Though Kacey Musgraves' roots lie in country, she was dubbed "country music for people who don't like country" as far back as 2015 and she has continued to branch out from the genre and incorporate other styles of music since then, including on her new album star-crossed. The Grammys have now decided that Kacey has strayed so far from the genre that star-crossed won't be eligible for any country awards, Billboard reports. They decided during the Recording Academy's annual screening committee meeting, where members are able to reject recordings they don't think fit the genre in question. Rejected recordings are still eligible for all-genre categories.

Billboard obtained a letter about the situation written by Universal Music Group Nashville president Cindy Mabe to Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr.. In it, she writes, "This decision from the country committee to not accept star-crossed into the country albums category is very inconsistent and calls into question the other agendas that were part of this decision."

"As a prime stakeholder in country music, I would really like to frame what’s happening in our genre right now and help you and the Grammy’s fully understand the importance of Kacey Musgraves to country music and why this decision is so much more than an entry point for an awards show," the letter continues. "Taking her out of the country category actually does harm to a format struggling with change and inclusivity overall."

"The numbers speak and are a matter of public record with women making up only 10 percent of all country airplay," Mabe's letter continues. "This year alone country music has been mired in the controversy surrounding one of the formats biggest artists, Morgan Wallen, who used a racial slur and grew fans and audience from it. THIS IS NOT ALL THAT WE ARE. Under the surface are the artists that change it all and they are led by the example of Kacey Musgraves."

Mabe goes on to compare star-crossed to Golden Hour, which won Country Album of the Year in 2019, saying that Kacey produced both along with Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian, and Shawn Everett mixed both. "Sonically," she writes, "it’s got more country instrumentation than Golden Hour."

"The idea that a handful of people including competitors, who would benefit from Kacey not being in the country category, are deciding what is country only exacerbates the problem," Mabe continues. "The system is broken and sadly not just for Kacey Musgraves but for our entire genre because of how these decisions are made for music’s biggest stage. Building roadblocks for artists who dare to fight the system is so dangerous and against everything I think the Grammys stand for. But that’s where we are today."

Read the report in full on Billboard.

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