So You Want To Win a GRAMMY?

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes before an independent artist is nominated for a GRAMMY.

This year, CD Baby musician and composer Carla Patullo won the “Best New Age, Ambient, or Chant Album” award for “So She Howls” with Tonality and the Scorchio Quartet, and her journey was no exception. We’re so proud of her accomplishment!

We caught up with Carla’s publicist, Kaytee Long Becker, to discuss what it takes for an independent musician to run a successful FYC campaign, get nominated, and earn a chance to win their own GRAMMY.

Listen to episode 361 of the DIY Musician Podcast here.

What’s FYC?

FYC stands for “For Your Consideration.” It’s your chance to make a big splash and get recognized for your incredible tunes.

The FYC campaign serves as your own personal cheer squad, rallying support for your work to be noticed by the Recording Academy, the people behind the GRAMMY Awards.

This is a great time to shout to the world, “Hey, check out my music!” — and doing it effectively might even earn you a trophy.

Album Release vs. FYC Campaign

When you release an album, you’re putting your music out there. But an FYC Campaign? It’s like stepping into a GRAMMY recognition spotlight.

Your strategy is geared toward voters, not fans. It’s all about catching the attention of the voters who have the power to nominate and award GRAMMYs.

To do this, it’s important to build buzz around your album release. The press and attention you gather during your release can be incredibly valuable for your FYC campaign.

Don’t underestimate the value of press quotes, interviews, or any other published content about your album. These aspects enrich the story behind your work, giving it depth and credibility. And that means you’ve got a better shot at catching the eye of GRAMMY voters and industry insiders.

Timing Is Everything

Winning a GRAMMY isn’t typically a first-time endeavor for independent artists. It’s essential to establish yourself as an artist, build a robust support network, and ensure you’re releasing music you’re genuinely passionate about and proud of.

For example, take Carla Patullo’s journey. This was her first GRAMMY submission, but she’s no newcomer to the industry.

With an impressive resume as a composer for numerous TV shows and 30 films, and over 150 placements in the industry, Carla’s success speaks volumes about the quality of her music and the excellence of her album.

To navigate the Recording Academy’s process effectively, consider becoming a member. You’ll need two recommendations from existing members or music industry peers — a crucial first step on your GRAMMY journey.

The Recording Academy offers valuable programs, including mentorship opportunities and networking events. With chapters nationwide, online groups, and searchable yearly hashtags, there are many ways to engage with the community, get to know fellow voters, and foster authentic relationships.

Most importantly, make sure you have enough time to devote to the months of work ahead, since running an FYC campaign essentially becomes a new job.

Expect your days to be filled with communication, research, networking, social events, and other tasks to effectively promote your music and vie for GRAMMY recognition.

Carla Patullo giving her GRAMMY award speech.
(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Who Is Eligible To Submit?

If you’re a Voting Recording Academy member in good standing, or part of a registered media company, you’re eligible to submit for GRAMMY consideration using the GRAMMY Online Entry Process.

Recording Academy members in both the Voting and Professional categories can make entries, as well as registered media companies that release recordings and meet GRAMMY eligibility criteria.

One perk of becoming a Voting member is that you have the ability to submit yourself or your peers for nomination!

Common Pitfalls To Avoid

As the excitement of your FYC campaign builds, it’s important to steer clear of the potential missteps that could derail your GRAMMY aspirations.

For example, messaging individuals to vote for you is a no-go. Also, avoid bombarding your network with excessive messages. Spamming can turn off potential supporters.

Also, keep an eye out for the important dates to submit your music.

Remember: To be eligible for the 2025 GRAMMY Awards, your recordings need to have been released between September 16, 2023, and August 30, 2024. If your music release falls outside those dates, it will automatically be disqualified.

Prioritize following the guidelines outlined here to ensure your campaign stays on track and in line with GRAMMY regulations, and stay tuned for updates from the Recording Academy.

But What Category Do I Fall Into?

Take some time to reflect on what your songs really sound like. The accuracy and efficacy of the category you select is key for the GRAMMYs.

Deepen your understanding of category expectations by reading the official rulebook. For instance, New Age music typically features minimal vocals, and Classical compositions often follow a structured story arc.

If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to seek input from friends and peers. It often helps to have fresh perspectives from folks who are a little removed from the creation of your work.

Also, consider the competitiveness aspect. Submitting for Top 10 categories like Best New Artist or Best Album may not always be the most realistic option.

Take cues from industry trends and past winners to set realistic expectations for yourself and your music. If Beyoncé hasn’t even won Best Album yet… it’s probably best to sideline that category for now!

Your Story Matters

A successful FYC campaign is about more than just great music. It’s about getting the word out, engaging with fans and influencers, and showing the world why your music deserves to be noticed.

To do this, consider creating an FYC page. An FYC page is similar to an EPK (Electronic Press Kit). It generally isn’t advertised on a personal website or other public channels, and is only accessible through a private link.

It serves as a dedicated landing page you can share with anyone you’re putting care into networking with. Here’s some essentials to include on your FYC page:

  • Your artist name
  • The work being submitted
  • A compelling bio highlighting your journey as an artist
  • A making-of video that tells the story behind your music
  • Streaming links for easy access to all your songs
  • High-resolution photos to visually engage your audience
  • Project collaborator information (if applicable)
  • Contact information for media inquiries

The most essential part of your campaign is revealing what makes your album truly special. To do this, tell a compelling story about it. 

Think back to the moments you wrote your first songs for the album, and capture the spark of inspiration you had back then. Share it in a creative way that will make listeners want to learn more.

Diving into your story might feel vulnerable because it often means recalling life’s tough moments. No matter how much you decide to share, it will help your audience connect with you and your music.

Above all else, be true to yourself. Trust that your authenticity will resonate with your audience more than anything else.

Okay, That’s a Lot. What Now?

Take a deep breath, pour yourself a glass of water, pull out that notepad, and start manifesting your goals.

Ultimately, a successful FYC campaign takes a combination of talent, hard work, and strategic planning. By following the eligibility guidelines, staying true to your artistic vision, and engaging authentically with your network, you can increase your chances of realizing your GRAMMY dreams.

If you define your vision, create a clear plan, and give it your all, the experience will be rewarding no matter the outcome.

Want to hear more about this process? Listen to Episode 361 of the DIY Musician Podcast here.

Don’t forget to take advantage of Kaytee Long Becker’s Express PR Campaign offer (there’s a special discount for CD Baby artists).

Instagram: Kaytee Long Becker
Email: [email protected]

Credits: So You Want To Win a GRAMMY?