At the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Olivia Rodrigo, Silk Sonic and Jon Batiste took home some of the top prizes during what New York Times critic Jon Caramanica called “an utterly inconsistent night.”
If you were the one who got to hand out Grammys, who would you give them to, and what qualities would you seek to recognize? Musicianship? Lyricism? Popularity?
The 64th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night featured major wins by Silk Sonic, Jon Batiste and Olivia Rodrigo, elaborate performances from a music industry struggling to emerge from the pandemic and an impassioned plea for help from President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
The show, broadcast from Las Vegas, opened with Silk Sonic, the retro soul-funk project of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, playing “777,” about the high-rolling, Sin City side of Las Vegas. Moments later, the group won song of the year for “Leave the Door Open,” a throwback to smooth early ’70s soul.
“Leave the Door Open” also won record of the year, which recognizes a single recording, as well as best R&B song, and Silk Sonic shared best R&B performance on that track with Jazmine Sullivan.
“We are really trying to remain humble at this point,” said Anderson .Paak, born Brandon Paak Anderson, while accepting record of the year. “But in the industry we call that a clean sweep.” (The record of the year prize is for a single recording, while song of the year recognizes songwriters.)
Silk Sonic and Batiste’s wins kept Rodrigo — a 19-year-old Disney television star who burst on the music scene with smashing success and critical respect — from making her own sweep of the four top categories. But she did take best new artist.
“This is my biggest dream come true,” Rodrigo said as she accepted that prize. She also took home best pop vocal album for “Sour” and pop solo performance for “Drivers License,” which she performed on a set like a suburban street, her voice swelling to emotional peaks and then breaking as it fell.