Bruno Mars Owning The 2018 Grammys Was Awesome—Or Was It?
The Puerto Rican-Filipino singer bagged all six of the awards he was nominated for at the 2018 Grammys, much to the delight of his loyal fans—and, surprisingly, to the disdain of fellow artists and members of the music industry.
At 32, Bruno Mars is being touted as one of the most successful solo pop and R&B artists in the industry. His signature sound of reinventing rhythms reminiscent of 80s funk and 90s pop and R&B have resonated with listeners all over the world from all generations. And at the 2018 Grammy Awards, his unique approach to music won him six of the night's most coveted awards:
- Album of the Year
- Song of the Year
- Record of the Year
- Best R&B Song
- Best R&B Album
- Best R&B Performance
On the surface, the wins seem well-deserved. The Hawaiian-born talent, who entered the industry as a broke no-name songwriter who moved to Los Angeles, is known to spend month after month in the studio writing and experimenting with new techniques, while thoroughly researching past music trends to incorporate in his own work. He also writes many of his songs, plays multiple instruments and, boy, can he dance and work a crowd! The fact that he's a person of color thriving in the American music scene is also noteworthy.
Except, the 2018 Grammys came at a time when the entertainment industry is going through a major paradigm shift. Award-winning materials—be it films, shows, performances, songs, or records—are expected to reflect that. Bruno's chart-topping hits, as catchy as they are, were criticized for being safe and predictable choices that ultimately robbed the other artists, whose bodies of work were a testament to prevailing social and cultural issues, of their chance to win.
One of the biggest upsets of the night was Bruno's win over Kendrick Lamar's Damn for Album of the Year. Most critics thought the album would be an undisputed force. Not only was Kendrick's album a powerful force that speaks about issues plaguing American society and the world at large, but it was also hip hop's golden ticket to ending its 14-year drought of major award wins.
It didn't help that Bruno's acceptance speech(es) was (were), more often than not, about him and only him. For many of the year's award shows, beginning with the Golden Globes up to the SAG Awards, winners used their time at the podium to speak about the controversies that have brought the entertainment to its knees—and how they can contribute to change it for the better. Bruno, on the other hand, failed to acknowledge these issues but took the time to acknowledge his fellow nominees and thank the people who helped make 2017 a huge success for him.
Some critics predict that his wins, for the reasons mentioned above, may actually be detrimental to his career. Bruno's career peaked at a time when the world began to expect more from its artists, with "more" being defined as more reflective of social change, more inclusive of minority groups, and more progressive. They seem to wonder, although he may be the king of the music scene today, will he still be as relevant in the months and years to come?
The other side of the coin points out that Bruno was simply a nominee who won; perhaps the criticism should be redirected to the Grammy Awards' voting body (which has been slammed for other choices aside from the Bruno phenomenon that evening).
They're the songs everyone knows and loves ???? From the impactful #lyrics to the unshakeable beat, nominees @brunomars, @kendricklamar, @daddyyankee, @justinbieber, @luisfonsi, #JayZ, and @childishgambino created #records that define our #culture. Which nominee is your pick to take home GRAMMY gold for Record Of The Year at the 60th #GRAMMYs?
Bruno is a huge star; so big, that you can safely add the rest of the solar system's planets to his name, thanks to his all-encompassing popularity. Will someone of his status be easily affected by this? Will the events at one awards show be enough to change the course of his career, or will his unrivaled musical genius stand the test of time and continue to dominate the airwaves?
In this case, we'll simply have to sit and wait and hope that the "24K Magic" singer has enough magic up his sleeve to see this through.
Bruno Mars will be performing in Manila on May 3 and 4 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Originally slated to perform for only one night, the artist added a second concert date. Tickets to both dates were sold out in under two hours.