The Grammys: Music’s Biggest Night
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The Grammys: Music’s Biggest Night

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Andrea Cantu, Staff Writer

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The Grammys took place on February 10th, 2019 in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Women took the stage at the 61st annual Grammy Awards, with bold performances and wins in many top categories, a year after the awards came under harsh criticism for its track record in gender representation. The controversies of last year, when just one woman won a solo award during the telecast — and the outgoing head of the Recording Academy remarked that women in music should “step up” to advance their careers — were never far from the surface of the show.

Dua Lipa, a 23-year-old British singer who has established herself as a hitmaker, alluded to that when accepting the award for best new artist, saying she was honored to be recognized among so many other female artists. “I guess this year we really stepped up,” Dua Lipa said. Backstage, she told reporters that the message of greater gender equity was immediately clear to her when the nominations were announced in December.

The award for album of the year went to Kacey Musgraves for “Golden Hour,” a collection that stretched the boundaries of country and drew deep respect from critics and she also took home three other prizes. “Women have a really necessary perspective — to life, to music,” Musgraves told reporters backstage. “It’s really nice to see that getting a chance to be included.”

Many of the awards won by men highlighted the Grammys’ fraught history with hip-hop. Both the record and song of the year prizes were won by Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” a thumping, confrontational song about racial injustice.

It was the first hip-hop song to win either award. Childish Gambino, along with Kendrick Lamar and Drake, two of the most powerful and influential young rappers in music, were offered performance spots on the show but turned them down, reflecting the alienation from the Grammys that has taken hold among much of the upper ranks of hip-hop.

Cardi B won the first Grammy of her career, best rap album for “Invasion of Privacy.” Holding the hand of her husband, the rapper Offset, she joked about struggling for composure, before talking about the long nights she worked to finish her album and shoot videos while pregnant. She is the first female solo artist to win in the category.

Courtesy of the New York Times

Diana Ross celebrated her 75th birthday with two hits from her solo career, “The Best Years of My Life” and “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand).” Winding up her performance, she ordered those in the crowd to wave their hands, saying: “Together we have no limits. You can learn, dream, unlock new doors. All is possible.” She ended with, “Happy birthday to me!”

Courtesy of the New York Times

Dolly Parton had the most cross-generational appeal, singing a five-song medley with Katy Perry, Kacey Musgraves, Miley Cyrus and Maren Morris that had Smokey Robinson and the K-pop group BTS all dancing and singing along in the crowd. It ended with a nostalgic singalong on “9 to 5” that seemed to pull in the whole arena.

Courtesy of the New York Times

Record of the Year

“This is America” – Childish Gambino

Album of the Year

“Golden Hour” – Kacey Musgraves

Song of the Year

“This is America” – Donald Glover and Ludwig Goransson, songwriters, (Childish Gambino)

Best New Artist

Dua Lipa

Best Pop Solo Performance

“Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?)” – Lady Gaga

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Shallow” – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

Best Pop Vocal Album

“Sweetener” –Ariana Grande

Best Rock Performance

“When Bad Does Good” – Chris Cornell

Best Rock Song

“Masseduction” –Jack Antonoff and Annie Clark, songwriters (St. Vincent)

Best Rock Album

“From The Fires” – Greta Van Fleet

Best Alternative Music Album

“Colors” – Beck

Best R&B Performance

“Best Part” – H.E.R. feat. Daniel Caesar

Best Urban Contemporary Album

“Everything is Love” – The Carters

Best R&B Album

“H.E.R.” – H.E.R.

Best Rap Performance

“King’s Dead” – Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future, James Blake

“Bubblin” – Anderson .Paak

Best Rap Song

“God’s Plan” – Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels, and Noah Shebib, songwriters (Drake)

Best Rap Album

“Invasion of Privacy” – Cardi B

Best Country Solo Performance

“Butterflies” – Kacey Musgraves

Best Country Album

“Golden Hour” – Kacey Musgraves

Best Jazz Instrumental Album

“Emanon” – The Wayne Shorter Quartet

Best Latin Pop Album

“Sincera” – Claudia Brant

Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album

“Aztlán” — Zoé

Best Americana Album

“By The Way, I Forgive You” – Brandi Carlile

Best Song Written for Visual Media

“Shallow” – Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper)

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical

Pharrell Williams

Best Music Video

“This is America” – Childish Gambino

Best Comedy Album

“Equanimity & the Bird Revelation” – Dave Chappelle

Best Musical Theater Album

“The Band’s Visit” — Etai Benson, Adam Kantor, Katrina Lenk and Ari’el Stachel, principal soloists; Dean Sharenow and David Yazbek, producers; David Yazbek, composer and lyricist

Best Instrumental Composition

“Blut Und Boden (Blood and Soil)” — Terence Blanchard

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella

“Stars and Stripes Forever” – John Daversa

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals

“Spiderman Theme” — Mark Kibble, Randy Waldman and Justin Wilson, arrangers

Best Recording Package

“Masseduction” – Willo Perron, art director

Best Boxed or Limited Edition Package

“Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic” – Meghan Foley, Annie Stoll and Al Yankovic, art directors

Best Album Notes

“Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris” — David Evans, album notes writer

Best Historical Album

“Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris” — William Ferris, April Ledbetter and Steven Lance Ledbetter, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical

“Colors” — Julian Burg, Serban Ghenea, David “Elevator” Greenbaum, John Hanes, Beck Hansen, Greg Kurstin, Florian Lagatta, Cole M.G.N., Alex Pasco, Jesse Shatkin, Darrell Thorp and Cassidy Turbin, engineers; Chris Bellman, Tom Coyne, Emily Lazar and Randy Merrill, mastering engineers

Best Remixed Recording

“Walking Away (Mura Masa remix)” — Alex Crossan, remixer

Best Immersive Audio Album

“Eye in the Sky – 35th Anniversary Edition” — Alan Parsons, surround mix engineer; Dave Donnelly, P.J. Olsson and Alan Parsons, surround mastering engineers; Alan Parsons, surround producer

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

“Steve Gadd Band” – Steve Gadd

Band Best Gospel Performance/Song

“Never Alone” — Tori Kelly featuring Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin and Victoria Kelly, songwriters

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song

“You Say” — Lauren Daigle; Lauren Daigle, Jason Ingram and Paul Mabury, songwriters

Best Gospel Album

“Hiding Place” – Tori Kelly

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

“Look Up Child” – Lauren Daigle

Best Roots Gospel Album

“Unexpected” – Jason Crabb

Best World Music Album

“Freedom” – Soweto Gospel Choir

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media

“The Greatest Showman” — Hugh Jackman (and Various Artists); Alex Lacamoire, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Greg Wells, compilation producers

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media

“Black Panther” – Ludwig Göransson, composer

Best New Age Album

“Opium Moon” — Opium Moon

Best American Roots Performance

“The Joke” – Brandi Carlile

Best American Roots Song

“The Joke” – Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth, songwriters

Best Bluegrass Album

“The Travelin’ Mccourys” – The Travelin’ Mccourys

Best Traditional Blues Album

“The Blues Is Alive and Well” – Buddy Guy

Best Contemporary Blues Album

“Please Don’t Be Dead” – Fantastic Negrito

Best Folk Album

“All Ashore” – Punch Brothers

Best Children’s Album

“All the Sounds” — Lucy Kalantari & the Jazz Cats

Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books and Storytelling)

“Faith – A Journey for All” — Jimmy Carter

Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano)

“¡México Por Siempre!” — Luis Miguel

Best Tropical Latin Album

“Anniversary” — Spanish Harlem Orchestra

Best Regional Roots Music Album

“No ‘Ane’i” — Kalani Pe’a

Best Music Film

“Quincy” — Quincy Jones; Alan Hicks and Rashida Jones, video directors; Paula Dupré Pesmen, video producer

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

“Tequila” — Dan + Shay

Best Country Song

“Space Cowboy” — Luke Laird, Shane Mcanally and Kacey Musgraves, songwriters

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

“My Way” — Willie Nelson

Best Engineered Album, Classical

“Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11” — Shawn Murphy and Nick Squire, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer

Producer of the Year, Classical

Blanton Alspaugh

Best Orchestral Performance

“Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11” — Andris Nelsons, conductor

Best Opera Recording

“Bates: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” — Michael Christie, conductor; Sasha Cooke, Jessica E. Jones, Edward Parks, Garrett Sorenson and Wei Wu; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer

Best Choral Performance

“Mcloskey: Zealot Canticles” — Donald Nally, conductor

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

“Anderson, Laurie: Landfall” — Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet

Best Classical Instrumental Solo

“Kernis: Violin Concerto” — James Ehnes; Ludovic Morlot, conductor

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

“Songs of Orpheus – Monteverdi, Caccini, D’india & Landi” — Karim Sulayman; Jeannette Sorrell, conductor; Apollo’s Fire, ensembles

Best Classical Compendium

“Fuchs: Piano Concerto ‘spiritualist’; Poems of Life; Glacier; Rush” — Joann Falletta, conductor; Tim Handley, producer

Best Contemporary Classical Composition

“Kernis: Violin Concerto” — Aaron Jay Kernis, composer

Best Dance Recording

“Electricity” — Silk City and Dua Lipa featuring Diplo and Mark Ronson

Best Dance/Electronic Album

“Woman Worldwide” — Justice

Best Reggae Album

“44/876” — Sting and Shaggy

Best Improvised Jazz Solo

“Don’t Fence Me In” — John Daversa, soloist. Track from: “American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom”

Best Jazz Vocal Album

“The Window” — Cécile Mclorin Salvant

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

“American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom” — John Daversa Big Band featuring DACA Artists

Best Latin Jazz Album

“Back to the Sunset” — Dafnis Prieto Big Band

Best Traditional R&B Performance

“Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand” — Leon Bridges and

“How Deep Is Your Love” — PJ Morton featuring Yebba

Best R&B Song

“Boo’d Up” — Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai and Dijon Mcfarlane, songwriters

Best Metal Performance

“Electric Messiah” — High on Fire

Best Rap/Sung Performance

“This Is America” — Childish Gambino