the industry

Grammys to Recognize Songwriters, ‘Social Changers,’ Spoken-Word Poets

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The Grammys are introducing a slew of new categories for the 2023 awards, honoring everything from songwriting and “social change” to spoken-world poetry and video-game composition. Per Variety, the biggest change is the Songwriter of the Year award, which has been floated throughout the music industry for years. The award would work similarly to Producer of the Year, recognizing someone for a body of work, but songwriters who produce and/or perform their songs would not be eligible. (That would disqualify a songwriter like D’Mile, who won his second Song of the Year trophy in a row this year for songs he also produced. The award seems to favor certain genres in which musicians can make a living solely as a songwriter, such as country.) The other notable addition is a Best Song for Social Change trophy, which will be a “Special Merit Award” decided by “a blue ribbon committee,” Variety reports. The award will recognize songs that encourage “understanding, peacebuilding and empathy” related to “a timely social issue.” Only ten years too late for “Same Love”!

Also among the changes are new awards for Best Spoken Word Poetry Album and Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media. (With the introduction of the poetry award, which can recognize recordings with or without music, the Best Spoken Word Album category has been renamed Best Audio Book, Narration & Storytelling Recording.) The Grammys also added awards for Best Alternative Music Performance and Best Americana Performance, building out two of the Academy’s most exciting fields. Previously, alternative songs could be entered in Best Rock Performance and Americana could be entered in Best American Roots Performance. And the love for songwriters is extending to the classical and musical-theater categories, in which composers, lyricists, and librettists will now share the wins for Best Musical Theater Album, Best Opera Recording, and Best Classical Compendium. Congrats to all the spoken-word-poetry songwriters for social change out there.

Grammys to Honor Songwriting, ‘Social Change,’ Spoken Word