The Weeknd discussed being shut out from the 2021 Grammy Awards in a new cover story interview with Billboard. Calling the snub “an attack,” the singer was just as surprised by his lack of nominations as were his fans, pop critics and industry insiders alike.
“I use a sucker punch as an analogy,” he said. “Because it just kind of hit me out of nowhere. I definitely felt… I felt things. I don’t know if it was sadness or anger. I think it was just confusion. I just wanted answers. Like, ‘What happened?’
“We did everything right, I think. I’m not a cocky person. I’m not arrogant,” he added. “People told me I was going to get nominated. The world told me. Like, ‘This is it; this is your year.’ We were all very confused.” He noted that he had received supportive messages from peers and the music community following the snub.
The singer’s acclaimed album After Hours was one of 2020’s biggest commercial successes, and single “Blinding Lights” broke a chart record after spending 43 weeks in the Top 10. Yet, the three-time Grammy winner did not receive a Grammy nod.
Following the nomination announcements in November, there was speculation that the Weeknd was snubbed over issues surrounding him performing at both the Grammys and at the Super Bowl, an allegation which Recording Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. denied. In the interview, the Weeknd posited another possible reason.
“If you were like, ‘Do you think the Grammys are racist?’ I think the only real answer is that in the last 61 years of the Grammys, only 10 Black artists have won album of the year,” he said. “I don’t want to make this about me. That’s just a fact.”
The story also discussed the committees that determine where to categorize a potential nominee as well as the nomination review committee, whose members are not publicly known, that “narrow down top-vote getters to those on the Grammy ballot.”
Shortly after the nominations were revealed in November, the Weeknd appeared to call the Recording Academy out on their voting process. “The Grammys remain corrupt,” he tweeted. “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”
Some two months after the Grammys snub, the experience has tarnished the Weeknd’s view of the Grammys and awards shows in general.
“Look, I personally don’t care anymore,” he told Billboard. “I have three Grammys, which mean nothing to me now, obviously. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I want the Grammy!’ It’s just that this happened, and I’m down to get in front of the fire, as long as it never happens again.
“I suck at giving speeches anyways,” he said. “Forget awards shows.”