The real magic behind the Grammys

Illustration: Alex Gomez · The Sentry

An inside look with Professor Storm Gloor

To many outside of the music industry, winning a Grammy doesn’t hold a great meaning. At a glance, the 61st Grammy Awards seemed to be nothing unusual, but a spectacle of a three-and-a-half-hour  concert can’t convey how individual lives were impacted forever. This year’s ceremony separated itself from the rest. With more awards telecasted than in years past, the 61st Grammy Awards reinforced just how life changing the act of winning a Grammy can be. 

Associate Professor Storm Gloor held a ticket to attend the highly exclusive ceremony.

“I’m a member of NARAS, which is more commonly known as the Grammys,” Gloor explains. NARAS, or the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, form the group that hosts, nominates, and awards Grammys. 

Viewers of the telecast know the Grammys’ standard three-and-a-half-hour-long award show packed to the brim with performances and dusted with awards. What they don’t see is the award ceremony that happens before. 

The Grammys are more than just what’s on TV. Illustration: Alex Gomez · The Sentry

The first awards ceremony hosts most of the awards that producers feel wouldn’t keep viewership. During the pre-telecast show, NARAS gives out approximately 78 awards.

This year’s pre-telecast saw firsts for award-winners. Brandi Carlile became the first LGBTQ individual to win Best Americana Album. The award for Best Rap Album typically given pre-telecast was shown live this year, making Cardi B the first woman to win Best Rap Album.  These two awards are now marked as historical moments for the Grammys.

Still, during the telecast, Kacey Musgraves became this year’s standout winner, walking away with Best Country Album, Best Solo Country Performance, Best Country Song, and Best Album. To a telecast viewer, this distribution of awards going to one main artist makes winning a Grammy feel as though it’s lost its importance.

To Gloor, it’s the pre-telecast awards that make the Grammys important. From watching artists win in the pre-telecast and later perform live, like Best Country Duo Dan and Shay, to personal award acceptances, like Chris Cornell’s posthumous acceptance for Best Rock Performance, experiencing it all in person offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“Chris Cornell’s kids went up on stage to accept his award, and I’m gonna get choked up thinking about it,” Gloor said with tears in his eyes. “You know, things like that are pretty magical.”

The lack of moments and experiences like these in the telecast creates the feeling that only popular artists win awards. To any nominee or winner, televised or not, the experience is life changing.

“You can get caught up in the ‘Oh, it’s just marketing to show off the industry,’ but at the end of the day, if you turn it back to the individual who wins a Grammy, that is so huge. I mean, it’s a lifetime goal.”

According to Gloor, artists at the show, whether they perform, present, are nominated, or win, their recognition will increase. People who hadn’t otherwise listened to Kasey Musgraves, Dan and Shay, or any other featured musicians now know their names. Sometimes, one need only to gather and celebrate the success of others. It can feel like a pompous show, but the Grammys hold meaning for everyone in the music industry.

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