Kristolyn Lloyd at 2018 GRAMMYs
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
Looking Ahead To The 2021 GRAMMY Awards
Given how this year has gone, perhaps you're ready to fast-forward to 2021. Beyond it no longer being 2020, next year has some other big things going for it, including Music's Biggest Night, a.k.a. the 63rd GRAMMY Awards, taking place on Jan. 31, 2021 and recognizing excellence in music released in late 2019 and 2020. Hopefully you're as excited about the show as we are! And while there is still much to be determined, including this year's pack of GRAMMY nominees and, of course, who will take home the golden gramophones based on the GRAMMYs 2021 vote, we defeinitely know enough to be excited.
To help make sure you stay in the loop, read on to learn more important dates and details about GRAMMY nominations, the Recording Academy member voting process and everything else 2021 GRAMMY Awards!
When Is It?
On Jan. 31, 2021, the 63rd GRAMMY Awards will be happening, rain or shine, COVID-19 vaccine or not. Because the show is still months away, whether or not there will be a live audience or red carpet will be determined and revealed closer to the big day, as the health and safety of artists, guests, crew and staff is always front of mind during every GRAMMYs.
How Can I Watch?
Music fans from around the globe will be able to watch the dazzling show live on CBS / CBS All Access. Additionally, the GRAMMY Premiere Ceremony, where the majority of the 84 categories of awards are handed out, will be streamed live on GRAMMY.com. Just like the main show, the Premiere Ceremony also features epic live performances from GRAMMY nominees and star-studded announcers.
What About Nominations?
One of the biggest days in music outside of the show itself is the nominations announcement, when hundreds of artists learn they're in the running for a golden gramophone. For the upcoming 63rd GRAMMY Awards, the nominees for all categories will be announced later this year.
GRAMMY nominations is always a very celebratory day for those nominated. It is truly a moment when all the love, long hours and hard work that was put into the music feels worth it—not only have the artists' peers heard it, they've felt it's worthy of the highest acknowledgment in music. Time to gather the crew on Zoom and pop some bubbly!
What Releases Are Eligible?
The Product Eligibility Period for the 63rd GRAMMY Awards is Sept. 1, 2019—Aug. 31, 2020.
What Will The Show Look Like?
While the format of next year's GRAMMY Awards has not been announced, Harvey Mason jr., the Recording Academy Interim President/CEO, offered some insight on what to expect at the 2021 show back in June during an interview with Variety.
"We are simultaneously developing three plans for what the show would look like: One is the traditional show with the full crowd, two is a limited crowd, and three is no crowd, and there's creative around all three of those ideas: how and where we would film it. But none of them involve changing or postponing the date," said Mason.
"I've spent a lot of time talking to artists, managers and labels and getting a feel for how the pandemic is affecting the release of music—and as I'm sure you've noticed, the amount of music released has actually increased during the pandemic, so we would not want to delay our date with so much great music coming out," he continued.
"But I also think it's important and helpful to have shows like this, when there's been so much uncertainty and unrest—to have something you know is coming around every year and to know there's a time when we all sit down together and watch great entertainment and art… We're trying to build the next evolution of the Academy, and the show will go hand-in-hand with that. Whether it's with a crowd or not, we're going to try to take things to the next level," Mason added.
Recently, on Sept. 30, he spoke to Variety again and added that no matter what, the show will be executed fully live, with no pre-recorded segments.
"We're looking at Staples [Center] with a limited audience, although that seems increasingly unlikely; Staples with live performances and no audience; or something a little more virtual, with some elements from different locations," Mason said. "We're still waiting to hear back from our partners at the network and the venue and our medical experts, because obviously we want this to be safe for everyone. But the date is definitely Jan. 31, and it's going to be a spectacular show."
"Obviously, this is a very unique year. We've been looking at all of the [2020 awards] shows really closely and I've been talking with some of the people who put them together—the creative and also the business side. I think there have been some great examples of how to present music and awards at these shows, and I think there's some other things that we're gonna do pretty differently. The civic and social unrest deserves to be addressed, and we always encourage artists to voice their opinions, so I expect we'll see messages both from the artists' side and the Academy side."
We can't wait for all the magical GRAMMY moments, epic performances and moving speeches—it's exactly what we need to start 2021 off on an inspirational note. While you'll have to wait to closer to the show to find out who the performers and presenters are (which are always announced in multiple waves), what's certain is things will be off the chain.
What's New For 2021?
There are quite a few exciting changes going into effect with the 63rd GRAMMY Awards! Following Ken Ehrlich's celebrated 40-year run as the show's executive producer, Emmy Award-winning producer Ben Winston is taking over the reins. The highly experienced TV/film writer/director/producer has worked on "The Late Late Show with James Corden," co-creating Corden's beloved "Carpool Karaoke" show with the comedian himself.
Additionally, several major changes to the voting guidelines and rules, the latter which affects five award categories, go into effect this year. These updates, announced in June, reflect the Recording Academy's ongoing commitment to evolve with the musical landscape and to ensure that the nomination process and rules are more transparent and fair. More details on the changes can be found in the above link, but, the rule/category updates are highlighted below.
- Best Urban Contemporary Album has been renamed Best Progressive R&B Album to include a more accurate definition to describe the merit or characteristics of music compositions or performances within the genre of R&B.
- Best Rap/Sung Performance has been renamed Best Melodic Rap Performance to represent the growing hybrid performance trends within the rap genre.
- Latin Pop Album has been renamed Best Latin Pop Or Urban Album AND Latin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album has been renamed Best Latin Rock Or Alternative Album to represent the current state and prominent representation in the Latin urban genres.
- There is no longer a specified maximum number of releases prohibiting artists from entering the Best New Artist category. The screening committees will determinine whether the artist had attained a breakthrough or prominence prior to the eligibility year, with such a determination would result in disqualification.
Key Voting Dates
As the only peer-recognized music award, the GRAMMY is the music industry’s highest honor. This means GRAMMY nominations and winners are determined by the music professionals who are voting members of the Recording Academy.
- Sept. 1, 2019—Aug. 31, 2020: Product Eligibility Period
- Sept. 30—Oct. 12, 2020: First-Round Voting—eligible members vote to determine the 2021 nominees!
- TBD: Nominations Announcement!
- Dec. 7, 2020—Jan. 4, 202: Final-Round Voting—this round determines the GRAMMY winners!
- Jan. 31, 2021: 63rd GRAMMY Awards & Premiere Ceremony
Find more at the GRAMMY Awards FAQ page here, including on the voting process.
To make sure you don't miss a beat on anything GRAMMY Awards related, make sure to follow us on our social channels (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and subscribe to our newsletter (sign up below) and YouTube channel.