- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Beyoncé’s Renaissance album almost never made it to the dance floor — at the Grammys.
Beyoncé submitted the critically acclaimed album for best dance/electronica album at the 2023 Grammys, but the Recording Academy’s dance committee initially felt that it might not be a perfect fit for the genre, according to a source. That group believed that the album might be better placed in pop, where it would be nominated for best pop vocal album alongside projects by Adele, Harry Styles, Lizzo and more.
The debate landed in the hands of the academy’s National Screening Committee — a group of music industry experts including songwriters, producers, musicologists and more — who listened to Renaissance several times to determine where it should compete. That group — which also selects which artists are eligible for best new artist — eventually decided that Beyoncé’s project should be in contention in dance. If the singer scores a nomination there, she would earn her first-ever dance nomination, and she also has a chance of becoming the most decorated winner in Grammy history at the 2023 show.
A representative for Beyoncé said she had no comment on the matter, and representatives for the academy didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
Debates about an album or song’s placement is a normal process at the Grammys, and the academy enlists about 350 volunteer music industry experts to help decide where a song or album should compete. Sometimes things get complicated when a song or album has a multi-genre sound and could fit in multiple genres — and when a genre committee can’t decide where the song or album should live, the National Screening Committee steps in, listens to the music and makes a decision.
But sometimes what’s decided turns controversial. Nicki Minaj’s “Super Freaky Girl” — which is spending its 10th week on top of Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart — got kicked out of rap and was sent to pop, a decision she heavily criticized on social media. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were famously booted from rap when they had a breakthrough with the hits “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” but the academy’s National Screening Committee overturned that decision and the duo stayed in rap, ultimately dominating and causing a firestorm about the Grammys and its awards process.
Renaissance is an album based in dance and house music, though it fuses elements of R&B, soul, disco, hip-hop and trap. When it was released in July — a month after Drake dropped his house album Honestly, Nevermind — it sparked conversations, think pieces and social media essays about the history of dance music and its roots in Black art and culture.
Renaissance debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s 200 Albums chart, and its lead single, “Break My Soul,” topped the all-genre Hot 100 chart. The Great Resignation anthem also landed on top of Billboard’s R&B Songs chart for two weeks and spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart. “Break My Soul” — which samples the ‘90s house classic “Show Me Love” by Robin S — will compete for best dance recording at the 2023 Grammys. No one questioned whether “Break My Soul” should compete in dance at the Grammys, the source said.
While some debate whether Renaissance is an official dance album or not, Billboard has not listed it as such. While “Break My Soul” landed on both Billboard’s Dance and R&B Songs charts, respectively, Beyonce’s album does not appear on Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind, however, is on Billboard’s Dance chart, where it is spending its 17th week at No. 1. Outside of the Billboard’s main chart for albums — the 200 Albums chart — Beyonce’s album appears on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and R&B Albums charts; Drake’s album appears on the latter charts, too.
A representative for Billboard didn’t reply to an email seeking comment about why Renaissance isn’t on its dance chart.
Grammy nominees will be announced Nov. 15, and the live telecast will air on CBS on Feb. 5, 2023. Voting for the first round of nominees ended Sunday, and Beyoncé is poised to make history at the upcoming show. With her 28th win at the 2021 Grammys, she became the most decorated woman in Grammy history, and tied Quincy Jones for second place among all winners; they are behind the late conductor Georg Solti, who has won 31 Grammys.
But Beyoncé could surpass Solti. She’s expected to pull nominations in the top three Grammy categories — album, song and record of the year — as well as bids in the dance and R&B categories, where songs from Renaissance were submitted, including the current viral hit “Cuff It.” And her Oscar-nominated track “Be Alive,” from the film King Richard, was submitted for best music video and best song written for visual media.
If Beyoncé scores a nomination for best dance/electronica album or best dance recording, it would extend her multi-genre success at the Grammys, where she’s already won honors in the R&B, pop and rap categories. She made history at the 2017 show with Lemonade when she became the first person to be nominated in the rock, pop, R&B and rap fields in the same year.
Of Beyoncé’s 28 wins, 19 have been in R&B and three in rap. She won best female pop vocal performance for “Halo” and song of the year for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” — her only win in one of the Grammys’ top categories — in the same year. And she’s picked up best music video twice, earned best music film for Homecoming and won best surround sound album for her 2013 surprise and self-titled effort.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
Jonathan Majors Arrested for Alleged Assault, Rep Says Actor “Has Done Nothing Wrong”
The Woman King
Gina Prince-Bythewood to Be Honored at Black Business Association Salute to Black Women Event
Jeremy Renner Says Snowplow Involved in New Year’s Day Accident Is “Finally Making Her Way Back Home”