Bad Song. Awful Video. Unknown Artist. Grammy Nomination? How Al Walser Managed To Get In The Big League
It's OK if you haven't. We hadn't either. The electronic dance community itself--a tightly fraternal group of artists who are well familiar with their own--was confused by the nod for his song "I Can't Live Without You," an effort that's not quite Rebecca Black-level terrible, but pretty close in terms of, well, not exactly making the professional grade. Check for yourselves:
Media outlets ranging from underground music blogs to industry standards such as Billboard--as well as plain ol' music fans--have been hashing out Walser's nomination, with commentary ranging from indignant ("[An] awful song by some random dude") to amused ("Hey guys, I'm so glad Al Walser is FINALLY being noticed for his TREMENDOUS dance track!").
Those who weren't outraged by the out-of-nowhere nod were likely just indifferent: The tune is not only subpar, it was virtually unknown before this week. Prior to the Grammy nomination announcement, the equally amateur YouTube video for the clip had received a mere 20 hits. (The number has since grown to more than 100,000 and counting.)
So, the question begs: How did a basically unknown performer squeak his way in with the A-listers of the genre? Unsurprisingly, insider talk is pointing fingers at foul play, suggesting that the Los Angeles-based Walser used a beefy list of Grammy-related connections to secure his place in the category.
Walser, who got his start in the '90s as a member of a European pop group, now has his fingers in various music-industry endeavors--including heading up an independent label, a publishing company, and a weekly dance-music radio show. He also claims to be a Grammy voting member on his Twitter account.
That alone doesn't mean much, but Walser admits he networks extensively with other Grammy voters--leading some to suggest he leaned on this popularity of sorts in this matter.
Dance music site House.net hopped on the story early, leveling "connection claims" at Walser as part of an investigation into the mystery. While noting that he does not appear on the official Grammy Academy rosters--and therefore is suspect as an actual "Grammy Voting Member"--the site points out Walser's history of behind-the-scenes industry work and social media activity with fellow Grammy voters.