Collisions at the Corner of Art and Commerce
Best New "Artist" or Best New Artist?
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I've been a bit under the weather of late. Nothing too serious, but enough to spend a bunch of time on the sofa in front of the TV. Having exhausted all of the cyclocross races on the DVR, I caught a bit of local news coverage that followed Esperanza Spalding's Best New Artist Grammy win. She's from Portland OR, where I live, so the news coverage here has had long and (rightfully glowing) features about her. Most interesting to me was the continuing refrain in interviews with people who knew or taught Esperanza as she was growing and developing as an artist. And that refrain was essentially, "Finally, a Best New Artist winner worthy of the title". I should hasten to add that no one I heard interviewed was bad mouthing Justin Bieber or running him down, nor will I. He's great if you like that kind of stuff and want to sell a boatload of crap to teenage girls, and he and his people certainly deserve an award for making a bunch of money - oh wait, that's the award they should win... and they apparently have, kudos! (I wish for him some very savvy and long term minded investment advice, cause this cash spigot isn't likely to continue to flow like it is now). But it's simple enough to see the differential between someone who rightfully should have been vying for the prize of 'Best New Commercial Sensation' and someone who very rightfully can be called an Artist. I don't hate the Grammys. I think there's much to be said for recognizing music, musicians and writers of note. But let's not kid ourselves that the awards are always bestowed in ways that bring credit to the award or the process. However, in this instance, credit where credit is due for the Grammys, both for this award and for the fact that Mumford and Sons was also a nominee for Best New Artist, and congratulations to Esperanza Spalding