Taylor Swift’s plan to re-record all of her older music is officially underway, as evidenced by the announcement of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) a few days ago. A project this ambitious has never before happened with a pop star of her caliber, and it has led to questions regarding her eligibility at upcoming Grammy ceremonies. Could these records, most of which received nominations in the past, again find themselves in contention? Well, the answer is yes — kind of.
“Current eligibility guidelines would allow for the new performances and albums to be eligible if they were recorded within the last five years,” explained a spokesperson for the Recording Academy. “However, none of the older songs would be eligible for songwriting awards.”
That statement is simultaneously clear and confusing, so Billboard asked the Academy to clarify. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) will include six “never-before-released songs from the vault”, which are definitely fair game for song-related Grammy nominations. As for the rest? “The new performances would be eligible in performance categories if they were recorded within the last five years,” explains Billboard. “The songs would be eligible in songwriting categories if they are new songs (previously unreleased in any form).”
Considering Swift has dominated pretty much every award show for over a decade — the original Fearless won four Grammys, including Album of the Year and Best Country Album, and she’s once again nominated in six categories at the upcoming Grammy Awards thanks to folklore — there’s a very good chance Fearless (Taylor’s Version) will land her some fresh nominations once it becomes eligible next year.
The evermore singer would be in good company if her re-recorded songs receive Grammy nods. Nat King Cole was nominated for Album of the Year in 1961 with a retrospective compilation, Frank Sinatra won Album of the Year in 1967 for a double album of re-recorded material, and a handful of others (Roy Orbison, Elton John, and James Taylor) won awards in performance categories for their re-recordings of individual songs. However, it’s been 20 years since that last happened — and no one has won Album of the Year twice for the same record (which would be the case if Swift’s new version of Fearless were to win the category next year).
On Friday, Swift gave fans a taste of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) when she shared “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” and discreetly revealed that the album will be out on April 9th. Swift initially devised the idea of remaking her entire early catalog back in in August of 2019, when music mogul Scooter Braun scooped up all the master recordings of Swift’s first six studio albums for a reported $300 million, without the musician’s knowledge or consent. Swift figured that be re-recording all those records would, in essence, devalue the masters owned by Braun because anyone who respects an artist’s work would simply use the new recordings instead. Perhaps aware of this, Braun recently sold Big Machine’s catalog to an investment fund — once again without informing Swift.