Will K-pop singers be likely contenders for Grammy nods?
K-pop acts’ race to the Grammys continues this year, with a growing number of artists bidding to make inroads into the world’s most prestigious music event. And this time, it’s not just BTS.
Reports from the US music industry showed that the nominee selection process for the 66th Grammy Awards has commenced recently, with a sizable batch of K-pop singers and groups spotted among the hopefuls.
K-pop’s biggest group and three-time Grammy nominee BTS is taking another shot—this time, not as a group, but with the seven members each submitting individual entries.
Topping in number of submissions is Jimin, who entered in a total of six categories including for song of the year and rookie of the year with “Like Crazy.” He also entered “Face” for best pop vocal album, along with the original soundtrack song “Angel Pt. 1” for the film “Fast X” under best pop duo/group performance.
Jungkook submitted his Billboard Hot 100-topping single “Seven (feat. Latto)” in four categories: rookie of the year, song of the year, best pop duo/group performance and best music video.
The septet’s rappers, RM and Suga, each submitted in three categories. RM is vying for best pop vocal album with his solo LP “Indigo.” He is also entering for best pop duo/group performance and best music video with his album’s main song, “Wild Flower.” Meanwhile, under his solo alias Agust D, Suga submitted for best rap album with “D-Day” and in for best rap performance and best music video with “Haegeum.”
V presented his album “Layover” for consideration in the best pop vocal album category. He also submitted his song “Slow Dancing” for best pop solo performance and best music video, while Jin submitted his song “On the Street” for best pop solo performance and best music video.
J-Hope’s “On the Street,” which the BTS rapper-dancer composed and featured in a music video in collaboration with American rapper J. Cole, was entered for best pop duo/group performance and best music video.
BTS’ brother group of label Big Hit Music, Tomorrow X Together, joins the race with “Back for More,” featuring Brazilian singer Anitta, submitted in the best pop duo/group performance category. It also submitted “Sugar Rush Ride” for best music video. Its recent Disney+ documentary is also submitted for the best music film category.
Several K-pop acts are competing for a best new artist nomination, including Stray Kids, aespa, Seventeen and Fifty Fifty.
On top, Stray Kids has submitted its Billboard 200-topping LP “5-Star” for album of the year and best pop vocal album. The album’s focal track, “S-Class,” was submitted in four categories including rookie of the year and song of the year.
Vying against Stray Kids’ “S-Class,” which was submitted to four categories, is girl group Twice’s disco anthem “Set Me Free.” Twice’s album “Ready to Be” appears on the list of entries for the album of the year and the pop vocal album.
Sensational rookie group Fifty Fifty takes its first shot at a Grammy nomination. The band submitted its megahit “Cupid” for a potential nod in four categories including record of the year and song of the year, while its “Barbie” original soundtrack song, “Barbie Dreams,” featuring Kaliii, has been submitted for best pop duo/group performance.
Also vying for a nomination in the best pop duo/group performance are NCT Dream’s “Broken Melodies” and Jon Batiste’s “Be Who You Are,” featuring K-pop girl group NewJeans.
The Grammy Awards is considered one of the three most influential music awards in the US, along with the Billboard Music Awards and the American Music Awards. Once considered impenetrable for Korean musicians, BTS made a breakthrough in 2021 when its English-language pop song “Dynamite” received a nod for best pop duo/group performance—becoming the first K-pop act to get a Grammy nomination.
While this is not the first time that multiple K-pop artists have jumped in to win a ticket to the Grammys, the pool is larger than usual, music critic Jung Min-jae told The Korea Herald.
“Submissions have always been open to everyone. But in the past, it was overlooked by K-pop acts, or, more precisely put, considered unattainable by them,” said Jung, who added the surge in K-pop entries mainly results from BTS members’ individual participation.
Partaking in the bid itself carries more significance for both the musicians and the industry than before, the critic added, saying, “It’s like the Academy Awards. The whole nation talks about which Korean films will go out to compete, and that itself garners a spotlight.”
He was quite skeptical on seeing any K-pop artists getting shortlisted this year, however.
“Most are commercial songs. Even the two most successful on the charts, ‘Seven’ and ‘Cupid,’ are more commercial hits who may be assessed on a different note artistically. Commercial clout has become more important in the Grammys, but artistic merit, such as the singer’s contribution in the song-making, plays more dominantly,” Jung added.
The first-round voting for the 66th edition of the Grammy Awards began on Oct. 11 and will run until this Friday, US time. The eligible voting members of the Recording Academy, the event’s hosting body, will select the nominees and announce the full list on Nov. 10.
The final winners will be pronounced at the awarding ceremony slated to take place on Feb. 5, 2024, at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. HM/ra