Image credit: Vinsint
Interview with confrontational, ‘Grammy Weeknd’ rapper Lucidious
Following the controversy of the Grammy’s & the past weekend’s event, rapper Lucidious shared his frustration. If you are not in the loop, the Weeknd single ‘Blinding Lights’ was a top-charting single throughout 2020 and was not recognized as a Grammy winner due to slimy decisions & dodgy record deals. Rapper Lucidious then took the opportunity to shed a light on this controversy with a music video ‘Grammy Weeknd’, which speaks on the disgusting hierarchy in the Grammy voting board.
We spoke with Lucidious about his latest video release below.
Hello Lucidious, Thank you for sitting down with us to chat about your new music video ‘Grammy Weeknd’. The Grammy’s just happened this weekend, so can you tell us a bit about how your song fits into the conversations around the snubs of this year’s nominations?
Appreciate you having me! As artists on the come-up, we imagine winning a Grammy to be the ultimate accolade and something to reach for. With that being said, the last few award seasons have been telling. How can we be excited about something that’s so subjective, lacks transparency, and is riddled with networking politics? It’s discouraging for the rest of us. Seeing artists come forward about their sentiments really inspired me to do the same, which is how this song came about. Moreover, I used this song as an opportunity to touch on other factors of the entertainment industry that contribute to smaller artists’ quitting altogether.
When writing this song, what was the main feeling as an artist who is at the mercy of these “industry gatekeepers”?
Complete frustration. We’re living in a time where independents have more opportunity than ever before to gain exposure and recognition through their own marketing efforts (which is great), but we also have no chance of reaching a level playing field with the majors. We’re blocked out by an imaginary line where private conversations and handshakes land placements. What’s most disappointing is that The Weeknd is not independent or small, he’s earned his stripes and is still being crushed by these “gatekeepers”.
The truth is, less than 1% of artists will be able to sustain a long-term career in the music industry. This unfortunate reality is reinforced by low streaming payouts, suppressed engagement via social media (because Facebook and Instagram’s job is to rake in marketing dollars), playlist limitations, and the inability to “pay-and-play”, because most artists pockets aren’t that deep.
Other artists have been really vocal about the Grammy snubs this year as well… does that change how you feel or how you express your thoughts on the topic?
If anything, it’s made me feel even stronger and more confident in the message we’re trying to get across. Musicians deserve more transparency, representation, and proper recognition on every level.
You accompanied the single with a music video – How does the music video represent what’s being sung about lyrically?
I wanted to tip my hat to The Weeknd using similar visuals and styling from his album, After Hours. We intentionally elected to have the video be more performance-heavy so that the lyrics could be the focal point, but still added in a few symbolic elements. For example, the limo scene was a representation of walking through the music industry – surrounded by a hazy superficial environment and not wanting to be a part of it.
How do you hope that this song affects listeners? The industry?
It’s simply my goal to bring more awareness to what’s happening and not happening. The more noise that is made around artist mistreatment and industry corruption, the better chance we have of seeing some change. The Grammys in particular has always been – and is supposed to be – iconic, respected, and sought-after.
What would be your first step in making a specific change in the industry?
First and foremost, I’d like the public to be more aware of how these votes are weighted and what they are based on (other than the opinion of those allowed to vote). I’d love to see nominations and awards given based on genuine universal impact, engagement, and authentic listenership. Ultimately, I’d also love to see more of a focus on the independent artist community, even if that means adding potential awards to the line-up.
Grammy’s aside, there are some things that would drastically change the sustainability of artist careers:
- Allow artists to disseminate information to their audience more seamlessly. What’s the point of having Spotify followers if we can’t inform them of a new release? Open the gates.
- Allow artists to reach their fans. Social platforms will say we have hundreds of thousands of followers, but restrict organic reach to 5%. Oh, unless artists choose to spend more hard-earned money on ads to reach fans who voluntarily followed. Open the gates.
- Playlists run the game right now. Allow artists a chance to actually land a placement without having to know the right person. We get it, labels need to make their money back. Have your playlists for hand-selected artists, but these playlists are based on making money back on signing deals and label expenses, not skill or curating a listener experience. Open the gates.
Do you think that everyone speaking out this year will make any change happen? Or will the industry be at the same place next year?
I’ll choose optimism on this one. Let’s just keep making noise.