Jon Batiste won album of the year honours for ‘We Are’ at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, giving him five trophies on a night that saw the ‘70s funk of Silk Sonic take record of the year and song of the year and newcomer Olivia Rodrigo take three awards.
Batiste honoured the artists he beat. “The creative arts are subjective,” he said. “Be you.”
The multi-genre performer also won for his song ‘Cry,’ the video for ‘Freedom’ and his work with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on the soundtrack for ‘Soul.’
“I just put my head down and I work on the craft every day. I love music,” he said.
The R&B supergroup Silk Sonic took home awards in all four categories it was nominated in, including record of the year.
Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak were exuberant as they accepted the honour toward the end of the ceremony. The win puts Mars in historic company again: He becomes the only artist along with Paul Simon to take home the award three times.
“We are really trying our hardest to remain humble at this point,” .Paak said. “But in the industry, they call that a clean sweep!” later adding “drinks is on Silk Sonic tonight!”
The win came after the night’s festivities saw Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the gathering with an update on the war.
John Legend then performed ‘Free’ with Ukrainian singer-actress Mika Newton and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk.
Rodrigo’s big night
Rodrigo’s won for best new artist put her in esteemed company including Carly Simon, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Tom Jones, the Beatles and Billie Eilish.
A veteran of the ‘High School Musical’ series, she became the breakout music star of 2021, leading with her massive viral hit ‘Drivers License’ and following with the single ‘Good 4 U’ and the aching album ‘Sour,’ which took best pop vocal album.
“This is my biggest dream come true,” she said after her best new artist win. She thanked her parents for supporting her dreams, which at one point involved being an Olympic gymnast and quickly veered toward music.
“I want to thank my mom for being so supportive for all of my dreams, no matter how crazy. I want to thank my mom and dad for being equally as proud of me for winning a Grammy as they were when I learned how to do a back walk.”
Silk Sonic opened the Grammys in Las Vegas with their high-energy, infectious fix of retro soul and funk by performing their ‘777.’ They returned to the stage a short time later to collect the song of the year trophy for ‘Leave the Door Open.’
The win helps Mars tie the record for most song of the year wins. He had previously won for ‘24K Magic.’
Both Mars and .Paak jumped out their seat, threw up their hands and danced to their song.
“We’ll be singing this song together for the rest of our lives,” Mars said to .Paak.
A night to remember
Host Trevor Noah introduced the duo’s opening performance by saying they were singlehandedly bringing back the 1970s, “which might explain the inflation.”
By the time the show started on CBS, Batiste has already taken home four Grammy Awards, including his first ever. Batiste won for best American roots performance, best American roots song, best music video and tied with Carlos Rafael Rivera for best score soundtrack for visual media. His song ‘Freedom’ in the music video category beat out several other tough competitors, including Rodrigo, Lil Nas X and Eilish. All the honours were handed out during a pre-telecast ceremony.
“I am so grateful for the gifts that God has given me and the ability to share that for the love of humankind,” Batiste said. “We just wanted everyone to see it. Any depression, any bondage or any darkness that was over your life is completely removed by just the love and the joy of the video.”
It’s the first tie since 2019 when Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake tied with Anderson .Paak to win best rap performance.
It was a family affair from cousins Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar, who won best rap performance for their song ‘Family Ties.’ Lamar won his 14th Grammy and the first for Keem, who said “nothing could have prepared me for this moment’’ after stepping out onstage to claim his trophy.
Chris Stapleton won his third Grammy for best country solo performance for ‘You Should Probably Leave.’ He extended his record for the most wins.
Bennett extended his record as the artist with the most traditional pop vocal album with 14 wins with ‘Love for Sale,’ a duet album with Lady Gaga.
Dressed in all black, BTS took the stage with a flirty moment between V and Rodrigo before the group performed their hit single ‘Butter.’ The made an appearance after one of the members tested positive for COVID-19. All seven of the members — Jin, Jimin, V, RM, J-Hope, Suga and Jungkook — acted as if they were secret agents with neon-blue lasers, dancing with smooth choreography before going into a brief rap portion of the song.
Foo Fighters won three awards Sunday, but were not in attendance to pick up their trophies following the recent death of its drummer Taylor Hawkins. An extended tribute to Hawkins played before the show’s In Memorium segment honouring artists and music industry figures who’ve died.
Eilish paid homage to Hawkins during her performance by sporting a black T-shirt with his image. She stepped onstage in an upside-down house along with her brother Finneas before stepping into the rain to perform the title track from her ‘Happier Than Ever.’
TJ Osborne fought back tears as he and his brother accepted a Grammy for the Brothers Osborn song ‘Younger Me.’ He noted the song was inspired by his coming out.
The ceremony shifted from Los Angeles to Las Vegas because of rising COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant in January, with organisers citing “too many risks” to hosting the performance-filled show at the time.