2012 was a strong year for music. Promising newcomers (Ed Sheeran, Hunter Hayes) emerged on the scene as alternative artists (fun., Gotye) and fabulous females (Rihanna, P!nk, Kelly Clarkson) ruled the airwaves. The 55th annual Grammy Awards recognized and rewarded the musicians whose albums and singles resonated with fans in an impactful way. Unlike Adele’s remarkable six trophies sweep during last year‘s ceremony, there was no clear frontrunner in terms of 2013′s award recipients. This year’s Grammys honoured artists and bands from a variety of genres, which was also evident from the line-up of the evening’s live performances.
Here are five of my favourite award recipients and/or moments from this phenomenal celebration of music:
I was especially pleased to see Kelly triumph since 2012 was filled with her best moments yet, with the success of “Stronger”, her performances at last year’s Superbowl and this year’s Presidential Inauguration, the release of her Greatest Hits album, the news of her engagement, just to name a few. Now, she makes history as the first artist to win Best Pop Vocal Album twice! In her flustered state of surprise and excitement, Kelly gave one heck of an acceptance speech, and her shoutout to Miguel (winner of Best R&B Song for “Adorn”) was the funniest quote of the night: “I don’t know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together, ’cause that was the sexiest damn thing I’ve ever seen!” Kelly’s incredible tribute to this year’s Lifetime Achievement recipients, Patti Page (“Tennessee Waltz”) and Carole King [“(You Make Feel Like) A Natural Woman”] gave the original American Idol the opportunity to showcase the powerhouse vocals that started her big break ten years ago!
Once again, Idol reigns supreme in the form of Carrie Underwood. The country superstar was a winner both in fashion on the red carpet (with a glamourous embroidered and laced black mermaid gown by Roberto Cavalli) and in music at the award ceremony (winning Best Country Solo Performance for “Blown Away”). Her live performance of her two hit singles, “Blown Away” and “Two Black Cadillacs”, received glowing reviews, not only for her ability to belt out big notes with her booming, beautiful voice, but for the visual spectacle of her LED illuminated dress, which projected colourful images as she sang. Carrie returns to life on the road for the second run of her Blown Away Tour this month.
After a lengthy hiatus from pop music, Justin Timberlake is back for his long-awaited comeback! The man of the hour took to the stage to introduce two of his new songs: the current single, “Suit & Tie”, a collaboration with Jay-Z, and “Pusher Love Girl”. Justin’s smooth vocals and groovy moves were on full display during his performance; his set showcased a slick new sound which was equal parts modern hip and retro throwback, which was further emphasized with the presence of the big band and sepia-toned telecast. His highly-buzzed about return was worth the hype. Judging from this preview, it looks like the 20/20 Experience (out on March 15th) will be one-to-watch! Welcome back, Mr. JT! Please don’t ever leave us again.
Ed Sheeran & Elton John
The 21-year old singer/songwriter from the UK saw his stock rise with his performances at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert and the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremonies. He skyrocketed to success in North America through the release of his album, “+“, several sold out solo tour dates, and his ties to two of America’s most popular acts, One Direction and Taylor Swift. Now, to add to his growing list of accomplishments, Ed can say that he has sung with the Rocket Man himself, Sir Elton John! Proposed by Elton himself, their moving duet of Ed’s hit single, “The A-Team” (nominated for Song of the Year) was a truly special Grammy moment.
Song of the Year / Record of the Year / Album of the Year, etc.
Along with recognizing your favourite musicians, the Grammys also provides music lovers with a grand opportunity to discover new artists and to listen to some of the best albums/songs from the past year. Bands like fun. (Best New Artist and Song of the Year for “We Are Young”), Mumford & Sons (Album of the Year for “Babel”), and The Black Keys (winners of multiple awards in the Rock category) have been on my list for musicians to check out for quite a while now. Newer artists such as Gotye (Record of the Year for “Somebody That I Used to Know”), Frank Ocean, Miguel, and Hunter Hayes will also get a boost from their exposure at the award ceremony. As they say, if you make it to the Grammys, you’ve made it in the world of music!
For the full list of Grammy winners and nominees, go to grammy.com/nominees.
All photos courtesy of grammy.com/photos.