Wiyaala, officially, has been welcomed as a member into GRAMMYS 2022 New Member Class, weeks after receiving an invitation from the Recording Academy.
On Friday (September 9), Recording Academy President and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. shared the news during an annual address, in which he welcomed nearly 2,000 diverse musicians, including the Ghanaian afropop singer-songwriter, and other music industry professionals, into its ranks. The membership presents her an opportunity to celebrate, represent, and give back to music and its creators.
According to a new report released alongside the announcement, 47% of this year’s inductees are under the age of 40, 32% are women, and 44% are people of color. New members had the option of not disclosing any demographic information, with 16% declining to share their gender, 13% declining to share their age, and 24% declining to self-report their ethnicity.
“We now actively recruit prospective members and we extend invitations to people who will help us have a more diverse, engaged, and relevant membership base,” Mason said during the session. “We strive for diversity not merely to give certain groups of people or musical genres space at the table [that has been] historically denied them—though that’s definitely part of our motivation. The truth is whenever you have diverse inputs into a decision-making process, you tend to arrive at better outcomes.”
“After years of listening, learning, and putting in the work, we’re beginning to see results of our efforts to diversify the Academy’s membership come to life,” Mason said in a statement shared with Pitchfork. “Our members are the lifeblood of this organization, powering everything we do from the inside out. When we have diverse people representing all corners of the industry contributing unique perspectives, progress is achieved at a rapid pace. The journey is just beginning, and I can’t wait to work alongside our new and existing members to build on the Academy’s commitment to effecting real, meaningful change.”
Wiyaala is from Funsi in Ghana’s Upper West Region. She began her solo career in 2013 and released her eponymous debut album a year later, after winning two VGMAs and three AFRIMAs. Sissala Goddess, her second album, was released in 2018. She also performs with the international female band GRRRL. She co-headlined this year’s SummerStage festival, New York City’s beloved outdoor performing arts festival, with Shatta Wale in August.
Meanwhile, nearly 3000 people were inducted into the Recording Academy last year, including British act Tiana Major9, Nigerian-American talent manager Jonathan Azu, Jamaican reggae singer Skip Marley, and Ghanaian dancehall and reggae singer Stonebwoy. In 2020, DJ and producer Juls, a British-Ghanaian, Bankulli and DJ Spinall, two musicians from Nigeria, joined the academy.
Watch the annual Academy Membership address from Harvey Mason jr below