Halsey Says Getting an 'Elusive' Grammy Nomination Is Contingent on 'Knowing the Right People'

Claudia Harmata
·4-min read

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images Halsey

Halsey is slamming the Grammy Awards after she and The Weeknd were snubbed from this year's list of nominations.

On Saturday, the 26-year-old singer shared a statement on her Instagram Story, claiming that earning a nomination from the Recording Academy takes "knowing the right people."

"I've been thinking and wanted to choose my words carefully because a lot of people have extended sympathy and apology to me since the Grammy nominations," she wrote. "The Grammys are an elusive process. It can often be about behind the scenes private performances, knowing the right people, campaigning through the grapevine, with the right handshakes and 'bribes' that can be just ambiguous enough to pass as 'not-bribes.'"

"And if you get that far, it's about committing to exclusive TV performances and making sure you help the Academy make their millions in advertising on the night of the show," Halsey continued.

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The "Bad at Love" singer added, "Perhaps sometimes it is (!!) but it's not always about the music or quality or culture. Just wanted to get that off my chest. [The Weeknd] deserves better, and Manic did too, perhaps it's unbecoming of me to say so but I can't care anymore."

Halsey, who was nominated twice in 2016, said that while she is "thrilled" for all of this year's nominees, she is "hoping for more transparency or reform" in the future.

"But I'm sure this post will blacklist me anyway," she said.

The 2021 Grammy nominations were released last week, with many people shocked over some of the artists who were left off the list. In addition to Halsey and The Weeknd, fans were surprised to see Selena Gomez and Katy Perry overlooked.

The Weeknd, 30, got snubbed after releasing After Hours earlier this year and being announced as the headliner for the Super Bowl halftime show in February. Many fans expected his album to receive an album of the year nod or song and record of the year for "Blinding Lights," which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 40 weeks in the Top 10.

Responding to the snub, the "Starboy" singer tweeted: "The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency..."

Amid his tweet and a TMZ report that The Weeknd's snub may have stemmed from his decision to headline next year's Super Bowl, Harvey Mason Jr., Recording Academy chair and interim president/CEO, told PEOPLE in a statement "that in no way could" The Weeknd's headlining of the NFL event "have affected the nomination process."

"We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated," Mason Jr. said in a statement. "I was surprised and can empathize with what he's feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone's admiration."

"We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before," he added. "Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. But as the only peer-voted music award, we will continue to recognize and celebrate excellence in music while shining a light on the many amazing artists that make up our global community."

"To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd's performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process. All GRAMMY nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence, and we congratulate them all," Mason Jr. said.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty The Weeknd

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Sources close to the situation told PEOPLE: "There were many conversations between the Grammys and The Weeknd team about his performance slated for the 2021 Grammys. There was an ultimatum given resulting in a struggle over him also playing the Super Bowl that went on for some time and was eventually agreed upon that he would perform at both events."

"The Grammys had their nomination ballots as of Oct 12th and had all these convos with The Weeknd team in the past month and today on Nov. 24 The Weeknd had not one nomination and is now completely ignored by the Grammys," one of the sources said. "This was the year that they were supposed to rise up. What is the process and where is the transparency?"

The Weeknd has won three Grammys in his career so far. His last win was in 2017 when he picked up an award for best urban contemporary album for Starboy.

Drake also slammed the Recording Academy last week, saying in a statement on Instagram that the award show has a "disconnect" from acknowledging "impactful music."

Beyoncé tops the 2021 list of nominees with nine nods, while Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and Roddy Ricch trail closely behind with six nominations each.

The 2021 Grammy Awards are set to take place on Jan. 31, 2021, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The telecast will be broadcast live on CBS at 8 p.m. EST.