Saturday , November 18 2017

Swift wins top Grammy Award – Lamar steals show

Lady Gaga performs onstage during the 58th Annual Grammy Music Awards in Los Angeles, on Feb 15. (AP)
Lady Gaga performs onstage during the 58th Annual Grammy Music Awards in Los Angeles, on Feb 15. (AP)

LOS ANGELES, Feb 16, (Agencies): Taylor Swift’s official switch from country to pop with her multi-hit, best-selling “1989” album brought the singer her second Grammy Award win for Album of the Year.

Swift was shocked when she won the night’s top prize, beating out Kendrick Lamar, Chris Stapleton, Alabama Shakes and The Weeknd. Swift used her speech to encourage young women who feel defeated at times or discouraged by others.

“There will be people along the way that will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. You just focus on the work and don’t let those people sidetrack you,” she said.

Her speech could be directed partly to Kanye West, who recently said in a new song that he made Swift famous after he stole her microphone at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

Beyonce also seemed to make a statement when she presented the final award for the night, record of the year.

“Art is the unapologetic celebration of culture through self-expression. It can impact people in a variety of ways for different reasons at different times. Some will react. Some will respond. And some will be moved,” she said, seeming to speak to those who were critical of her Super Bowl performance of the anthem, “Formation.”

Swift, who won the Album of the Year Grammy for “Fearless” in 2009, walked away Monday with three awards, including Best Pop Vocal Album and Music Video for “Bad Blood,” at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Alabama Shakes also won three awards, though Lamar was the night’s big winner with five.

Show-stopping

He won best rap album for “Butterfly” as well as rap performance, rap song, rap/sung performance and music video. Along with his wins, Lamar also had a show-stopping moment when he took the stage.

He started as he appeared beaten, in handcuffs, with chains around his hands and a bruise on his eyes. He went on to fuse rap, jazz, reggae and African sounds for a commanding performance as he rapped “The Blacker the Berry” and the Grammy-nominated “Alright” passionately. He ended with a map of Africa, and the city of Compton imprinted in it.

“Hip-hop, Ice Cube, this for hip-hop, this for Snoop Dogg …this for Nas. We will live forever, believe that,” said Lamar onstage when he won best rap album.

Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars won two awards for “Uptown Funk,” including record of the year. Ronson gave a shout-out to Prince, James Brown and George Clinton for being leaders in funk.

“This is dedicated to the fans right here,” Mars added.

Mars introduced Adele, who sang “All I Ask,” which they wrote together for her new album “25.” She was accompanied with a piano behind her, but the audio sounded off and appeared to throw off her performance.

“The piano mics fell onto the piano strings, that’s what the guitar sound was. It made it sound out of tune,” Adele tweeted.

A spokesperson for CBS, where the Grammys aired, said “there was a brief 5-8 second technical issue that was out of our control.”

Justin Bieber started “Love Yourself” on guitar in good form, but ended with a vocal struggle. Little Big Town and Demi Lovato, however, had shining moments during their performances, hitting impressive and smooth high notes.

But Bieber also had a shining moment: He won his first Grammy on Monday night for Best Dance Recording for “Where Are U Now” with Skrillex and Diplo.

The Grammys also marked first-time wins for Alabama Shakes, the Weeknd, Stapleton, Pitbull and Ed Sheeran, who won song of the year for “Thinking out Loud.”

“We wrote it on a couch in my house,” he said of his hit song he wrote with Amy Wadge, which also won him Best Pop Solo Performance.

Alabama Shakes’ three wins included best alternative music album for “Sound & Color,” as well as rock song and rock performance for “Don’t Wanna Fight,” which they performed.

Promise

“My heart is beating a mile a minute,” said frontwoman Brittany Howard. “I promise we’re going to keep going.”

The Weeknd, who won two awards, performed in a cube that was brightly lit for “Can’t Feel My Face” until he switched to a piano-tinged version of his upbeat hit “In the Night.” Stapleton, who has written for dozens of country acts, won best country solo performance and country album for “Traveller.”

“This is something you never ever dream of so I’m super grateful for it,” he said.

Stapleton lost best country song to “Girl Crush” songwriters Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey and Lori McKenna, while the group behind “Girl Crush” — Little Big Town — won Best Country Duo/Group Performance for the hit track.

The Grammys featured a number of performances, including touching tributes: Lady Gaga was in David Bowie-inspired makeup and gear as she ran through 10 of the icon’s hits, including “Space Oddity”, “Changes”, “Fame”, “Let’s Dance” and “Heroes.”

B.B. King was remembered with a rousing performance by Stapleton, Gary Clark. Jr and Bonnie Raitt — all on guitar and vocals — with “The Thrill Is Gone.”

The Hollywood Vampires, a supergroup of Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, performed in their first televised performance and honored Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. Stevie Wonder, joined with Grammy-winning a capella group Pentatonix, sang “That’s the Way of the World” in honor of Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White, while members of the Eagles and Jackson Browne sang “Take It Easy” for Glenn Frey.

Rihanna, who was supposed to perform near the top of the show, couldn’t due to doctor’s orders.

“Rihanna’s doctor put her on vocal rest for 48 hours because she was at risk of hemorrhaging her vocal chords,” a statement from her representative read.

Recording Academy CEO said Lauryn Hill, who was supposed to surprise the audience by performing with The Weeknd, said Hill showed up for dress rehearsal but didn’t make it in time for the show. The academy never officially announced Hill was performing.

“She was invited by (The Weeknd),” Portnow said backstage.

Collaborative performances were one of the themes of the Grammys: Carrie Underwood sang with Sam Hunt; Ellie Goulding and Andra Day performed; and while Lovato, Legend, Luke Bryan and Tyrese sang with Lionel Richie to honor the icon.

Meghan Trainor, who was nominated for two Grammys last year for “All About That Bass,” won Best New Artist.

“Thank you to the Grammys, I love you so much,” said a teary-eyed Trainor, who also thanked her parents and Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid.

Other winners included D’Angelo, Kirk Franklin, Jason Isbell, Tony Bennett.

In 2010, Swift also accomplished a major feat when she won Album of the Year for “Fearless,” becoming the youngest artist to take the prize as she recorded it when she was 20.

Swift has also created waves in the music industry by becoming the pre-eminent foe of Spotify, the leading streaming service, which she charges is unfair by allowing a free tier.

The Recording Academy, which runs the Grammys, used the national broadcast to urge better compensation for artists, while stopping short of criticizing any company in the fast-growing streaming industry.

Heavy

In a politically charged yet genre-spanning appearance, Lamar shuffled onto stage as part of a chain-gang as a jazz saxophone merged with a heavy guitar on “The Blacker the Berry.”

As his performance transitioned to “Alright”, Lamar — his face painted with a bruise — metaphorically walked back to his African roots in a performance with rhythmic dancers in traditional garb before a firepit.

“This is for hip-hop,” the 28-year-old Lamar said, receiving the award from gangsta rap legend Ice Cube. “We will live forever — believe that.”

Ronson, a longtime producer from Britain who has notably worked with superstar Adele, found unprecedented success in his own right with “Uptown Funk”, which spent a near record 14 weeks at the top of the US Billboard singles chart.

The 40-year-old Ronson, who also put on a well-received performance at last week’s Super Bowl, said he was still getting used to his success.

“I would be just as happy and proud if I produced it,” he said of the song, which also won the Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

“I’m a record producer, not a pop star,” he said.

Even by past standards, this year’s Grammys ceremony, hosted by LL Cool J at Staples Center, was performance-heavy and awards-light: Only eight of the 83 awards were handed out during the nighttime show, an all-time low. The rest were dispensed at the early afternoon ceremony held at the Nokia Theatre.

Tribute programming abounded in the wake of a spate of recent music-biz mortalities. Saluting the late Glenn Frey, who died in January, surviving Eagles members Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Joe Walsh, Steuart Smith and Timothy B. Schmitt were joined by the band’s longtime friend and collaborator Jackson Browne. The ensemble performed the group’s first single and hit “Take It Easy,” co-authored by Browne and Frey.

Luminary

Pop/B luminary Lionel Richie, this year’s MusiCares Person of the Year honoree, received a cross-genre tribute in a medley featuring Trainor, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan, Tyrese Gibson. Richie himself stepped from the audience and joined the ensemble for his “All Night Long.”

During the telecast, CBS late-night host (and two-time Grammy winner) Stephen Colbert introduced a number from the hit musical “Hamilton”, performed live on the stage of New York’s Richard Rodgers Theatre and remote-aired. Later in the show, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s historical tuner collected the trophy for best musical theater album; the network cut to a live presentation at the Gotham theater.

Rihanna, scheduled for an on-stage performance, cancelled at the last minute. A statement from the singer’s physician said she had been prescribed 48 hours of vocal rest after her rehearsal on Monday afternoon and was at risk of hemorrhaging her vocal cords.

In an only-in-LA mishap, hip-hop star Lauryn Hill had been expected to perform with The Weeknd on the telecast but didn’t get back to the downtown L.A. venue in time for the show. Hill’s representatives issued a statement asserting that the artist never confirmed her appearance on the telecast, but that was challenged during the backstage remarks by Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow.

“She came to dress rehearsal this morning, left the building and then did not make it back in time to make the show,” Portnow said. “It was unfortunate for us, unfortunate for her. We were ready up until the moment of the downbeat of that performance to have her on the show.”

Andrew Barker contributed to this report.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, on Monday racked up another feat — becoming a two-time Grammy winner.

The 91-year-old won for the second time at the music industry’s premier awards in the category of Best Spoken Word Album for “A Full Life: Reflections at 90,” an audio version of his memoir.

In the book, Carter describes his rise in politics and his stinging election defeat to Ronald Reagan in 1980.

But he also discusses his concerns about the state of the world and especially focuses on his worries about the impact of the marginalization of women.

Winners at 2016 Grammy Awards Awards

The following is a list of the winners in a selection of top categories at the 58th Grammy Awards, which were presented in Los Angeles on Monday:

* Album of the Year: Taylor Swift, “1989”

* Record of the Year (for single): Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”

* Song of the Year (for songwriting): Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”

* Best New Artist: Meghan Trainor

* Best Pop Vocal Album: Taylor Swift, “1989”

* Best Pop Solo Performance: Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”

* Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”

* Best Rock Album: Muse, “Drones”

* Best Alternative Music Album: Alabama Shakes, “Sound and Color”

* Best Rap Album: Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp a Butterfly”

* Best World Music Album: Angelique Kidjo, “Sings” (Benin/Luxembourg)

* Best Dance/Electronic Album: Skrillex and Diplo, “Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U”

* Best Country Album: Traveler, Chris Stapleton

* Best Musical Theater Album: Hamilton

* Best Rap Performance: “Alright”, Kendrick Lamar

* Best Rap Song: “Alright”, Kendrick Lamar

* Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: “These Walls”, Kendrick Lamar featuring Bilal, Anna Wise, and Thundercat

* Best Rock Performance: “Don’t Wanna Fight”, Alabama Shakes

* Best Music Video: “Bad Blood”, Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar

* Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Jeff Bhasker

* Best Country Song: “Girl Crush”, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, and Liz Rose (Little Big Town)

* Best Country Solo Performance: “Traveller”, Chris Stapleton

* Best Rock Performance: “Don’t Wanna Fight”, Alabama Shakes

* Best Rock Song: “Don’t Wanna Fight”, Alabama Shakes

* Best Metal Performance: “Cirice”, Ghost

* Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: “The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern”, Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap

* Best Traditional R&B Performance: “Little Ghetto Boy”, Lalah Hathaway

* Best Dance/Electronic Album: Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü, Skrillex and Diplo

 

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