You need not be a Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) member to submit your recording for Nā Hōkū consideration, but your release must be available for purchase in at least one established brick-and-mortar store or online service (like iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, etc.) by that date. Only recordings released between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 are eligible for the 2014 awards.
Please note that the Nā Hōkū Awards are not limited to the Hawaiian music genre. There are categories for rock, R&B, jazz, and many more!
Nomination paperwork is due by January 31, 2014. Record labels and record distributors often submit the paperwork on behalf of their artists – if you’re working with a label or distributor, please check with them to make sure they are submitting on your behalf. However, if you are not working with a label and are self-distributing your recording, you or your representative must submit the nomination paperwork yourself.
[Note: If your label or distributor is submitting on your behalf, be sure to check with them to make sure the entries they select for submission for Song of the Year, Haku Mele, or the Engineering Award are the tracks you want submitted in those categories.]
The 2014 nomination form and guidelines are available now on the HARA website (see the links on the right side of the page). You may submit online or download, print, and mail. You must submit 3 copies of your recording. (If your recording is a digital-only release, copy the tracks onto blank CDs and submit.) For entries in the Haku Mele and Hawaiian Language Performance categories, you must submit 10 additional copies of the recording (13 total), plus 10 copies of the lyrics and translations.
[Note: when submitting nominations on behalf of my clients, I download and print the form and guidelines, fill out the form by hand, and then use that information to submit online. It’s easier to have all of the info at hand before you begin the online submission, plus you have a record of it. Be sure to read through the Guidelines before you begin!]
Although it’s not mandatory, you may wish to take advantage of HARA’s mail-out service to send CDs, postcards/letters/fliers, or e-mail to voting members in order to familiarize them with your recording. This is especially helpful for those artists whose name(s) or recording might not be as well known to the voting members as other, more established artists.
Of the three options, mailing CDs is the most expensive. You must provide HARA with enough mail-ready copies of the CD to send to each voting member – approximately 425 as of now, but that number could increase to approximately 650 by the end of December, if all voting members whose memberships are up for renewal submit their renewal fees. You must enclose each CD in an envelope with a return address and the proper amount of postage affixed. HARA will print and affix mailing labels to send to all voting members, and mail the CDs out. There is a $200 fee for this service, in addition to the cost of the CDs, envelopes, return address labels, and postage.
The same procedure holds true for postcards, letters, and fliers. They must be mail-ready and have postage and return addresses affixed. The fee for this service is $150.
The e-mail blast option is becoming more popular. You email a PDF file (not larger than 500kb) to HARA, and they forward it by e-mail to all voting members. The fee for this is $175.00, and the HARA office tells me that 93% of the voting members click on the links contained in e-mail blasts.
As a cost-saving measure, consider putting links in your e-mail PDF file (or in your letter, flyer, or postcard), that will allow voting members to go to the website of your choosing and click on a password-protected link to listen to or download your album free of charge. (As a voting member, I will not vote for a recording I’ve never heard. However, I do listen to every recording that is mailed or e-mailed, especially if I don’t have it already.)
Here is a link to detailed information about HARA’s mail-out service.
Best of luck to all those who are entering the competition for the 2014 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards!