Bruno Mars Withdraws Silk Sonic From Grammy Awards Consideration

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Bruno Mars has announced that Silk Sonic — the R&B duo consisting of himself and Anderson .Paak — have withdrawn their album “An Evening With Silk Sonic” from consideration for the 2023 Grammy Awards, he told Rolling Stone.

“We truly put our all on this record, but Silk Sonic would like to gracefully, humbly and most importantly, sexually, bow out of submitting our album this year,” Mars said. “We hope we can celebrate with everyone on a great year of music and partake in the party. Thank you for letting Silk Sonic thrive.”

The album’s lead single, “Leave the Door Open,” was released in April of 2021 and won all four Grammys for which it was nominated at the 2022 awards, including record and single of the year. The album was released last November and is not only eligible for 2023 awards, but was expected by nearly all prognosticators to be a top contender for album of the year.

But Mars says, “we’d be crazy to ask for anything more. Andy and I, and everyone that worked on this project, won the moment the world responded to ‘Leave The Door Open.’ Everything else was just icing on the cake,” he says. “We thank the Grammys for allowing us to perform on their platform — not once but twice — and awarding us at last year’s ceremony.”

In a statement shortly after Mars’ announcement, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said, “Silk Sonic has been such a fun highlight of our last couple of shows and they deservedly had an amazing night at the 64th Grammys earlier this year. We appreciate their decision not to submit this year but look forward to celebrating an amazing year in music together.”

Grammy nominations do not happen automatically: Recordings must be submitted by a representative, usually the artist’s record label, and if an artist does not want their music submitted, it amounts to a withdrawal.

It’s possible that Mars, a longtime Grammy favorite, may be responding to criticism the Recording Academy received in 2018, when his “24K Magic” album and related singles won all six categories it was nominated for — including the top three awards: album, song and record of the year — beating out entries from the two biggest hip-hop artists in the world, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar. That year, Jay was nominated for eight awards and shockingly won none; Lamar won five, but all in the hip-hop or video categories. Jay’s shutout in particular led to a fierce backlash against the Grammys; later that year, Lamar’s “DAMN.” album went on to win a Pulitzer Prize.

It’s also possible that Mars was cutting off a similar backlash before it could begin: With both Lamar and Beyonce — not to mention Adele — as front-runners for 2023 nominations, it could be argued that Mars’ and Silk Sonic’s decision is a very smart career move.

As a duo, Mars and .Paak performed “777” and “Hot Music” from the album this year’s Grammy Awards, and also performed a special private afterparty where they performed mostly covers, including Eve’s “Let Me Blow Ya Mind,” Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and Nelly’s “Hot In Herre.”

Artists such as Drake and the Weeknd have declined to submit recordings that were likely to receive nominations in the past due to unhappiness with past awards or nominations: Drake obliquely gave a reason during a 2019 Grammy acceptance speech, saying “We play an opinion-based sport, not a fact-based sport,” presumably referencing the Grammys’ voting procedures, and the Weeknd did so to protest the fact that his blockbuster 2020 album, “After Hours,” and the single “Blinding Lights” — one of the most popular songs of the past decade — were shockingly snubbed by the Grammy nominating committees for the 2021 awards. Just weeks after the show, the Grammys announced the elimination of the anonymous, insider committees that had previously determined the final nominees lists in most categories. Neither Drake nor the Weeknd submitted recordings for the 2022 awards.

Grammy nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The 65th annual Grammy Awards take place at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Feb. 5, 2023.

This story first appeared on Variety.com.

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