Vote for your favorite local musicians to be honored at 2021 Wammie Awards

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Wammie Award voting (Part 1)

Do you know a great local band or talented musician that deserves to get more credit?

It’s your last week to vote for them for The Wammies presented by The MusicianShip.

“Anyone from the public in D.C., Maryland and Virginia can nominate and bring an artist forward to be recognized,” Director of Community Engagement Jessica Teachey told WTOP. “However, the real achievement is to be selected as a finalist. That means the region came back and voted for your work to be sent to the industry judges.”

The judges pick seven finalists in each category and reveal the winners on March 28.

Last year’s show had pre-recorded segments, but this year will feature a live virtual show. “We’re hoping it’ll be something new, different and exciting,” Teachey said.

The 32-year-old event was launched by the Washington Area Music Association, then was taken over by the nonprofit organization The MusicianShip in 2018.

The big change was the public nomination process, Teachey said.

“Historically, you had to be a paying member in order to bring names forward,” Teachey said. “That played into the demise of the Wammie Awards in terms of financial access, genre music access, so we’ve removed that.”

The field includes 26 different music genres across 63 total categories.

“You can have categories like rap, hip-hop, jazz and go-go; those genres have three different awards: Best Album, Best Song, Best Artist/Group,” Teachey said. “Even though we’re still a relatively young arts organization here in the area, we’re still one of the few that are taking on such a bulk of individuals to be able to represent.”

This is especially important during a pandemic when many musicians are out of work.

“Even though our industry has been hit with the global pandemic, we got to sit back and watch the resilience of folks in the region,” Teachey said. “Albums were still released, individuals set up studios in their homes or were able to build out COVID-19-safe ways to still get music recorded. … Our musicians still prevailed.”

Teachey said it’s important not to forget that the pandemic also affected rising student musicians.

“How many students are not able to see their favorite music teachers? Music is a healing force to help our children develop emotionally, mentally, physically. … We want to use the Wammie Awards as a philanthropic cycle.”

In fact, several Wammie winners consistently give back to the nonprofit, Teachey said, including The Bumper Jacksons, Black Alley, Eli Lev, Cecily and Carly Harvey: “These are individuals who have said, ‘Hey, listen, make use of me, I want to come in, educate and perform.'”

Voting for the Wammie Awards ends on Jan. 31.

“We really want the Wammie Awards to be an annual event of recognition, networking and hopefully collaboration,” Teachey said. “If you’ve got music on your cellphone, your iTunes and Spotify, what are you doing to ensure that there’s more kids to do that in the next 10, 15, 20 years? I think the Wammie Awards is one way we can do that.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Wammie Award voting (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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