The Grammys may have changed for the Weeknd, but don’t expect the Weeknd to change for the Grammys. The Recording Academy recently announced it would stop using anonymous committees to determine nominations in most of its categories — a change that came after loud criticism from the Weeknd, whose blockbuster album After Hours earned zero nominations at this year’s awards. After the Weeknd committed, days before the 2021 ceremony, to no longer enter his music for future Grammys because of the “secret committees,” the star stuck to his promise after the Academy’s announcement. “Even though I won’t be submitting my music, the Grammys’ recent admission of corruption will hopefully be a positive move for the future of this plagued award and give the artist community the respect it deserves with a transparent voting process,” the Weeknd said in a May 3 statement to the New York Times. The musician, born Abel Tesfaye, elaborated in an interview with Variety. “I think the industry and public alike need to see the transparent system truly at play for the win to be celebrated, but it’s an important start,” he said, adding that he is still “uninterested” in participating in the Grammys.
The interim president and CEO of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr., gave insight into the decision in a separate interview with Variety. Mason told the magazine that the change had been in the works for nearly two years and called the final vote “a landslide.” When asked specifically about how the Weeknd’s statement played into the decision, Mason said, “Any time an artist, especially one of that stature, calls our process into question or thinks something is unfair … the Academy is of course going to be affected by that and want to work to make things better.”
Mason also updated Variety on the Recording Academy’s search for a permanent president, saying a final decision should come “by the end of May or the first week of June.” Mason, who maintained as recently as March that he will not stay in the position permanently, said there are “less than a handful” of candidates.
As for the Weeknd’s future away from the Grammys? The pop star told Variety he finished an album during the pandemic. “If the last record is the after hours of the night,” he said, “then the dawn is coming.”