Brandi Carlile Says She's 'Disappointed' at Grammys for Changing Song Category from Americana to Pop

"I feel great responsibility in representing marginalized queer people in rural America who are raised on country and roots music but are repeatedly... rejected by the correlating culture," she wrote

Brandi Carlile
Photo: Phil McCarten/CBS via Getty

Brandi Carlile is proud to be an Americana artist.

On Wednesday, the "Broken Horses" songstress expressed her "disappointment" with the Recording Academy after her track "Right on Time" was assigned to the pop category instead of American Roots on the ballot for next year's Grammy Awards.

"While I'm incredibly flattered to be considered 'pop' as a 40-year-old crooning lesbian mother, I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit surprised and disappointed to learn the Recording Academy decided to move 'Right On Time' out of the American Roots genre and into the pop category," she wrote.

She added, "Being recognized by the Grammys — in any form — is a great honor. I just want folks to know this wasn't my decision. Regardless, it doesn't change who I am or what my Americana community continues to mean to me."

Earlier in her statement, the singer expressed how Americana is "more than a genre" to her and how it represents her community and her "beautiful island of misfits."

"I am also proud that it represents a great number of people actively WORKING to platform marginalized people - LGBTQIA, women, and people of color (who, of course, actually built the genre)," she wrote. "The importance of staying and working within Americana is greater than just me. There is not a moment where I don't view my role as something larger."

She continued, "I feel great responsibility in representing marginalized queer people in rural America who are raised on country and roots music but are repeatedly and systematically rejected by the correlating culture. Every rung I can sling my gay sequined boot up on top of gets queer people a little higher on the ladder to being seen as just a bit more human in the great American roots landscape."

The singer referred to her back-to-back artist of the year awards from the Americana Association and how she debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Americana chart with both her last album By the Way, I Forgive You and her most recent. In These Silent Days.

"It was an honor to have made my album at the same place I made my last one….and with all the same folks! Same producers and band. I cut every song live with acoustic guitars, vintage electrics plugged into old fender amps, beautifully aged pianos and with my fog horn vocals bleeding into every mic," she wrote.

At the 2019 Grammy Awards, her album By the Way, I Forgive You took home the award for best Americana album, while "The Joke" won for both best American Roots performance and song. ("The Joke" was also up for record and song of the year that year.)

And at both the 2020 and 2021 Grammys, she took home the award for best country song for "Bring My Flowers Now" and "Crowded Table," respectively. She also won best country album for While I'm Livin' in 2020. (She was first nominated for an award in 2016 for The Firewatcher's Daughter in the best Americana album category.)

The category change for Carlile comes after Kacey Musgraves learned that her album Star-Crossed would not be considered country, several years after winning album of the year for country LP Golden Hour. Musgraves, for her part, shared photos of herself with country music's biggest stars on her Instagram Stories.

"You can take the girl out of the country (genre) but you can't take the country out of the girl," she wrote.

Related Articles