Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Compton rap performer, Kendrick Lamar received the most awards at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards with five although country-turned-pop singer, Taylor Swift took home the top prize of Album of The Year. Ms Swift and the alt-rock band, Alabama Shakes each received three Grammy awards. In fact, all of the Album of The Year nominees, which included the previously mentioned artists as well as urban soul vocalist, the Weeknd and country singer, Chris Stapleton, won the album award in their respective categories this year. British pop-folk artist, Ed Sheeran won Song of The Year  while Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars received Record of The Year for "Uptown Funk".

LL Cool J once again was our host and the program was filled with twenty musical performances.
Taylor Swift kicked off the awards with her new single, "Out of The Woods" and this bombastic but unimpressive appearance seemed to indicate the direction of most of the show. We had a chemistry-free country performance by Best New Artist nominee, Sam Hunt and Carrie Underwood, a low-energy the Weeknd doing his hit "Can't Feel My Face", a very nervous duo of Best New Artist nominees, Tori Kelly and James Bay and just plain weird set by Justin Bieber, Diplo and Skrillex. Even Adele, who sang "All I Ask" (from her mega-smash, "25" which she co-wrote with Bruno Mars) had difficulty connecting although it wasn't entirely her fault as she clearly had sound issues.

What did manage to work best were the tributes to important musical artists, some that have recently passed away. We had a fun celebration of the music by Lionel Richie that included John Legend, Demi Lovato and Meghan Trainor before being reduced to a flood of tears after predictably wining Best New Artist. The a Capella performance by Steve Wonder and Pentatonix to honor the late Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire was amazing. B.B. King was remembered by Bonnie Raitt, Gary Clark Jr. and Grammy-winner, Stapleton with a rousing take of the Blues man's hit, "The Thrill Is Gone". There were still a few clunkers here with The Eagles reuniting with Jackson Browne to pay their respects to the band's founding member, Glen Frey with a listless version of "Take It Easy" while the tribute to hard rock legend, Lemmy Klimister by The Hollywood Vampires, a new rock super-group that features Alice Cooper and actor Johnny Depp, was just loud and a little tragic. And I have to add that the Grammys could have done much more regarding a remembrance to the late r&b singer, Natalie Cole. The nine-time winner deserved better.

Then there was Lady Gaga and her hotly anticipated performance to honor the memory of rock chameleon David Bowie. With Nile Rodgers by her side, Gaga did not disappoint, giving it her all with a spirited set that featured visual effects, dancers and Bowie-inspired costume changes as she burned through the singer's hits like "Life On Mars", "Fame" and "Let's Dance". Another highlight was Kendrick Lemar's politically charged performance of "The Blacker The Berry" with the rapper coming on stage out of a prison cell in chains to make a pointed and creative statement on social injustice and police brutality against African-Americans.

Lamar wasn't the only one who had something to say. Before Beyoncé presented the Record of The Year, she spoke about the importance of artistic expression which indirectly referenced the silly fuss made over her Super Bowl performance. A fed-up Taylor Swift finally took aim at Kanye West for his offensive lyrics regarding her in his new music and ridiculous claim of being responsible for her fame. Never mentioning the rapper by name, she encouraged young female artists during her Album of The Year speech to stay strong and focused, reminding them there will be people out there trying to diminish your accomplishments.

The most inspired moment of the entire evening was presenting the opening number of Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit Broadway musical, "Hamilton" to the television audience. The winner for Best Musical Theater Album was dynamic, innovative and thoroughly modern which was everything this year's Grammys was not. Overall, not a memorable night for the music world's biggest event.

Here is a partial list of winners from the 2016 Grammy Awards:

Album of the Year: "1989" - Taylor Swift
Song of the Year: "Thinking Out Loud," - written by Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge
Record of the Year: "Uptown Funk," - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
Best New Artist: Meghan Trainor
Best Pop Vocal Album: "1989" - Taylor Swift
Best Pop Solo Performance: "Thinking Out Loud" - Ed Sheeran
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: "Uptown Funk," - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: "The Silver Lining: The Songs Of Jerome Kern" — Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap
Best Rap Album: "To Pimp a Butterfly" - Kendrick Lamar
Best Rap Song: "Alright," - written by Kendrick Lamar
Best Rap Solo Performance: "Alright," - Kendrick Lamar
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: "These Walls," - Kendrick Lamar featuring Bilal, Anna Wise, and Thundercat
Best Country Album: "Traveler" - Chris Stapleton
Best Country Song: "Girl Crush" - written by Little Big Town
Best Country Solo Performance: "Traveller" - Chris Stapleton
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: "Girl Crush" - Little Big Town
Best Rock Album: "Drones" - Muse
Best Rock Song: "Don't Wanna Fight" - Written by Alabama Shakes
Best Rock Performance: "Don't Wanna Fight" - Alabama Shakes
Best Metal Performance: "Cirice," - Ghost
Best Alternative Album: "Sound & Color" - Alabama Shakes
Best Dance/Electronic Album: "Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü" - Skrillex and Diplo
Best Dance Recording: “Where Are Ü Now” — Skrillex And Diplo With Justin Bieber

Best Urban Contemporary Album: "Beauty Behind the Madness" - the Weeknd
Best R&B Album: "Black Messiah" — D’Angelo And The Vanguard
Best R&B Song: "Really Love" - written by D'Angelo and Kendra Foster
Best R&B Performance: "Earned It" - the Weeknd
Best Traditional R&B Performance: “Little Ghetto Boy” — Lalah Hathaway
Best Jazz Vocal Album: "For One To Love" — Cécile McLorin Salvant
Best Blues Album: "Born To Play Guitar" — Buddy Guy
Best Gospel Album: "Covered: Alive Is Asia [Live] (Deluxe)" — Israel & Newbreed
Best Americana Album: "Something More Than Free" — Jason Isbell
Best Reggae Album: "Strictly Roots" — Morgan Heritage
Best Latin Pop Album: "A Quien Quiera Escuchar (Deluxe Edition)" — Ricky Martin
Best Comedy Album: "Live At Madison Square Garden" — Louis C.K.
Best Musical Theater Album: "Hamilton"
Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media: "Birdman" - Antonio Sanchez
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media: “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
Best Song Written for Visual Media: "Glory" - Common and John Legend
Best Music Film: "Amy"
Best Music Video: "Bad Blood," - Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar
Producer of the Year (Non-Classical): Jeff Bhasker


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