitely dedicate my appointment to each of them.

But then when her name popped up as a nominated mystery, is she or isn’t she, she had a third reason: to find out if she wasn’t getting fucked or fucked.

When Google Alerts with his name started coming in, “I was like, ‘Is this a cruel joke? Do the keepers who made up stories about me 10 years ago really still hold a grudge? Is someone doing this to me? ‘ And I was really pissed off. I didn’t sleep all night thinking someone was laughing at me.

Around 2 a.m. the day before Thanksgiving morning, she emailed Mason, “I heard you have a really good reputation, so I hope you do the right thing.” I haven’t slept for two days. And then I introduced myself and told my story about the Grammy nomination and the controversy and all the bullying that I went through just because of the fake news that I cheated. I said, ‘Can you help me? Because it seems to me that I was nominated and then withdrawn. At 6:20 am Los Angeles time the next morning, I received an email directly from him. He said, ‘I’m so, so sorry that you’re going through this. I will personally review this myself and get to the bottom of this. Take care and try to have a nice Thanksgiving and I will get back to you. “He kept in touch with her, letting her know that he was still on the case with people from both the Recording Academy and her vote accounting company.” And then on Tuesday he told me. called and he said, “Linda, we went to Deloitte, we looked at every lone vote you got, and each one was valid. You got your nomination back.

Chorney says she was told she was flagged “because I had a book and my movie about my Grammy nomination in 2012. And someone – not Harvey – thought it was bad. thing and had the bad judgment to pull me out, rather than go to Deloitte first and look at the votes and then come to the conclusion. ”And they apologized.

The Recording Academy declined to comment beyond its statement and apology, but does not dispute the details of how Chorney says things turned out.

Chorney says she’s never been anti-Grammys, although beyond her book and movie she started a petition several years ago to get rid of the nominating committees – something that is coming. to perform with this latest cycle – which she says was signed by 400 other Academy members. “MYes my movie and my book weren’t against the Grammys at all, just against the Guardians, ”she says. And now, for her part, she says, “In the end, Harvey Mason Jr. did the right thing. I just told him, ‘I hope your integrity is contagious.’ “

Chorney faces a tough road to victory, taking on as she now does more widely recognized American favorites like Giddens, Valerie June and Yola, as well as newcomer Allison Russell and frontman of nominees of all genres Jon Batiste. . But for now, she says all she has to do is go share a tearful hug with her supportive dad, which she shared on Facebook (see above). And she adds that Mason told her that she could get a show ticket during the pre-screening ceremony.

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