New Mexico Music Awards
2018 Award Categories

The New Mexico Music Awards has over 40 categories in a variety of genres and disciplines recognizing the talents of producers, graphic designers and audio engineers. Each year’s program recognizes music recorded during the previous calendar year. When submitting entries to the awards program, please consider the following:

  • Was my recording produced or released during the 2017 calendar year?
  • Which category and genre does my music best fit into?
  • Am I entering a category that is for original music only?
  • Am I entering a single length category?
  • Am I entering a performance specific category?
  • Am I entering a non-performance category?
  • Am I entering a full length category for album or CD?

Because the number of entries in a category fluctuate from year to year, we are making the following changes for 2018.

The New Age/Contemporary category has been re-titled Contemporary Instrumental.

A few other things to remember.

Categories with less than five entries may be combined with another category similar in style. For instance, Americana and Folk might be combined or World Beat and Reggae might be combined. Entrants will be given notice that their category will be combined with another and be given the option of a refund of their entry fee or moving their entry to an alternate non-genre specific category.

For example, if the entrant does not want to have their music combined in the Folk/Bluegrass category, they would also have the option of moving the entry into the Best Song or Singer/Songwriter category.

Categories with less than five entrants or where where the majority of the entries come from one person or band, the category will either be combined with another category, if appropriate or streamlined to eliminate the duplicate entries. Entrants will be given the option of a refund of their entry fee or having their entry moved to another category, where appropriate.

In an effort to streamline the music awards presentation program, some awards will be handed out prior to the ceremony. The decision will be made based on the categories with fewer than five entries or other consideration such as combined or altered categories.

Single Length Genre Categories
Categories 1-25 are judged on production, performance and composition. We have provided links to general definitions of the genres listed here. They are only general descriptions for reference purposes should you have questions about what genre your music might fit.

  1. Adult Contemporary – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. This category is the softer side of many artists in many genres.
  2. Americana – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. This music encompasses the spirit of Folk with a modern twist.
  3. Blues – Original compositions only. Single length entries only.
  4. Bluegrass – Original compositions only. Single length entries only.
  5. Children’s Music – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. This music, written especially for youth may be entertaining, instructive or both.
  6. Contemporary Instrumental – Original compositions only. Single length entries only.  Includes ambient, classical pop, easy listening, easy pop, instrumental pop, mood music, neoclassical, space, kirtan and trance.
  7. Country – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Traditional, contemporary and hot country dominate this category.
  8. Electronica – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. All forms of electronic music including dance, techno, DOR, industrial, synthpop, ambient and other synth-fusion genres.
  9. Folk – Original Compositions only. Folk music encompasses traditional genres.
  10. Hip-Hop – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Includes beats, oldschool, neosoul, big beat and electro.
  11. Indie Rock – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Organic and simple.
  12. Jazz – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. All styles of jazz including straight ahead, fusion, acid, contemporary, smooth and eclectic jazz.
  13. Latin – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Encompasses traditional local styles of Latin music such as Regional Mexican. waltzes, polkas, mariachi, norteñas, rancheras, and more contemporary flavors including cumbia, Latin dance and big band, Cubano, Latin jazz, merengue, tango rigaton, ritmo and romantico.
  14. Metal – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Includes traditional, death doom, glam, progressive, power and speed metal.
  15. Modern Rock – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Sometimes referred to as Classic Rock or Heritage Rock.
  16. Native American – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. This music may be traditional style (drums, corn dances, round dances) or may be modern in scope (Contemporary, Rock, Hip-Hop) and must incorporate some sort of Native American cultural aspect. Ideally, it is written and/or performed by Native Americans.
  17. Novelty/Humorous – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Songs in this category can be seasonal, satirical, parody or humorous in nature.
  18. Pop – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Not defined by a specific genre.
  19. R & B – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Sometimes referred to as “Soul”, “Black” or “Urban”. This is often African-American influenced music.
  20. Rap – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Includes gangsta, hardcore.
  21. Reggae – Original compositions only. Single length entries only.
  22. Religious/Gospel – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Any style of music is accepted. The music should have a spiritual message. This category is also judged on how professionally the message is communicated.
  23. Singer/Songwriter Original compositions only. Single length entries only. This genre attempts to define the songwriter not only as an entity, but as a style.
  24. Western – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. This genre encompasses the original experience of American Folk music, but embodies the “Spirit of the West” and is more wide-open spaces than barrooms and pickups.
  25. World– Original compositions only. Single length entries only. World music tends to have ethnic folk roots but comes in all styles and all tongues.

Performance/Tech Specific Categories
Categories 26-32 are judged on criteria specific to the category.

  1. Best Arrangement Original Composition – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Judged solely on the arrangement, its rhythm, consistency and complexity. . Any style, single or group. Any genre.
  2. Best Cover Song (Remake) – Single length entries only. Recordings of previously released commercial material. Re-recordings or covers of material previously entered into the New Mexico Music Awards are not eligible. Any style, single or group. Any genre.
  3. Best Instrumental Performance – Single length entries only. Judged solely on the instrumental performance. Any style, single or group. Any genre.
  4. Best Mastering Engineer-Single length entries only. Judged on entire ensemble. Any style, single or group. Any genre. Mastering services from out of state are eligible only if used to master a New Mexico produced project.
  5. Best Recording Engineer – Single length entries only. Judged solely on engineering quality of the entry. Judged on entire ensemble. Any style, single or group. Any genre.
  6. Best Song – Original compositions only. Single length entries only. Any genre. Based solely on composition. Any style, single or group. Any genre.
  7. Best Vocal Performance – Single length entries only. Judged on the vocalist or vocal ensemble performance. Any style, male, female or group. Any style, single or group. Any genre.

Non-Performance Categories 
Categories 33-34 are judged on marketing concepts and design.

  1. Best Video –The video category includes film and video scores as well as traditional music videos. Any style, single or group. Any genre.
  2. Best Packaging Design – Entries must be album length and commercially available. Please submit a separate CD for this category. Graphics are an important part of selling any project. Cheesy artwork says cheap production to a record label or to a consumer.

Full Length Categories
Categories 35-42 are judged as a full length, commercially available projects and may include Extended Play (EPs) releases. Commercially available means that the product must be retail ready and available through retail outlets or the Internet as a download through a retail outlet such as I-Tunes, Amazon, CD Baby, etc.A separate CD is required for this category. Projects available as a download must be made available at no cost or sent electronically and submitted with artwork (if available) with the entry form. Each project is judged on the consistency and commercial viability of the project.

  1. Best Country CD – Entries must be album length and commercially available. Judged on the project’s commercial viability within the Country music marketplace. Also judged on performance, production and composition. Please submit a separate CD for this category.
  2. Best Hip-Hop CD-Entries must be album length and commercially available. Judged on the project’s commercial viability within the Hip-Hop music marketplace. Also judged on performance, production and composition. Please submit a separate CD for this category.
  3. Best Jazz CD –  Judged on the project’s commercial viability within the Jazz music marketplace. Also judged on performance, production and composition. Please submit a separate CD for this category.
  4. Best Pop CD – Entries must be album length and commercially available. Judged on the project’s commercial viability within the Pop music marketplace. Also judged on performance, production and composition. Please submit a separate CD for this category.
  5. Best Rap CD-Entries must be album length and commercially available. Judged on the project’s commercial viability within the Rap music marketplace. Also judged on performance, production and composition. Please submit a separate CD for this category.
  6. Best Rock CD – Entries must be album length and commercially available. Judged on the project’s commercial viability within the Rock music marketplace. Also judged on performance, production and composition. Please submit a separate CD for this category
  7. Norman Petty Producer’s Award– Entries must be album length and commercially available. Judging is based on the consistency and quality of the total music production. Please submit a separate CD for this category.
  8. Best of the Year – Entries must be album length and commercially available. This category encompasses the entire project. Judged on original concept, composition, engineering, production, performance, artwork, marketing and commercial viability. Please submit a separate CD for this category.