All The Highlights You Need To Know At The 2019 Grammy Awards
If the phrase "music to our ears" were to find visual representation, the annually televised recording industry love fest," the Grammy Awards, would figure highly as being the chance for us to "view" the industry on its best behavior from the comfort of our living rooms, or streaming on our smartphones and other mobile devices. It’s the annual parade of once-in-a-lifetime collaborations, star-blessed production numbers, and exhilarating tributes to veteran performers and living legends of the industry.
And in this age of streaming services taking over from dwindling record sales, of YouTube democratizing marketing and exposure, of recording acts having to connect, to merch, to monetize the promotional investment, some may look at the Grammy Awards as a "dinosaur"—but if there’s something all musicians crave for, those are attention and exposure, and the Grammys still provide that in spades.
Without a doubt, given the longer than long list of niche musical genres that are represented and feted during the Grammys, the real media attention is thrust upon the Big Four awards: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. All the other awards provide mileage and can give you a leg up in your own music genre, but these are the four that can translate to giving you a real turn in the spotlight; and have all those music fans sitting on the fence scrambling to know your music and look hip.
So who were the big winners this year? First off, it was women! Just look at the Best New Artist category. Of the eight nominees, six were female acts, and recent Manila visitor, Dua Lipa, took home the coveted prize. And without a doubt, the most stirring production numbers of the night were (1) the Dolly Parton country music tribute, which had Dolly leading the number and sharing one stage with Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Maren Morris, Little Big Town, and Kacey Musgraves; (2) the Diana Ross number, and (3) the Aretha Franklin tribute which featured Yolanda Adams, Fantasia, and Andra Day. Incidentally, Musgraves is herself a big winner of the night for taking home the Album of the Year (and Best Country Album) for her Golden Hour.
And don’t forget the opening number when host Alicia Keys was joined by Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jennifer Lopez, and former First Lady Michelle Obama. In a year when a lot of pre-publicity was making a big deal about who weren’t showing up—Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar; the strength and diversity of the industry more than made up for these no-shows, and this roster of guests during the opening number highlighted just how deep the industry is.
For me, a big part of friendship is showing up for your girls—whether that’s for a birthday, a quick catch-up after work, or a major milestone. So I was thrilled to be there for the one and only @aliciakeys at the #GRAMMYs. She is one of the most genuine, caring, and thoughtful people I know—there’s no one better to help us all celebrate the unifying power of music!
Record and Song of the Year is Donald Glover’s alter ego Childish Gambino’s "This Is America;" and for taking home two of the biggies, he would be another big winner of the night. That this actor, comedian, writer, producer, director, DJ, can now add Grammy-winning singer and songwriter is certainly something he can be proud about.
And just as there are winners, there were also numbers that just didn’t ignite. Post Malone with the Red Hot Chili Peppers may have looked great on paper, but somehow didn’t translate to a compelling collaboration. Dua Lipa and St. Vincent fared better; but I still look back to years ago when then newcomer Ed Sheeran performed his "A-Team" with Elton John as one of those moments when these collabs produce magic.
I loved the Alicia Keys medley of songs she wishes she had written, and that she performed them on two pianos. And it was great to have Janelle Monae and Cardi B performing—they certainly deserve the exposure and attention.
So there still was much to enjoy at this year’s Grammys, and if there is one lasting impression, it would be about how the women and diversity ruled on this one night.
Photos from @recordingacademy