Recording Academy President Neil Portnow is aware of the discussion about whether race played a role in Adele winning the album of the year Grammy on Sunday over Beyoncé.
And he dismisses it.
“No, I don’t think there’s a race problem at all,” Portnow said in an interview with Pitchfork.
Beyoncé’s loss has been questioned not only by fans of her album “Lemonade,” but also by the woman who won album of the year.
Adele, one of 14,000 members of the Recording Academy who select the Grammy winners, said “Lemonade” got her vote.
Portnow said it’s “always hard to create objectivity out of something that’s inherently subjective.”
“We don’t, as musicians, in my humble opinion, listen to music based on gender or race or ethnicity,” Portnow said. “When you go to vote on a piece of music — at least the way that I approach it — is you almost put a blindfold on and you listen.”
Portnow added that the Recording Academy is always working to make the organization more diverse in race, gender and age.
He also referenced an example of another voting process with contentious results.
“At the end of the day, we just went through a popular election, but you had the overlay of an electoral college,” Portnow said. “And so the popular vote doesn’t necessarily in and of itself create the recipient of the election. In our case, the popular vote stands by itself and completely determines who receives an award in any given year.”
For those in the music industry unhappy with this year’s Grammy results, Portnow offered a suggestion.
“Just become members, join and vote,” Portnow said. “Then you have the say if you want it.”