During today’s 2021 Grammy nominations, there were two artists who were surprisingly missing from contention: Bob Dylan nor the Weeknd. The Weeknd’s smash hit “Blinding Lights” was eligible for nomination, as was his chart-topping album After Hours. Bob Dylan’s remarkable Rough and Rowdy Ways was also released during the eligibility period (September 1, 2019—August 31, 2020), with its first single “Murder Most Foul” reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Rock Digital Song Sales chart. Since the Grammy nominations require that an artist submit their work for consideration each year, it’s unclear whether either artist did so. For example, Frank Ocean, Drake, Cardi B, and Macklemore have all chosen to withhold music from Grammy consideration in recent years.
When asked about the Weeknd’s shutout in an interview with Jem Aswad for Variety, Recording Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason jr. said, “Y’know, it really just comes down to the voting body that decides.”
Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for the Weeknd, Bob Dylan, and the Recording Academy for comment and more information.
The Weeknd’s previous album, Starboy, won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album. He’s been nominated for 10 Grammys in his career, winning three awards.
Bob Dylan has won 10 Grammy Awards and received 38 Grammy nominations. He was first nominated for the 1963 Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording for Bob Dylan. A decade later, he won his first Grammy for his work on The Concert for Bangladesh, which won Album of the Year.
Dylan was last nominated for the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Triplicate. He most recently won Grammy Awards in 2007 for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance (“Someday Baby”) and Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album (Modern Times).