Any blues recording released between November 1, 2019 and October 31, 2020 is eligible for 2021 Blues Music Award consideration.
The submission process for Blues Music Award consideration begins with artists and record companies submitting entries in the following ways:
• The Blues Foundation accepts CDs through the year and logs them based on their release dates. All recordings sent directly to The Blues Foundation will be put on a master list for future communications regarding our submission process.
• The Blues Foundation opens the formal submission process on or about July 1st of each year. The Blues Foundation has moved to a digital platform for recording submissions. Your complete album music must be uploaded as a WAV file with album artwork uploaded as either JPEG or PDF files. We will no longer accept hard copy CDs for the purposes of BMA submission review.
If you need assistance with uploading your music, Joe Whitmer at [email protected] will be available to help you and walk you through the process.
The submission process officially closes on October 15, 2020 at 5:00pm CST. You must upload your music and artwork and complete payment for your submission transaction no later than OCTOBER 15 to be considered for a Blues Music Award.
As you prepare to submit your music, please also be ready to choose the category in which you feel your music best falls. These choices include Acoustic Blues, Blues Rock, Contemporary Blues, Soul Blues, and Traditional Blues. All submissions will be considered for Album of the Year. If you feel that your recording represents your work as an emerging blues artist, you may also choose that category for consideration. Please note: for your album to be considered for Emerging Artist Album, you may have no more than two previous album releases prior to the album you wish you submit. When you submit your full album, you will also be allowed to include individual songs for consideration as Song of the Year. All music will be screened ahead of ballots going to our nominators to ensure that your music does indeed fall into the category that you have chosen and that at least 51% of your recording constitutes blues music. The Blues Foundation reserves the right to move your music into a different category based upon our definitions, as follows:
Acoustic Blues Album: That album released during the eligibility period that best represents acoustic blues, in which non-electric/amplified instruments are prominently featured on at least 75% of the tracks.
Blues Rock Album: That album released to the public during the eligibility period with a majority of songs that best portrays the Rock Blues genre, that hybrid that combines elements of blues with elements of rock, generally employing heavy amplification and driving rhythms, and which may employ non-traditional blues song structures.
Contemporary Blues Album: That album released to the public during the eligibility period that best portrays Blues in which elements other than those traditionally found in Blues are part of the mix, e.g., different rhythms, different harmonies, more elaborate production values, etc. and which may offer a different approach to sounds, lyrics, instrumentation, arrangements, etc.
Soul Blues Album: That album released to the public during the eligibility period that best portrays Southern soul blues, a type of soul music that emerged from the Southern United States. The music originates from a combination of styles, including blues (both 12 bar and jump) with a strong gospel influence.
Traditional Blues Album: That album released to the public during the eligibility period with a majority of songs that best portrays traditional electric blues employing traditional blues song structures, harmonic structures and rhythms, and which may also employ instruments such as electric guitar, piano, organ, amplified harmonica, electric bass and drums. This category includes subgenres such as jump/swing blues and Chicago blues.
The Blues Foundation enlists a group of approximately 100 blues nominators who work extensively in all areas of the blues industry. This includes individuals with blues expertise as producers, engineers, radio DJs, journalists, academics, club owners, promoters and others with a deep knowledge of blues music. The identity of the nominators is not made public in order to protect them from outside influences. Nominators must recuse themselves from any categories in which they have a conflict of interest.
The nominators work through two rounds in order to come up with between four and six final nominees in each category. During the first round, each nominator distributes 6 total points to their top choices within each category, with no more than 3 total points given to any single entry. The top entries in each category move into Round 2. The Blues Foundation does not publicize which recordings and/or artists move to Round 2. The nominators then repeat the point distribution for each category in a second round ballot and those artists and recordings receiving the most total points in each category become the final Nominees for Blues Music Awards.
Final nominees will be announced in early January 2020.
All Blues Foundation members in good standing, whose dues are current, will receive a final ballot during the voting period. Any member who renews his or her membership or joins as a new member during the voting period will also receive a ballot. Voting will open in late January and will officially close at NOON CST on February 26, 2021 at which point no additional ballots will be accepted.
Results of members’ voting are not known until the Blues Music Awards presentation ceremony when names of the winners are revealed to the public. Winners will be announced during the 42nd Blues Music Awards on May 6, 2021.