Brandi Carlile won three Grammy Awards in 2019 on the strength of her album By the Way, I Forgive You, a collection that earned the prize for Best Americana Album as well as Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song for “The Joke.”
Her 2021 album In These Silent Days was recorded with the same production team, but its lead single “Right on Time” will now be considered in the pop categories, Carlile’s rep confirmed to Rolling Stone. In These Silent Days was released Oct. 1, making it ineligible to be considered as an album this year.
Carlile responded to the decision with a lengthy note posted to Instagram.
“While I’m incredibly flattered to be considered ‘pop’ as a 40-year-old crooning lesbian mother, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit surprised and disappointed to learn the recording Academy decided to move ‘Right on Time’ out of the American Roots genre and into the pop category,” she wrote.
In the same post, Carlile expressed her affinity for and history with Americana and roots music.
“The importance of staying and working within Americana is greater than just me,” said the singer, who made a powerful debut on Saturday Night Live over the weekend. “There is not a moment where I don’t view my role as something larger. I feel great responsibility in representing marginalized queer people in rural America who are raised on country and roots music but are repeatedly and systematically rejected by the correlating culture.”
Carlile also pointed out that she’s been named the Americana Music Association’s Artist of the Year for two years, a prize that acknowledged her solo work as well as her collaborative efforts in the Highwomen and on Tanya Tucker’s While I’m Livin’ album. Both of those projects were also nominated for Grammys in the country categories.
The news echoes the recent revelation that Kacey Musgraves’ album Star-Crossed won’t be considered in the country categories, despite being recorded with the same team who produced the Best Country Album-winning Golden Hour. Musgraves responded with an Instagram story of her photos with a plethora of fellow country singers, then one of herself flipping the bird.
In Carlile’s case, she signed off with a note that the decision was out of her hands.
“Being recognized by the Grammys — in any form — is a great honor,” she said. “I just want folks to know this wasn’t my decision. Regardless, it doesn’t change who I am or what my Americana community continues to mean to me.”