A couple of weeks from now, we will announce the nominees for the 2015 Houston Press Music Awards. Part of the process of putting together each year’s ballot — the first part, actually — is reviewing the previous year’s ballot and deciding which categories need to go, which should stay, and which can be added or changed. On that note, we have decided to make the following changes to the 2015 HPMA ballot:
** Adding the long-overdue, catch-all category of Best Live Act.
** Shuffling the rap categories by collapsing Best Solo Rapper, Rap Group and Rap DJ into Best Rap Act but, to reflect the volume of award-worthy rap music currently being made in Houston, creating individual categories for Best Rap Album/Mixtape, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Video.
** Creating Best Dance Music Act by combining Best Electronic Act and Best Club DJ; likewise folding the often-overlapping Best Folk and Best Americana into Best Roots Act.
** Replacing Best Traditional Rock and Best Modern Rock with Best Rock and Best Alternative, which to us pulls from that hard-to-define musical netherworld that mingles any or all of the following: rock, pop, classical, hip-hop, jazz, R&B, punk, metal, electronica and indie. (In other words, that kind of music that makes you say, “I know it when I hear it.”)
** The Reader’s Choice award will return this year. Nominees will be announced within a few days after voting begins.
Like last year, we’ve asked a handful of people close to the local music scene for their suggestions as to who should be on the 2015 ballot. But we’d also like to hear from our readers, right here in the comments section of this article. This year the number of categories is 36, which may sound daunting — and trust us, it is — but any fewer would be a disservice to the talented individuals and groups who make up a music scene as incredibly talented and diverse as Houston’s.
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Bear in mind the HPMAs are not supposed to be a popularity contest, strictly speaking. There are plenty of other avenues of life, from the supermarket aisle to the cineplex, where the biggest-selling product is not necessarily the best in terms of quality; it’s often quite the opposite. We’d just as soon the people to whom we’ll be handing out awards in a couple of months truly deserve them, and that starts by opening the floor for readers to tell us which acts in town they feel most passionately about. So please, let us know who you think should be recognized for their outstanding music, in as many or as few of the following categories as you care to respond to:
BEST LOCAL RECORDING (LP or EP)
BEST LOCAL SONG
BEST LOCAL MUSIC VIDEO
BEST NEW ACT
BEST LIVE ACT
BEST MALE VOCALS
BEST FEMALE VOCALS
BEST HORNS (individual or horn section)
BEST OTHER INSTRUMENT
BEST RAP ACT
BEST RAP ALBUM/MIXTAPE
BEST RAP SONG
BEST RAP VIDEO
BEST DANCE MUSIC ACT
BEST DJ NIGHT (recurring gig by two or more DJs)
BEST POP ACT
BEST JAZZ ACT
BEST BLUES ACT
BEST SOUL/FUNK/R&B ACT
BEST LATIN ACT
BEST REGGAE/SKA ACT
BEST ZYDECO ACT
BEST ROOTS ACT
BEST COUNTRY ACT
BEST ROCK ACT
BEST ALTERNATIVE ACT
BEST PUNK ACT
BEST METAL ACT
BEST EXPERIMENTAL/NOISE ACT
BEST COVER/TRIBUTE ACT
See what we mean? See you in a couple of weeks.
** Please comment by 12 a.m. Wednesday, June 24. Albums/EPs/Songs/Videos must have been released between July 1, 2014 and June 23, 2015. Good luck!