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How Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” & Older Songs Can Get a Grammy Nom – The Hollywood Reporter



It’s a scorching summer season day, the automotive AC is on turbo and the radio is blasting Miguel’s “Sure Thing.” My 8-year-old nephew is singing alongside fortunately — till I inform him the tune is older than he’s.

He’s extraordinarily puzzled. However it’s true.

“Sure Thing” was launched in 2010 and was named Billboard’s No. 1 R&B/hip-hop tune of 2011. However TikTok resurrected the melodic monitor this yr, and the platform thrust it to greater heights on the pop charts, as streaming platforms added it to present playlists and radio stations started replaying the tune 13 years after its launch.

Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” was launched in 2019, however the addictive bop turned a favourite on her ultra-popular Eras Tour, and now it’s within the prime 10 of the Billboard Sizzling 100. Sia, due to TikTok, relaunched a platinum hit with “Unstoppable” late final yr, although it was launched in 2016. And Tems set a report when her 2020 monitor “Free Mind” spent 22 weeks at No. 1 on R&B/hip-hop radio this yr.

When trying again at 2023, these songs can be a part of the music that outlined this yr. However what does that imply on the Grammy Awards, which honor the very best in new recordings, particularly because the pattern of older songs discovering new life continues to blow up? Right here’s how artists can get an outdated tune nominated at music’s largest awards present.


The commonest strategy to get an older monitor nominated on the Grammys is submitting a reside model. An artist can submit a reside model of a monitor at any time; the one rule is the reside rendition will need to have been recorded inside the previous 5 years.

John Legend’s “All of Me” and Pharrell’s “Happy” have been launched in 2013 however turned No. 1 hits in 2014, and reside variations of each tracks competed for finest pop solo efficiency on the 2015 Grammys (“Happy” received). Adele dominated the 2012 Grammys with 21 and its singles “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You.” A yr later, she received finest pop solo efficiency for a reside model of third 21 single “Set Fire to the Rain.” Beyoncé received finest pop feminine vocal efficiency for “Halo” in 2010 and was nominated in the identical class for a reside model of the ballad in 2011. Sheryl Crow’s “There Goes the Neighborhood” misplaced finest feminine rock vocal efficiency to Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited” on the 1999 Grammys, however two years later a reside model of “There Goes the Neighborhood” received in the identical class. 

Those that have received Grammys for reside variations are Prepare’s “Hey, Soul Sister,” Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” and Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” which was successful in 1964 however gained new consideration after the discharge of the 1990 basic Fairly Lady; it received a Grammy for its reside model in 1991.

Songs that earned nominations for reside renditions are Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind,” Beyoncé’s “Me, Myself and I,” Latto’s “Big Energy,” Camila Cabello’s “Havana,” McLachlan’s “Possession” and Sting’s “Fragile,” initially launched within the ’80s however nominated on the 2003 Grammys.

Reside renditions of songs can solely compete in efficiency classes — like finest R&B efficiency and finest pop duo/group efficiency, however not in classes like tune of the yr or finest rock tune.


Collaboration is vital if an artist desires to get their older tune nominated for a Grammy.

Making a monitor a duet is the best way to go — simply ask Dolly Parton. Her basic “Jolene” was nominated within the Nineteen Seventies, however the singer rerecorded the tune with the a cappella group Pentatonix in 2016, and it received them the very best nation duo/group efficiency Grammy in 2017.

For the duet or collaboration to qualify, each elements ought to be newly recorded.

Although he has boycotted the Grammys, The Weeknd is in excellent form for this. TikTok helped his 2016 monitor “Die for You” turn out to be a prime 10 smash final yr, and his duet model with Ariana Grande, launched in February, instantly hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Sizzling 100. If submitted, it could probably compete for finest pop duo/group efficiency.

The graceful addition of Usher on Miguel’s “Sure Thing” may give the tune and Miguel an opportunity to compete on the Grammys; what’s higher is a younger Miguel performed “Sure Thing” for report executives for attainable inclusion on Usher’s album years in the past, and the tune helped the singer-songwriter land a report deal. 

Doesn’t Kelly Clarkson or Pink — or each — buying and selling massive vocals with Sia on a brand new model of “Unstoppable” sound like magic? Mariah Carey’s 2009 monitor “It’s a Wrap” turned an R&B hit this yr, and although she remixed the tune with Mary J. Blige some time again, a brand new rendition with Jazmine Sullivan and her “Pick Up Your Feelings” vitality can be heaven despatched.


Remixes have all the time prolonged the life span of a tune, whether or not it’s including a rapper to the monitor or having a DJ rework it right into a pulsating nightclub favourite.

For older songs in hopes of getting Grammy love, remixing the monitor and including new components may assist it get nominated in the very best remixed recording class. And earlier than you ask, these “sped-up” variations of songs on TikTok don’t depend.

To qualify, a remixer “creatively adds to, alters or transforms [a previous recording] in such a way as to create a new and unique performance,” in line with the Recording Academy’s guidelines and tips. The Academy provides that “the addition of a vocal performance by a featured artist without substantive change to the original music recording is not eligible as a remix.”

Consider Lana Del Rey’s pop groove “Summertime Sadness” and its upbeat dance remix by Cedric Gervais. The French producer’s transforming received him a Grammy in 2014.

Getting a producer or remixer to remodel Swift’s “Cruel Summer,” Miguel’s “Sure Thing,” Tems’ “Free Mind” or Beyoncé’s “My Power” — which noticed an improve in streams following Blue Ivy Carter’s dance to the tune on her mother’s Renaissance Tour — may be the best path to take to earn a nomination.

However word — for the artist to get a nomination in the very best remixed recording class, the artist have to be listed as a remixer. For example, Lizzo received report of the yr at this yr’s Grammys for “About Damn Time,” however when Purple Disco Machine’s remix of her ubiquitous hit received finest remixed recording, the award solely went to the German producer, not Lizzo.


A tune may very well be years outdated, however making a brand new music video may assist it land a Grammy nomination.

One of the best music video class is awarded to the artist, director and video producer. And the excellent news is that among the older songs that discovered new success this yr by no means launched an accompanying video, together with Swift’s “Cruel Summer,” Tems’ “Free Mind” and Carey’s “It’s a Wrap.”

“If a single is released one year and the music video is released in a different eligibility year, both are eligible in their respective years,” Academy guidelines learn.

Sadly for Miguel, this disqualifies “Sure Thing” as a result of the tune already has an official video.


Lizzo dominated 2019 with the hit “Truth Hurts,” although it was initially launched in 2017 as a stand-alone single. Usually, an artist must submit a reside model of an older monitor to compete on the Grammys, however not Lizzo.

The Academy deemed “Truth Hurts” eligible as a result of it was by no means submitted for rivalry within the Grammys course of and it appeared on an album launched throughout the eligibility interval for the 2020 present. 

“Truth Hurts” gained main consideration after it was featured within the Netflix movie Somebody Nice, launched on the identical day as Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You. “Truth Hurts” wasn’t initially featured on the album, however two weeks after its launch, Lizzo’s report label dropped a deluxe model of the album and added “Truth Hurts” to it.

In case you’re uncertain about in case your tune qualifies on the Grammys or not, The Lizzo Impact is a reminder to shoot your shot as a result of there’s an opportunity you possibly can rating massive — identical to she did.

A model of this story first appeared within the July 26 subject of The Hollywood Reporter journal. Click on right here to subscribe.

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