LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jon Batiste won Album of the Year honors for “We Are” at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, presenting him with five trophies in a night where Silk Sonic’s ’70s funk broke the record-breaking Year and the song reached the year and newcomer Olivia Rodrigo accept three awards.
Batiste honored the artists he beat. “The creative arts are subjective,” he said. “Be yourself.”
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 work at the craft every day. I love music,” he said.
R&B supergroup Silk Sonic took home awards in all four categories in which they were nominated, including Record of the Year. Olivia Rodrigo collected three trophies, including the coveted award for Best New Artist.
Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak were elated as they accepted the honors towards the end of the ceremony. The win brings Mars back into historical company: along with Paul Simon, he becomes the only artist to take home the award three times.
“We’re really trying our best to stay humble at this point,” .Paak said. “But in the industry, that’s what they call a clean sweep!” He later added, “Drinks are on Silk Sonic tonight!”
The victory came after the night’s celebrations became grim when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the gathering with an update on the war and its numbers included children injured and killed. “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos,” he said. “We are fighting against Russia, which brings terrible silence with its bombs. The dead silence. Fill the silence with your music.”
In conclusion, he said: “Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on television. Support us in any way you can, but don’t be silent. And then peace will come to all our cities.”
John Legend then performed “Free” with Ukrainian exiles including singer-actress Mika Newton and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk.
Rodrigo’s win for Best New Artist puts her in distinguished company including Carly Simon, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Tom Jones, the Beatles and Billie Eilish.
A veteran of the High School Musical series, Rodrigo became the breakout music star of 2021, with her massive viral hit Drivers License leading the way, followed by single Good 4 U and aching album Sour ‘, which followed Best Pop Vocal Album.
“This is my biggest dream coming true,” she said after winning Best New Artist. She thanked her parents for supporting her dreams, which once consisted of becoming an Olympic gymnast, and quickly turned to music.
“I want to thank my mom for being so supportive of all my dreams, no matter how crazy. I want to thank my mom and dad for being just as proud of me for winning a Grammy as they were when I learned how to walk backwards.”
Silk Sonic – the all-star union of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak – opened the Grammys in Las Vegas with their energetic, infectious mix 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 wins of the year. He previously won for 24K Magic.
Both Mars and .Paak jumped out of their seats, threw up their hands and danced to their song.
“I couldn’t be prouder to do this than anyone but you,” Mars told .Paak. “We will sing this song together for the rest of our lives.”
Host Trevor Noah introduced the duo’s opening performance by saying that they were single-handedly bringing back the 1970s, “which might explain the inflation.”
By the time the show started on CBS, Jon Batiste had already taken home four Grammy Awards, including his very first. Batiste won for Best American Roots Performance, Best American Roots Song, Best Music Video and, jointly with Carlos Rafael Rivera, Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. His song “Freedom” beat several other tough contenders in the music video category, including Rodrigo, Lil Nas X and Eilish. All awards were presented during a ceremony prior to the broadcast.
“I am so thankful for the gifts that God has given me and the ability to share them for the love of humanity,” Batiste said. “We just wanted everyone to see it. Any depression, attachment or darkness that has hung over your life will be completely removed by the love and joy of the video.”
It’s the first tie since 2019, when Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake shared Best Rap Performance with Anderson .Paak.
Batiste entered the Grammys as a lead nominee with 11 nominations. The losses kept the multi-talent from making history for most wins in a night.
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 taking to the stage to accept his trophy.
Chris Stapleton won his third Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance for You Should Maybe Leave. He extended his record for most wins.
Dressed all in black, BTS took the stage with a flirtatious moment between V and Rodrigo before the group performed their hit single “Butter.” They performed after one of the members tested positive for COVID-19. All seven members – Jin, Jimin, V, RM, J-Hope, Suga and Jungkook – pretended to be secret agents with neon blue lasers, dancing with smooth choreography before merging into a short rap section of the song.
Foo Fighters won three awards on Sunday but weren’t there to collect their trophies following the recent death of drummer Taylor Hawkins. An extended tribute to Hawkins played prior to the show’s In Memorium segment to honor deceased artists and music industry figures.
Eilish paid tribute to Hawkins during her performance by wearing a black t-shirt with his picture on it. She took to the stage with her brother Finneas in an upside down house before stepping out into the rain to perform the title track from her “Happier Than Ever”.
TJ Osborne, the came out as gay last yearHe fought back tears as he and his brother accepted a Grammy for the Brothers Osborn song “Younger Me.” He noted that the song was inspired by his coming out.
“I never thought that because of my sexuality I would be able to make music professionally. And I never thought that I would be standing here on stage and accepting a Grammy after doing something that I thought would change my life, and possibly in a very negative way,” Osborne said.
“And here I am tonight not only accepting this Grammy Award with my brother who I love so much, but I’m here with a man who I love and he loves me back. … I don’t know what I did to get so lucky.”
The ceremony was moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas due to rising COVID-19 cases and the Omicron variant in January, with organizers calling “too many risks” at the time for hosting the high-powered show.
Bennett extended his record as the most traditional pop vocal album artist with 14 wins with Love for Sale, a duet album with Lady Gaga.
AP Entertainment writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this story.
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