Morgan Wallen May Get Shut Out Of The Grammys Again, Here’s Why
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Morgan Wallen finds himself in an unusual position. Despite his undeniable popularity and remarkable success in 2023, he remains a long shot for a Grammy nomination. Some might assume that his past controversies, including a racial slur and a disregard for COVID protocols, are the primary reasons behind this snub. However, according to insiders and Grammy voters, there are more complex factors at play.
Why Morgan Wallen May Get Shut Out Of The Grammys Again
In 2023, Wallen’s hit song “Last Night” garnered significant attention. It became the second longest-running single to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, maintaining its number one spot for an astonishing 16 non-consecutive weeks. This achievement was particularly significant for country music, as it marked the first time a solo male artist had topped the Hot 100 in over four decades.
Wallen’s 36-song collection, One Thing at a Time, also achieved remarkable success, spending 16 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200. With a total of 53 gold and platinum singles and albums since his debut in 2016, Wallen’s accomplishments are hard to overlook. However, despite his impressive commercial achievements, he has never received a Grammy nomination.
Tracy Gershon, a trustee of the Recording Academy’s Nashville chapter, points out that Grammy voters often prioritize artistic merit over commercial popularity when making their selections. She explains that while blockbuster status is impressive, it does not necessarily guarantee Grammy recognition.
“Last Night” may have been a massive crossover hit, but it didn’t align with the Recording Academy’s traditional preferences, especially in the country music category. This raises questions about whether Wallen’s style of hyper-commercial country music is not what the Academy typically celebrates.
It’s worth noting that Wallen’s past transgressions, such as the racial slur and COVID protocol violations, may still influence the opinions of some Grammy decision-makers. However, according to one West Coast Recording Academy member, it’s not the primary factor. Instead, it appears that Wallen’s music simply resonates less with coastal audiences and Academy members than it does with middle America.
“Last Night” Compared To Other Grammy Award Winning Songs
Comparing Wallen’s “Last Night” to classics like Dolly Parton‘s “9 to 5” reveals that musically it may be more aligned to songs like “Cruise,” a hit by Florida Georgia Line from 2012. While “Last Night” has impressive commercial numbers, it doesn’t necessarily match the artistic and cultural impact of some legendary country songs.
Recent Grammy nominations and awards in the country music category have favored artists and projects with minimal commercial impact but significant artistic merit. For instance, Willie Nelson won in both the country album and solo performance categories in 2023 with “A Beautiful Time,” a project that didn’t achieve massive commercial success. Even prominent figures like Luke Bryan have never received a Grammy nomination.
As the 2024 Grammy Awards approach, many traditional favorites in the country music industry are eligible for nominations, including Chris Stapleton, Tanya Tucker, Ashley McBryde, and Luke Combs, among others. These artists are competing for just five slots per category, making the competition tough.