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Which of These 5 Nominees Will Win 2021 Best Reggae Album Grammy Award?

17 mins read

Five artists/bands were nominated for the 2021 Best Reggae Grammy Award this year. They represent a mix of youth and experience.

Here are the nominees,

  • Got to be Tough – (Toots & The Maytals)
  • One World – (The Wailers)
  • Upside Down 2020 – (Buju Banton)
  • It All Comes Back To Love – (Maxi Priest)
  • Higher Place – Skip Marley

On January 31, 2021, the 63rd Grammy Awards will air live on CBS and streamed live on Grammy.com. Organizers have indicated that the event will take place, “rain or shine, COVID-19 vaccine or not”. This is a stark contrast from last year’s event.

2020 has been a challenging year for the music industry. The usual release of new albums in the Summer did not materialized as a result of the pandemic. However, according to music industry sources, there was an increase in the number of singles that were released in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Reggae Turntable

Last year Koffee made history when she won the title (Best Reggae Album  Award) won the title for her debut album, Rapture. This was the first time a woman has won the title since 1985.

History of the Best Reggae Album Grammy Awards

The Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album is an award presented at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1985 and originally called the Gramophone Awards, to recording artists for quality works in the reggae music genre. Originally called the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Recording, the honor was presented to artists for eligible songs or albums. The Jamaican group Black Uhuru received the first award in 1985.

Grammy Awards Guidelines for Selection

An album is defined as a collection of audio recordings issued for sale, download or streaming as a unit.

“To qualify as an album, a release must contain at least five tracks (different songs, not different mixes) and have a total playing time of at least 15 minutes, or it may have any number of tracks if the total playing time is at least 30 minutes. An album must contain greater than 50% playing time of newly recorded (within five years of the release date), previously unreleased recordings.”

2021 Nominees 

The five nominees are, Buju Banton, Skip Marley, Maxi Priest, Toots & The Maytals and The Wailers.

Some industry insiders are tipping Skip Marley, the fast-rising grandson of Bob Marley, who seemly heads the Best Reggae Album Grammy Award nominees for next year’s Grammy Awards. His EP, Higher Place, earns one of five calls for that category.

Vote for the artist you think deserves to win the 2021 Best Reggae Album Grammy Award.

About the Nominees

1.Who is Skip Marley?

Skip Marley was born in Jamaica but raised in Miami, Florida. He is the son of Cedella Markey and David Minto. Marley taught himself to play various music instruments.

At the age of 15, his Uncle Stephen Marley called him on stage to sing the chorus of “One Love. By 2015, he released his first single, “Cry to Me”, and a second single called “Life” under the Tuff Gong label.

His professional music career started when he signed with Blue Mountain Music. In an interview with the Jamaican Gleaner, when asked about carrying on the legacy of his Grandfather, Bob Marley, Skip Marley said

“I want to spread positivity through music,” he said. “It’s (carrying on the legacy) not something you think about too much: we’re just family and the understandings are passed on.”

In early 2017, Skip signed on to Island Records and released his debut single with the label, “Lions”, in February 2017.

Marley shot to stardom when he performed with Katy Perry at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards on 12 February 2017. They followed up with another performance at the 2017 Brit Awards on 22 February. They also performed at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards on 5 March.

Skip Marley, H.E.R. – Slow Down

2. Who is Buju Banton?

Buju Banton officially name, Mark Anthony Myrie was born on 15 July 1973). He is widely considered one of the most significant and well-regarded Jamaican reggae dancehall recording artist of all time.

His music career started in 1987 but he attained prominence in 1992 with the release of two albums, Stamina Daddy and Mr. Mention.That year broke the record for No. 1 singles in Jamaica, previously held by Bob Marley and the Wailers.

In 1993 Buju Banton signed with the major label Mercury Records and released Voice of Jamaica. Banton’s music became increasingly influenced by his Rastafari faith. Two albums ‘Til Shiloh and Inna Heights represented a shift in focus and lyrics by the artist.

In 2009, he was arrested on drug-related charges in the United States, his first trial resulting in a hung jury. His 2010 album Before the Dawn won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. In 2011, he was convicted on the criminal charge and was imprisoned in the U.S. until December 2018, whereupon he was deported to Jamaica. Banton has collaborated with many international artists, across various genre.

Blessed-Upside Album

Who is Toots and the Maytals?

Toots and the Maytals, originally called The Maytals, were a Jamaican musical group, one of the best-known ska and rocksteady vocal groups. The Maytals were formed in the early 1960s and were key figures in popularizing reggae music.

Frontman Toots Hibbert is considered a Reggae pioneer on a par with Bob Marley.

His soulful vocal style has been compared to Otis Redding and led him to be named by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Singers. Their 1968 single “Do the Reggay” was the first song to use the word “reggae”, coining the name of the genre and introducing it to a global audience.

The Oxford English Dictionary Credits Toots and the Maytals in the etymology of the word “Reggae”. According to Island Records founder Chris Blackwell “The Maytals were unlike anything else, sensational, raw and dynamic.

Toots Hibbert died on 11 September 2020, at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica.

Reggae Interviews got a rare chance to speak to Frederick “Toots” Hibbert in Kingston, Jamaica about his first single in over a decade “Got to Be Tough.” Lifted from the forthcoming album of the same name, the project has been compiled by Zak Starkey and Sharna “Sshh” Liguz and released via Trojan Jamaica/BMG Records.

Who is Maxi Priest?

Max Alfred “Maxi” Elliott (born 10 June 1961), known by his stage name Maxi Priest, is a British reggae vocalist of Jamaican descent. He is best known for singing reggae music with an R&B influence, otherwise known as reggae fusion. He was one of the first international artists to have success in this genre, and one of the most successful reggae fusion acts of all time.

Maxi Priest was born in Lewisham, London, the second youngest of nine brothers and sisters. His parents had moved to England from Jamaica to provide more opportunity for their family and he grew up listening to gospel, reggae, R&B, and pop music. He first learned to sing in church, encouraged by his mother, who was a Pentecostal missionary. Maxi grew up listening to Jamaican greats such as Dennis Brown, John Holt, Ken Boothe and Gregory Isaacs as well as singers like Marvin Gaye, Al Green, the Beatles, Phil Collins and Frank Sinatra.

As a teenager, he lifted speaker boxes for the Jah Shaka and Negus Negast sound-systems. He was a founder member of Saxon Studio International, and it was with Saxon that Maxi began performing at neighbourhood youth clubs and house parties.

His music is sometimes closer to R&B and pop than to reggae. His cousin, Jacob Miller, a reggae icon, was the frontman in the popular reggae group Inner Circle.

Maxi Priest – If I Was Your Man (S-Curve Records) January 2020

Who Are The Wailers?

The Wailers are a reggae band formed by the remaining members of Bob Marley & the Wailers, following the death of Bob Marley in 1981.

The Wailers began as Bob Marley, Bunny Livingston and Peter Tosh. Following the 1974 parting of The Wailers, Bob Marley proceeded with his group Bob Marley & The Wailers, with the Wailers Band as the backing band, and the I Threes (Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, & Marcia Griffiths) as backup vocalists.

The Wailers Band consisted of, among others, bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett and his brother, drummer Carlton “Carly” Barrett, who had been members of Lee “Scratch” Perry’s studio band, The Upsetters, with whom The Wailers had recorded some of their most notable songs.

After the death of Bob Marley in 1981, the Wailers Band was led by Aston Barrett and Junior Marvin. The band continued to play a heavy worldwide touring schedule. Carlton “Carly” Barrett, 36, was tragically murdered at his Jamaica home in 1987.

In 2008 former Wailers Al Anderson and Junior Marvin formed The Original Wailers, with the latter departing in 2011.

Current members of the band are

  • Aston “Familyman” Barrett
  • Donald Kinsey
  • Aston Barrett Jr.
  • Owen “Dreadie” Reid
  • Josh David Barrett
  • Glen DaCosta
  • Andres Lopez
  • Junior Jazz

THE WAILERS – Live at Uprising Festival 2017

The History of Reggae

The interview above Moderated by Scott Goldman, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares, this conversation explored the history of reggae and featured GRAMMY-winning reggae artist Ziggy Marley, Jamaican reggae singer and Nyabinghi drummer Ras Michael, Lloyd “Bread” McDonald of Jamaican reggae vocal group The Wailing Souls, and Carlton “Santa” Davis, who played drums for bands including Bob Marley & The Wailers.

The panelists discussed a range of topics, including early Jamaican pop music, the creation of reggae as a genre and its early pioneers, and its continued evolution with increasing politically charged lyrics reflecting the social injustices happening in Jamaica.

History of the Grammys

A Grammy Award (stylized as GRAMMY, originally called Gramophone Award), or Grammy, is an honor awarded by The Recording Academy to recognize outstanding achievement in the mainly English-language music industry.

The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. It shares recognition of the music industry as that of the other performance awards such as the Academy Awards (film), the Emmy Awards (television), and the Tony Awards (theatre).

The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held on May 4, 1959, to honor and respect the musical accomplishments by performers for the year 1958. The Grammys had their origin in the Hollywood Walk of Fame project in the 1950s.

As the recording executives chosen for the Walk of Fame committee worked at compiling a list of important recording industry people who might qualify for a Walk of Fame star, they realized there were many more people who were leaders in their business who would never earn a star on Hollywood Boulevard.

The music executives decided to rectify this by creating an award given by their industry similar to the Oscars and the Emmys. This was the beginning of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. After it was decided to create such an award, there was still a question of what to call it; one working title was the Eddie, to honor the inventor of the phonograph, Thomas Edison.

They finally settled on using the name of the invention of Emile Berliner, the gramophone, for the awards, which were first given for the year 1958. The first award ceremony was held simultaneously in two locations on May 4, 1959 – Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills California, and Park Sheraton Hotel in New York City, and 28 Grammys were awarded.

The number of awards given grew and fluctuated over the years with categories added and removed, at one time reaching over 100. The second Grammy Awards, also held in 1959, was the first ceremony to be televised, but the ceremony was not aired live until the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971.

Gramophone trophy

The gold-plated trophies, each depicting a gilded gramophone, are made and assembled by hand by Billings Artworks in Ridgway, Colorado. In 1990 the original Grammy design was revamped, changing the traditional soft lead for a stronger alloy less prone to damage, making the trophy bigger and grander. Billings developed a zinc alloy named grammium, which is trademarked.

The trophies with the recipient’s name engraved on them are not available until after the award announcements, so “stunt” trophies are re-used each year for the broadcast. By February 2009, 7,578 Grammy trophies had been awarded.

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