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GRAMMY CHEW: SEEING BIEBER

Grammy has not done right by Justin Bieber. Not that he hasn’t been recognized—he’s won two awards (in Country and Dance categories) and been nominated 14 times (in all four of the top-tier categories and Pop). But he has not yet gotten his due.

The folks behind Music’s Biggest Night would be wise to step up—to coin a phrase—and recognize the Def Jam star properly.

Bieber’s most recent work should, by any measure, qualify for Grammy love. The low-hanging fruit in this conversation is undoubtedly “Peaches,” his smasheroo jam featuring R&B comers GIVĒON and Daniel Caesar. A streaming monster and radio giant, “Peaches” is ripe for a Record of the Year nom.

Consider the song alongside the featured guests and there’s no doubt that it also deserves to be nominated in the R&B field, where he has never gotten a nod. Bieber is playing seriously in the form and has the respect of its top creators.

What’s more, the entire Justice album is a sterling effort that should be an AOTY contender.

Why is the likelihood of such laurels even in question? What’s holding him back, it would seem, is perception. Too many folks in Grammyland appear to be viewing Biebs through a years-old lens—as that kid with the hair, the heedless wild child, whatever—when it only takes a casual listen to apprehend how much he’s evolved, artistically and personally.

It’s time, at long last, to set the old baggage aside and see Justin Bieber as he is now: an artist fully in command of his talents. He doesn’t just possess a great voice; he’s a great singer. What’s more, he has something significant to say—about love and connection, about mercy and forgiveness, about seizing joy while we can.

Take away the old perception, and he ticks every box. Here’s hoping “Peaches” is part of a bumper crop of nominations, and that the Academy at last does Justice to a major artist.

SIR LUCIAN
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