NEW YORK – Vince Gill defended the Recording Academy over the criticism that female artists were underrepresented at this year’s Grammy Awards.
Gill said it is “impossible” to not leave someone off the list in a given year.
“I look at it kind of trying to see the whole field, you know. And I think the Grammys will go on and the country artists will feel slighted. Or maybe the classical people will feel slighted,” Gill said. “It’s impossible to pull something off like that and not leave a few people by the wayside.”
The country star spoke before a benefit concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame on Tuesday in New York where he shared the stage with Emmylou Harris, Maren Morris and Kesha.
Sitting with Harris and Morris before the concert, the 21-time Grammy winner said all that matters is that musical people are “conscious of what’s great at the end of the day.”
“You’re looking at three really open-minded musical people. We don’t care about genres, of color of skin, or gender, or anything. We just love playing music with great people and that’s all,” he said.
Morris, who won her first Grammy last year, agreed, saying the Grammys history backs it up.
“I think the person that’s won the most Grammys is Alison Krauss so I don’t know. I mean, there’s obviously some things that need to be looked at, I think, and maybe it’s just voting members. Maybe we need to like expand on that,” Morris said.
Krauss has won 27 Grammys, and has been nominated 44 times. Krauss is tied for second place with Quincy Jones for most Grammy wins. Hungarian composer Georg Sorti holds the record with 31 wins.
Morris also cited another Grammy winner.
“I was really proud of Alessia Cara that she won best new artist. I think she really deserved that,” Morris said. “But I think there’s always improvement that needs to be had.”
Harris admitted she was aware of the problems facing women in the recording industry, from sexual misconduct to unfair treatment, but doesn’t count herself among those affected.
“I haven’t run into a lot of the problems that I know are out there. But my path has been pretty unfettered with those kinds of things,” Harris said.
The Recording Academy drew criticism for a variety of issues, including not having album of the year nominee Lorde perform on the live telecast last month. Also, of the awards shown on the broadcast, only two winners were women – Cara and Rihanna (for a collaboration with Kendrick Lamar).
Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow intensified the situation, saying that women need to “step up” when asked about the lack of female winners backstage. He later said he misspoke.
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