'Babel' nabs album of year kudos; Fun lands new artist, song kudos
It was a share-the-wealth evening at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, as a host of developing acts took home their share of trophies during the Staples Center ceremonies.
Mumford & Sons, nominated for six awards, collected album of the year for “Babel,” their sophomore release, which has sold 1.68 million copies to date.
The New York act Fun, in business for more than a decade, prevailed amid a stiff field to be crowned best new artist. “We Are Young,” the band’s omnipresent breakthrough collaboration with Janelle Monae, took best song for writers Nate Ruess, Jack Antonoff, Andrew Dost and Jeff Bhasker.
Vocalist Ruess, who has led the band for 12 years, quipped on stage, “This (broadcast) is in HD, you can see our faces, and we are not young.”
Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” won record of the year for the singer, his vocal collaborator Kimbra, producer-engineer Wally De Backer and engineers Francois Tetaz and William Bowden. The song – last year’s bestselling digital track with 6.8 million units shifted — was also tabbed as best pop duo/group recording.
Unlike the 2012 ceremony, at which pre-show favorite Adele walked away with six Grammys amid a triumph for her second album “21,” there was no clear favorite at this year’s show. (Adele’s roll continued this year with an award for best pop solo performance, for a live version of “Set Fire to the Rain.”) Nominations were dominated by acts so new that many had never received a nomination before this year.
All told, garage rockers the Black Keys took home three trophies, as did Gotye, the duo of Jay-Z and Kanye West and EDM star Skrillex. Fun, Mumford and Sons and R&B star Frank Ocean were among a handful of artists that scored double wins.
Fun’s “Some Nights” was pushed aside in the best pop vocal album category by Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger.” The effusive singer said on stage, “Fun, I’ve been covering you all summer. I love that song.”
Discussing his haul backstage, Gotye admitted: “I didn’t expect to win in any of the categories we were nominated in. I think I have written many better songs.” Kimbra added that record of the year “seems like the weightiest of all the awards, next to album of the year.”
The Belgian-born, Australia-based Gotye’s “Making Mirrors” was also selected as best alternative music album.
After multiple wins by Fun and the Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, which had six noms, pulled it out in the end with the top album prize.
Marcus Mumford admitted that as the show drew to a close, band members had “resigned ourselves” going home empty-handed.
“Last year was Adele’s year, and this year it seemed like the Black Keys’ year,” he said backstage. “But I’m not bullshitting, it was an honor just to nominated.”
In the pre-show awards handed out Sunday afternoon, the U.K. folk-rock act received the first Grammy of their career for “Big Easy Express,” a long-form video about the U.K. band’s American train tour with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show.
The act broke out with their 2010 Glassnote release “Sigh No More,” which has rolled slowly to sales totaling 2.75 million.
The Black Keys took home prizes for best rock performance and best rock song field with their neo-soulful “Lonely Boy,” written by singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach, drummer Patrick Carney and producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton).
The Akron, Ohio, duo — who played their winning number at the evening ceremony with Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band — also pulled down best rock album for their Nonesuch release “El Camino,” which has sold 1.13 million to date.
Auerbach was also named non-classical producer of the year for his work on “El Camino,” Dr. John’s “Locked Down” (named best blues album on Sunday afternoon) and Hacienda’s “Savage” and “Shakedown.”
Ocean, who scored six nods this year, took home the first-ever best urban contemporary album award for “Channel Orange.” Ocean also took a piece of the best rap/sung collaboration award, for “No Church in the Wild,” cut with Jay-Z, Kanye West and The-Dream.
Jay-Z and West’s “N****s in Paris,” also from their album “Watch the Throne,” was selected as best rap performance and best rap song (shared with Mike Dean and Chauncey Hollis). Drake’s top-selling “Take Care” garnered best rap album.
Kelly Clarkson, a winner for pop vocal album for “Stronger,” noted the freshness of this year’s Grammy contingent when she gushed while accepting her trophy about singer Miguel, who had just wrapped a perf with rapper Wiz Khalifa, “I don’t know who the hell you are but we need to sing together.”
The element of high drama was also absent at this year’s fete. Last year, vocalist Whitney Houston died on the eve of the Grammys, leading to a highly charged telecast. The combination of the Adele landslide and curiosity about how the Recording Academy would salute Houston translated into a TV audience of 39.9 million, the second-largest in Grammys history.
Still, several familiar faces took the stage this year to collect more hardware.
Esperanza Spalding, who came out of nowhere to take best new artist two years ago (beating out Mumford), captured two Grammys, for best jazz vocal album (“Radio Music Society”) and best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalists (for “City of Roses,” an award she shared with her teacher Thara Memory).
Jay-Z’s spouse Beyonce added to her Grammy total (16 before Sunday) when “Love On Top” scored best traditional R&B performance.” R&B breakthrough artist Miguel reaped best R&B song for “Adorn,” while Robert Glasper’s Experiment took best R&B album for “Black Radio.”
Diminutive, angularly coiffed EDM artist Skrillex, who captured three Grammys last year, doubled his tally with a trio of afternoon wins. “Bangarang” won as best dance/electronica album, while its title track, cut with Sirah, was named best dance recording. His board work on Nero’s “Promises” grabbed best non-classical remixed recording.
Jazz keyboardist-composer Chick Corea, with 18 previous Grammys to his credit coming into Sunday’s ceremony, added to his Grammy total, winning for best instrumental composition (“Mozart Goes Dancing”) and best improvised jazz solo (“Hot House,” with vibraphonist Gary Burton). Guitarist Pat Metheny captured his 20th award for “Unity Band,” named best jazz instrumental album.
Nine-time winner Bonnie Raitt, who scored a memorable four-trophy win with “Nick of Time” in 1990, upset Mumford in the best Americana album slot, taking a 10th trophy for her self-released album “Slipstream.” She commented, “My God, I had no idea this was possible again.”
Other popular vets did not go home empty-handed. Paul McCartney won his 16th Grammy for an unusual project: “Kisses On the Bottom,” his recital of standards, which was named best traditional pop vocal album.
Though hobbled from recent back surgery, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson appeared to accept the best historical album award for Capitol’s massive “The Smile Sessions,” comprising 1966-67 studio work for the ultimately unreleased album “Smile.”
Asked if a sequel to the 2012 reunion of the oft-contentious group was in the works, Wilson replied, “I doubt it.”
The industry continued to honor its late lions. Just two months after his death at 92, sitar master Ravi Shankar — already acknowledged this year with a lifetime achievement award by the Recording Acad — won for best world music album with “The Living Room Sessions Part 1”; his daughter Anoushka, who was competing against her father in the category, accepted his award.
Arranger Gil Evans, who died in 1988, received the best instrumental arrangement award for “How About You,” a 1947 chart first heard on last year’s album “Centennial.” The big band led by veteran leader-arranger Clare Fischer, who died last year, received the best Latin jazz album award for “Ritmo!”
In the visual media categories, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” took best score soundtrack, topping Ludovic Bourse’s Oscar-winning work for “The Artist.” Seven-time winner Taylor Swift (who put in an afternoon appearance at the Nokia Theatre pre-telecast awards and opened the nighttime show with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”), the Civil Wars and T Bone Burnett carried home best song for “Safe and Sound,” from “The Hunger Games.” The best compilation score trophy went to Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” “Once” took best musical theater album.
The nighttime show included multi-hyphenate Justin Timberlake’s splashy return to the musical stage fronting a huge band in tandem with Jay-Z. As Kelly Rowland of the recently reunited Destiny’s Child noted backstage, “The boy’s got too much soul.”
Complete list of winners:
Record of the Year
Somebody That I Used to Know — Gotye Featuring Kimbra
Album of the Year
Babel — Mumford & Sons
Song of the Year
We Are Young — Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun. feat. Janelle Monae)
Best New Artist
Pop Solo Performance
Set Fire to the Rain [live] — Adele
Pop Duo/Group Performance
Somebody That I Used To Know — Gotye featuring Kimbra
Pop Instrumental Album
Impressions — Chris Botti
Pop Vocal Album
Stronger — Kelly Clarkson
Bangarang — Skrillex Featuring Sirah
Best Dance/Electronica Album
Bangarang — Skrillex
Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Kisses On The Bottom — Paul McCartney
Lonely Boy — The Black Keys
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance
Love Bites (So Do I) — Halestorm
Lonely Boy — Dan Auerbach, Brian Burton & Patrick Carney, songwriters (The Black Keys)
El Camino — The Black Keys
Alternative Music Album
Making Mirrors — Gotye
Climax — Usher
Traditional R&B Performance
Love On Top — Beyonce
Adorn — Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
Urban Contemporary Album
Channel Orange — Frank Ocean
Black Radio — Robert Glasper Experiment
… In Paris — Jay-Z & Kanye West
No Church In The Wild — Jay-z & Kanye West featuring Frank Ocean & The-dream
… In Paris — Shawn Carter, Mike Dean, Chauncey Hollis & Kanye West, Songwriters (W.A. Donaldson, songwriter) (Jay-Z & Kanye West)
Take Care — Drake
Country Solo Performance
Blown Away — Carrie Underwood
Country Duo/Group Performance
Pontoon — Little Big Town
Blown Away — Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins, songwriters (Carrie Underwood)
Uncaged — Zac Brown Band
New Age Album
Echoes Of Love — Omar Akram
Improvised Jazz Solo
Hot House — Gary Burton & Chick Corea, soloists
Jazz Vocal Album
Radio Music Society — Esperanza Spalding
Jazz Instrumental Album
Unity Band — Pat Metheny Unity Band
Large Jazz Ensemble Album
Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You) — Arturo Sandoval
Latin Jazz Album
Ritmo — The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band
Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance
10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord) — Matt Redman
Go Get It — Erica Campbell, Tina Campbell & Warryn Campbell, Songwriters (Mary Mary)
Contemporary Christian Music Song
10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord) — Jonas Myrin & Matt Redman, songwriters (Matt Redman)
Your Presence Is Heaven — Israel Houghton & Micah Massey, songwriters (Israel & New Breed)
Gravity — Lecrae
Contemporary Christian Music Album
Eye On It — Tobymac
Latin Pop Album
MTV Unplugged Deluxe Edition — Juanes
Latin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album
Imaginaries — Quetzal
Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano)
Pecados Y Milagros — Lila Downs
Tropical Latin Album
Retro — Marlow Rosado Y La Riquena
Slipstream — Bonnie Raitt
Nobody Knows You — Steep Canyon Rangers
Locked Down — Dr. John
Best Folk Album
The Goat Rodeo Sessions — Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile
Regional Roots Music Album
The Band Courtbouillon — Wayne Toups, Steve Riley & Wilson Savoy
Rebirth — Jimmy Cliff
World Music Album
The Living Room Sessions Part 1 — Ravi Shankar
Can You Canoe? — The Okee Dokee Brothers
Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling)
Society’s Child: My Autobiography — Janis Ian
Blow Your Pants Off — Jimmy Fallon
Musical Theater Album
Once: A New Musical — Steve Kazee & Cristin Milioti, Principal Soloists; Steven Epstein & Martin Lowe, producers (Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, Composers/lyricists) (Original Broadway Cast With Steve Kazee, Cristin Milioti & Others)
Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
Midnight In Paris — (Various Artists)
Score Soundtrack For Visual Media
“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” — Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Composers
Song Written For Visual Media
Safe & Sound (from “The Hunger Games”) — T Bone Burnett, Taylor Swift, John Paul White & Joy Williams, Songwriters (Taylor Swift Featuring The Civil Wars)
Mozart Goes Dancing — Chick Corea, Composer (Chick Corea & Gary Burton)
How About You — Gil Evans, Arranger (Gil Evans Project)
Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
City Of Roses — Thara Memory & Esperanza Spalding, Arrangers (Esperanza Spalding)
Biophilia — Michael Amzalag & Mathias Augustyniak, Art Directors (Bjork)
Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package
Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection — Fritz Klaetke, Art Director (Woody Guthrie)
Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles — Billy Vera, album notes writer (Ray Charles)
The Smile Sessions (Deluxe Box Set) — Alan Boyd, Mark Linett, Brian Wilson & Dennis Wolfe, Compilation Producers; Mark Linett, Mastering Engineer (The Beach Boys)
Engineered Album, Non-classical
The Goat Rodeo Sessions — Richard King, Engineer; Richard King, Mastering Engineer (Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile)
Producer of the Year, Non-classical
Remixed Recording, Non-classical
Promises (Skrillex & Nero Remix) — Skrillex, Remixer (nero)
Surround Sound Album
Modern Cool — Jim Anderson, Surround Mix Engineer; Darcy Proper, Surround Mastering Engineer; Michael Friedman, Surround Producer (Patricia Barber)
Engineered Album, Classical
Life & Breath — Choral Works By Rene Clausen — Tom Caulfield & John Newton, Engineers; Mark Donahue, Mastering Engineer (Charles Bruffy & Kansas City Chorale)
Producer of the Year, Classical
Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride In A Fast Machine — Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor (San Francisco Symphony)
Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen — James Levine & Fabio Luisi, Conductors; Hans-Peter Konig, Jay Hunter Morris, Bryn Terfel & Deborah Voigt; Jay David Saks, Producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
Life & Breath — Choral Works By Rene Clausen — Charles Bruffy, Conductor (Matthew Gladden, Lindsey Lang, Rebecca Lloyd, Sarah Tannehill & Pamela Williamson; Kansas City Chorale)
Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
Meanwhile — Eighth Blackbird
Classical Instrumental Solo
Kurtag & Ligeti: Music For Viola — Kim Kashkashian
Classical Vocal Solo
Poemes — Renee Fleming (Alan Gilbert & Seiji Ozawa; Orchestre National De France & Orchestre Philharmonique De Radio France)
Penderecki: Fonogrammi; Horn Concerto; Partita; The Awakening Of Jacob; Anaklasis — Antoni Wit, Conductor; Aleksandra Nagorko & Andrzej Sasin, Producers
Contemporary Classical Composition
Stephen Hartke — Meanwhile Incidental Music To Imaginary Puppet Plays; Stephen Hartke, Composer (eighth blackbird)
Short Form Musicvideo
We Found Love — Rihanna Featuring Calvin Harris, Melina Matsoukas, Video Director; Juliette Larthe & Ben Sullivan, Video Producers
Long Form Musicvideo
Big Easy Express — Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros & Old Crow Medicine Show; Emmett Malloy, Video Director; Bryan Ling, Mike Luba & Tim Lynch, Video Producers