Entertainers Shaggy and Ziggy Marley have been touted among the Jamaican acts who may make the shortlist for the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. Popcaan, Protoje, Agent Sasco and Etana, who all produced solid albums this year, are also said to be knocking on the nomination door.
But at least one music producer believes the focus on the Grammy nomination should extend beyond the country’s borders. Sean ‘Contractor’ Edwards feels that there are quite a few foreign acts that could pose a real challenge to local acts.
“I don’t want to put this too much out there, but we have to acknowledge the competition in all things and we have some strong international contenders this year,” he said.
“Rebelution is definitely a big contender, and Common Kings are also in the running. Estelle, who recently released her album, is big contender as well,” Edwards said.
Rebelution, a band, is said to be dominating American reggae radio. Its album, Free Rein, features collaboration with three Jamaicans – Don Corleon, Winta James and Chronixx.
Estelle’s Lovers Rock also features the voices of Jamaicans – Kranium, Konshens and Chronixx.
Edwards has also listed UB40, Alberosie and Slightly Stoopid as possible nominees.
Although a Jamaican has won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album since the category was introduced in 1985, the number of non-Jamaicans gaining nominations in the category has been steadily increasing over the years. Non-Jamaicans have been gaining nominations in the Reggae category from as early as 1986. That year, The Blue Riddim Band, a Kansas City, Missouri-based reggae band, gained a spot in the final five. The Grammy was won by Jimmy Cliff for his album Cliff Hanger that year.
In 2017, although Ziggy Marley won the award, non-Jamaicans dominated the nominations list, copping three of the five spots.
“I’m happy that Jamaicans are winning. I don’t want to sound biased because you have international acts that are doing well on the global scene for reggae music. Acts like Rebelution are huge international acts, but Jamaica is where reggae started and so much of our economic returns comes from reggae music that I’m happy we’re holding on to it in this regard,” he said.
The nominees for the 61st Grammy Awards will be announced later this year. The deadline for submissions is September 30. According to the Grammy website, the process begins with members and record companies submitting entries, which are then screened for eligibility and category placement.