Grammys 2015 updates: It's Sam Smith's night, but the show saves best for last
Feb 08, 2015 | 8:50 PM
At the 57th Grammy Awards, Sam Smith nabbed prizes in three top categories: record, song and new artist. Beck scored an upset: His "Morning Phase" was crowned album of the year. And the telecast ended strong, with Beyonce and John Legend and Common delivering soulful versions of "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" and "Glory." Earlier, Beyonce won three awards, Miranda Lambert got bleeped, Kanye West pretended to interrupt Beck, and much more. Read all about the highlights and lowlights.
Sam Smith's “Stay With Me,” the breakthrough hit for the young British singer and songwriter, was recognized as song of the year Sunday at the 57th Grammy Awards, making it a huge night for the 22-year-old artist who released his debut album, “In the Lonely Hour,” barely eight months ago.
Less than a year ago, Smith as virtually unknown outside his native England, but thanks to the near instant speed of word of mouth through the blogosphere, Smith has sold nearly 2 million albums in the U.S. and more than 5 million worldwide.
Still, Smith missed out on a full sweep of the four top Grammy categories in which he was nominated -- record, album, song and new artist -- when Los Angeles maverick rock singer-songwriter-producer Beck scored an upset win his widely lauded “Morning Phase” album.
“Albums -- remember those?” awards presenter Prince said before revealing Beck's name as the winner, then injected a pithy bit of social commentary that had been repeated in various ways throughout the night when he added, “Like books, and black lives, albums still matter.”
The star brought a rather tepid Grammy telecast to a close, one where Pharrell Williams and Sia were among the few artists willing to take risks on the broadcast. Beyoncé's grand finale was a solemn yet compelling one, as she sang Thomas A. Dorsey's “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.”
It was music as a healing force -- her voice hitting controlled heights as she led into John Legend and Common singing "Glory," the Oscar-nominated song from "Selma" that connects our country's racist past and present.
The Grammys could have used more of this, as our past year has been a troubling one, culturally, and music is our popular art form that most instantly reflects what's happening on the streets.
Instead, producers largely went for nostalgia, tapping AC/DC to open the show and bringing out a reunited ELO. While the best performance was saved for last -- as Common referenced the protests in Ferguson, Mo., the Grammys suddenly felt rather relevant -- "Glory" would have been better served as a show opener, the table setter for what was a rather quiet Grammy show.
Awards wise, there was one major upset -- Beck winning album of the year for his "Morning Phase" -- and the night largely belonged to up-and-comer Sam Smith, who won best new artist as well as record and song of the year for his "Stay With Me."
Stay tuned to The Times for full post-Grammy coverage.
Juanes on performing in Spanish
Getty Images for NARAS
Latin pop album nominee Juanes, who performed the Spanish-language song "Juntos" from Disney's upcoming film "McFarland, USA," said backstage that he was “very happy” to have sung in his native language.
"For me it was such a big honor to be performing tonight in Spanish in the Grammys,” he said. “It proves that the academy gives a little respect for our culture and we are very happy with that.”
There are ways to improve Beck songs, not that "Heart Is a Drum" needs much embellishment. Cats are always good. Lasers never ruined anything. Unicorns and rainbows are lovely. Dragons? Yes. Yet Coldplay's Chris Martin is just an unnecessary accouterment.
Meanwhile, record of the year went to Sam Smith's "Stay With Me," and he won extra points for his brief speech, in which he thanked the man who inspired the song.
"Thank you so much for breaking my heart because you got me four Grammys," Smith said.
Sam Smith had a breakout year in 2014, and he isn't showing signs of slowing down. The British soul upstart won the record of the year Grammy for his “Stay With Me,” besting the smash hit “Shake It Off” from Taylor Swift.
Beck is one of the great purveyors of pure love of music. Beck approaches music with respect that allows him to be self deprecating.
Sia makes it weird
Still scarred from that Imagine Dragons commercial earlier in the hour? Thankfully, Sia showed up to make things weird.
We'll skip any discussion of the introductory poem read by Shia LaBeouf ("I could squeeze you to zero"?) and focus solely on the elaborate set and performance art dance piece. Sia and band were nowhere to be seen; instead two dancers pushed and pulled around each other as if they were propelled by magnets. It's a head case of a song masquerading as a party song, and the set -- an unkempt family room -- looked more like a prison.
Oh, and song of the year went to Sam Smith's "Stay With Me."
In apparent reference to that one time Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech during the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009, West popped on stage just as Beck was accepting his award tonight. And then left almost immediately.
And the album of the year goes to Beck's "Morning Phase."
What would the Grammys be without a major upset? It was looking like Sam Smith's night, and Beyoncé was undoubtedly the favorite heading into the show, but on a rather subdued Grammy show, Recording Academy voters recognized Beck's rather subdued "Morning Phase," an album of intimate orchestrations.
The category was introduced by Prince, who dropped the night's most memorable quote.
"Like books and black lives, albums still matter," said Prince.
Not mincing words
Like books and black lives, albums still matter.
Prince, before announcing the album of the year winner
Taylor Swift, dressed like an elf queen, introduced Mary J. Blige and Sam Smith for another low-key performance, this one in full mood lighting.
Smith's "Stay With Me" backed by an orchestra is regal all right, and Blige is always effortlessly cool. Smith brought the drama, and Blige kept it low-key and conversational, recognizing how to complement her duet partner.
Fun with Photoshop
As the Grammys telecast continues, people with image editing software have decided to make their own fun.
Below, people have given Iggy Azalea's braided hairstyle an avian twist and added a Super Bowl halftime element to Katy Perry's performance.
Is this the quietest Grammys in history? Katy Perry does a ballad. Usher performs next to a harp. And this Eric Church song about missing his childhood just lovingly referenced a national pizza chain. What's next, a country song about feeling nostalgic about Circuit City? And now Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam are singing a lullaby.
But the caffeine isn't coming just yet. Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney have a dirge in "FourFiveSeconds," the world's most patient song about living recklessly. This feels less like a celebration of pop music and more like a benefit concert. Send the Recording Academy help.
We live in troubled times, but these Grammys have been devoid of protest music. Enter ..."Happy"? Credit Pharrell Williams for attempting to remake his feel-good song into something deeper. Did it work? Here's wishing Williams went further.
Parts of the song were delivered as a spoken word sermon. Others were gospel-loud. And still others were a doomy breakdown of rhythms.
Those who looked closely caught Williams' backup dancers making the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture that has become a protest chant in the wake of two recent grand jury decisions that cleared white policemen in the deaths of unarmed black men. In a show largely empty of risks, Williams became an unexpected star, taking a song that could be a throwaway goof and attempted to make it more deeply resonate.
Williams' moment came just before a Grammy PSA regarding domestic violence. It was welcome, but two years too late, as the Grammys still deserve criticism for welcoming Chris Brown back into the fold.
Aired during the awards: Obama's anti-domestic violence message
The president's statement was followed by an onstage statement by domestic abuse survivor Brooke Axtell.
“My empathy was used against me,” Axtell said, describing a past relationship. “My compassion was incomplete because it did not include me. When he threatened to kill me, I knew I had to escape.”
This 'Happy' contains multitudes
I have no idea what's going on in this Pharrell number but i like it #Grammys
Right about now the Grammys could use an animatronic lion. Or a Kitten Bowl. Or an all Robin Tunney episode of "The Mentalist." Instead, we got Hozier's overly dramatic "Take Me to Church," a bluesy, borderline metal sermon.
It was certainly a wake-up call after a rather sleepy first hour, in no small part thanks to Annie Lennox, who sang laps around him. No, she took a torch to the song and kept it simmering while singing "I Put a Spell on You," relegating Hozier to backing musician.
Sometimes it seems that Miranda Lambert, the powerful singer and songwriter from Longview, Texas, can do no wrong. In collecting her first country album Grammy Award for her fifth album, "Platinum," she took home honors to go with the 2010 award she won for female country vocal.
The best John Mayer is a relatively muted John Mayer, which is what we had for most of Ed Sheeran's performance of "Thinking Out Loud," a tepid love song about growing old together.
Herbie Hancock added a little soul, Mayer wore his Buddy Holly Halloween costume, and eyes were rolled when Sheeran made like a puppy dog and told us how his honey's soul is evergreen.
Then, in keeping with today's nostalgia festival, Jeff Lynne revived his Electric Light Orchestra for "Evil Woman" and "Mr. Blue Sky." The Grammys are limping to the 90-minute mark, as Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani sang Maroon 5's "My Heart Is Open," another song that sounds OK in the background of a dentist office but doesn't exactly make for riveting television.
It's unclear. But in many cases, the wild pairings are the brainchild of the Grammys telecast's executive producer, Ken Ehrlich, who since the 1970s has been doing his level best to make television viewers perk up and ask, "What the heck was that?"
More than two decades after “Loser,” Beck Hansen shows no sign of relenting in his quest for new vistas to explore and new thoughts on the human condition to share, all of which led voters to reward him with the rock album Grammy for “Morning Phase,” his first studio album in three years.
"Drunk In Love," by Beyoncé featuring Jay Z, wins the Grammy for R&B performance.
Madonna's 'Living for Love': Lift off?
Madonna got the crowd standing with new song "Living for Love," which boasts a final gospel moment that recalls her significantly better "Like a Prayer."
It was certainly the most colorful performance of the night thus far, with Madonna rising to the Staples Center feeling at the song's conclusion. She looked something like a matador, wrangling a gaggle of demonic Minotaur-like creatures. If only the song had something to say. After a dozen-plus times of repeating the title, I just got lost watching the Minotaur demons and began to wish I was playing D&D.
Madonna performs 'Living for Love'
That Madonna devil number seemed like it took a detour right off the highway to hell #grammys
Kanye West returned to the Grammys for the first time in six years, performing his sort-of sleepy "Only One," a song co-written with Paul McCartney. Singing with his trademark Auto-Tune and standing in a sparse stage outfitted with a single light on the floor, West looked ready to beam up. It may not have been the sort of incendiary performance West has done in the past on the Grammy stage, but Kanye has also done some of his finest work when he's at this most emotional (see "808s and Heartbreak"). "Only One" may not hit those heights, but hints there's better things to come.
Miranda Lambert gets bleeped
A few words during Miranda Lambert's performance of "Little Red Wagon" were bleeped out by censors.
During that long bleep Miranda Lambert offered her thoughts on American Sniper #Grammys
Less than 30 minutes after winning best new artist, Sam Smith's "In the Lonely Hour" took the Grammy for pop vocal album, topping efforts from Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Miley Cryus and Ariana Grande.
"Before I made this record I was doing everything to try get my music to the world," Smith said. "I tried to lose weight and was making awful music. It was only until I started to be myself that the music flowed."
Sam Smith wins best pop vocal album
"In the Lonely Hour" by Sam Smith wins the Grammy for best pop vocal album.
Weird Al says his future looks digital
Pop music comes and goes, but there will always be Weird Al Yankovic. That said, even the prince of parodies acknowledged that his tactics might have to change with the times.
Just hours after winning the Grammy for comedy album (over stand-up titans Louis C.K., Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman and Jim Gaffigan), Yankovic said, “I'm probably not going to release traditional albums anymore. Digital is the fastest way to get my ideas out.”
It's hard to imagine an artist more perfectly suited to the YouTube era, and after riffs on hits like “Happy” and “Royals,” he has proved that he's more than up to skewer contemporary trends. But even in a social media climate that rewards quick-response viral video flurries, he'd rather take his time and get his nerdy ripostes exactly right. “Ninety-nine percent of my ideas are bad,” he said.
Miranda Lambert, once country's bad girl, has now joined the ranks of country singers who have songs that could double for truck commercials. All told, this Grammy show feels very old-fashioned, as Lambert's wind-blown performance seemed to channel vintage Pat Benatar.
A win for 'Happy'
Pharrell Williams earlier upset Beyoncé in the race for urban contemporary album, and his light-stepping feel-good hit "Happy" won the Grammy for pop solo performance.
Williams looked surprised, besting the likes of Sia, Sam Smith, Taylor Swift and John Legend. But if it's Grammy drama you're looking for, the show appears to be setting up a tight album of the year race between Williams and Smith.
Ariana Grande sparkles
Ariana Grande, looking as if she were performing in Queen Elsa's castle in Arendelle, sparked like she won the "American Idol" prom. After opening with AC/DC, this one was for the kids, and indicated this year's Grammys are going to be a case of musical whiplash. Her "Just a Little Bit of Your Heart" was pretty but pretty in that way a Christmas tree is pretty -- it looked nice all lighted up but this wasn't one to make a lasting impression.
Still, it was better than the duet between Jessie J and Tom Jones, who sounded as if they were in a tug of war trying to make it through "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," a song made famous by the Righteous Brothers.
They did not love Tom Jones and Jessie J duet
This show went from the Disney Channel to the Copacabana so quickly I thought someone had changed the station #Grammys
"Happy (Live)" by Pharrell Williams wins the Grammy for best pop solo performance.
It's going to be a Sam Smith night
Early prediction: Sam Smith upsets Beyoncé for album of the year. The British soul upstart won new artist, the first big award of the night.
He's a performer tonight, and he has a winning voice -- one that often effortlessly reaches a falsetto and begs the listener closer. He also represents a new take on the sort of classic soul Grammy voters adore a Paul McCartney cameo.
Beyoncé, Sam Smith, Taylor Swift and Iggy Azalea dominated the musical conversation over the past 12 months, but if it's current you want, the Grammy Awards probably isn't the place you want to be.
This year's telecast began with a wallop of a nostalgia, with AC/DC trying to sell its new album, "Rock or Bust," before seguing into "Highway to Hell." Dave Grohl and Lady Gaga dug it, and AC/DC tried to prove you're never too old to act like a teenager. It could have been a thrilling opening about three decades ago. But today? It's a fine opening for an episode of "CSI."
Sit down and put on your devil horns
Possible AC/DC opening? Crowd was handed electronic devil horns that light up. Folks already wearing them. #Grammys
There's already a winner at the 57th Grammy Awards -- the bow tie -- which is turning up in all kinds of novel incarnations tonight.
Nominee Sam Smith, above, paired a white one with a white tuxedo shirt and dark jacket.
Hip hop artist Hit-Boy went with a white jacket and shirt -- but with a print bow tie and pocket square combination -- and the Martins' Jonathan Martin hit the red carpet in a natty-looking number that appeared to be polka-dotted but, in reality, was handmade out of pheasant feathers.
Blue is a men's trend-in-the-making at the Grammys, as it has been elsewhere on the red carpet this awards season.
Rapper and singer-songwriter Verse Simmonds, left, is wearing an electric blue Versace suit that could light up a room. Singer Aloe Blacc, right, called out Soren Sand and the Copenhagen-based fashion collection Sand for his sharp blue suit.
British crooner Sam Smith, who's nominated in six categories, including all the biggies, was relaxed Sunday after a surreal moment earlier in the day.
"Today I was in my changing room and Stevie Wonder is next to me in his changing room and asked me to come into his room and I walked in and he started playing my song to me, 'I'm Not the Only One,'" the 22-year-old said. "He started singing it to me. I just freaked out. I got on my phone and filmed a little bit. What do you do, it's just incredible. "
Smith, who sounds unlike anyone currently on Top 40 radio, said he's "not ashamed" of making sad music. "To me it's not sad; to me it's empowering. I make these records so that I don't have to think about it, so I can be happy and enjoy nights like this."
St. Vincent has won the 2015 Grammy for alternative music album.
It's the first Grammy win for the project, an alias of the Texas-born singer-songwriter Annie Clark. She first came to prominence in the mid-2000s as a member of the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' band before starting a solo career on the strength of her off-kilter, witty songwriting and considerable instrumental skills on electric guitar.
The American pop-rock duo A Great Big World has won the Grammy for pop duo and group performance for its single “Say Something.”
The single, released as a duet with the R&B stalwart Christina Aguilera, brought the duo of Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino to pop stardom. It first gained traction on several reality television shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “The Voice,” then vaulted to pop success.
Tonight,” Clive Davis promised, “is going to be off the hook.”
That's how the 82-year-old record executive welcomed celebrities and power players to his annual pre-Grammy gala Saturday at the Beverly Hilton.
And though Davis is no stranger to hyperbole, there was something especially wacky about this year's edition of the all-star bash, which on more than one occasion found various A-list superstars grabbing for the microphone like somebody's drunk uncle at a wedding.
"The last time I won a Grammy Reagan was president," said Cash after accepting the award for "A Feather's Not a Bird," which won for American roots performance.
Seconds later Cash won the Grammy for American roots song and then the Grammy for Americana album for her "The River & the Thread." A tearful Cash brought up her son Jake and thanked "everyone who bought this record and didn't steal it. Thank you so much."
Cash's last win was female country vocal performance, for "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me" 20 years ago.
Beyoncé versus Pharrell
Seconds after "Drunk in Love" won the Grammy for R&B song, Beyoncé was upset in the urban contemporary album field. Her "Beyoncé" lost to Pharrell Williams' sly-stepping "Girl."
Fine records both, although Williams' work may be a little on slighter side, but this sets up a potential surprise album of the year win, where both Williams and Beyoncé are nominated. If Williams and Beyoncé split the vote, this is now looking like it could be Sam Smith's night.
A missed opportunity in rap album
Heading into the Grammys, many were wondering if the rap album field was Iggy Azalea's to lose.
The hyper-energetic newcomer, however, proved no match for Grammy favorite Eminem, who won rap album for "The Marshall Mathers LP2." Earlier, Eminen won the rap/sung collaboration Grammy for "The Monster" with Rihanna. Eminem now has more than a dozen Grammys to his name, including five prior rap album wins.
Eminem wasn't the most deserving candidate this year. That would have been Common, whose "Nodody's Smiling" is a vastly overlooked record that grapples with the violence crippling Chicago.
Comedy and music
With "Mandatory Fun," Weird Al has won his fourth Grammy. Accepting it, he thanked "all the recording artists who were nice enough to let me screw around with their music."
Weird Al noted that he is now a free agent, as this was his 14th and final album of a 14-album deal. "In just 32 short years, I was able to fulfill my contractual obligation."
Moments earlier, the late Joan Rivers won the spoken word Grammy for "Diary of a Mad Diva."
"My mother would be absolutely thrilled to be here. She loved getting anything," said her daughter, Melissa, adding that her mother believed "comedy was music."
She then joked that her mother would likely have the Grammy copied and for sale on QVC by 11 p.m.
Not Iggy's night?
Early indications are this won't be Iggy Azaela's night.
Her "Fancy" featuring Charli XCX is up for a number of major awards, including record of the year, but she lost the pop duo/group performance Grammy to "Say Something," the weepy piano ditty from A Great Big World with Christina Aguilera.
Iggy Azalea didn't win the first award she was up for. Let's hope this is a trend. #Grammys2015
Previous album of the year winners Arcade Fire couldn't muster a win for alternative music album this year. The prize went to St. Vincent's self titled effort for Loma Vista Recordings, her most aggressive guitar album of her career. The Grammy is her first.
Another first: Paramore received its first Grammy for "Ain't It Fun," which won in the rock song category, besting Beck's "Blue Moon" and the Black Keys' "Fever," among others.
For those following along with the pre-show to get a sense of which way the Grammys may swing tonight, Beck's loss in the rock song field just made him a bit more of a long shot for album of the year.
We do. Last week, the Times' staff of pop music writers, critics and editors were asked to vote in the big four categories (album, record, song, new artist). We also asked a couple of Recording Academy voters/industry insiders how they voted this year in a number of races.
Early indications are those won't be Iggy Azaela's night.
Her "Fancy" featuring Charli XCX is up for a number of major awards, including record of the year, but she lost the pop duo/group performance Grammy to "Say Something," the weepy piano ditty from A Great Big World with Christina Aguilera.
The documentary, released in 2013, took the spotlight away from center stage over to the world of female backup singers.
Directed by Morgan Neville, the film looked most specifically at the lives and careers of six women ¿ Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, Claudia Lennear and Judith Hill ¿ who span generations of music and have worked with a broad spectrum of artists including the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Phil Spector, Stevie Wonder, Sting and Ike and Tina Turner.
You can read more on this fascinating documentary here .
Rosanne Cash gave a brief but impassioned intro to the bloc of country awards to be given out during the pre-show. "We are employed in one of the greatest forces for peace, love and light in the universe," Cash said.
The Grammy for country solo performance went to Carrie Underwood for "Something In the Water," the Grammy for country duo/group performance went to the Band Perry for "Gentle On My Mind" and Glen Campbell's "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" won country song.
Campbell, in the late stages of Alzheimer's, could not be present. "I'm just so proud of him tonight," said his wife, Kim, in accepting the award. "It's been an amazing journey. He's been so courageous."
She added that Glen is "is healthy and cheerful ... Music I really believe kept him healthy for a longer period of time."
23 live performances coming your way
The Grammy Awards telecast boasts 23 live-performance segments ¿ far more than any other televised awards show.
Among the other artists on tap for Sunday's show (some in award contention and some not) are Kanye West, Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Sam Smith, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Herbie Hancock, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Chinese pianist Lang Lang, John Mayer, Ed Sheeran and Dwight Yoakam.
Most performances are rehearsed privately by each musician, then fleshed out with the onstage production in front of the cameras. From Thursday through Sunday morning, each act typically gets an hour to polish its presentation.
Grammy voters didn't quite go all in for Disney's "Frozen," which won two trophies -- one for compilation soundtrack for visual media and one for its signature song, "Let It Go."
"Frozen," the second-best selling album of 2014, was inexplicably shut out of major awards. Label this annual passholder a Disney apologist if you must, but no song was as unavoidable in 2014 as "Let it Go," which should have been nominated for record or song of the year.
The slow-build anthem turns the princess song into one of empowerment and individuality, and one of the two major Grammy categories could have done with one less nomination for "All About That Bass."
Meanwhile, Alexandre Desplat's work on "The Grand Budapest Hotel" won the Grammy for score soundtrack for visual media.
Corea wins two
Jazz composer Chick Corea offered a snapshot of the horror show that is walking the red carpet.
"What's it feel like being at the Grammys? What's it feel like being at the Grammys? What's it feel like being at the Grammys?" Corea relayed the experience while accepting his Grammy for best improvised jazz solo for "Fingerprints."
So what does it feel like? Corea got poetic. "We're lifting the spirits of the planets around us by making our music," he said.
Onto the awards: Dianne Reeves won best jazz vocal album for "Beautiful Life," and the Grammy for jazz instrumental album went to the Chick Corea Trio for "Trilogy."
Wife-and-husband songwriting team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the creative minds behind those "Frozen" songs, arrive at the Grammys. For a photo gallery of red-carpet arrivals, click "Read more."
Ana Tijoux's "Vengo" didn't win the Latin rock, urban or alternative album Grammy, but she did give a rather smoldering performance of the album's title track.
While music at the Grammy pre-telecasts is typically a tame affair (read: background jazz), Tijoux didn't tone down her often incendiary socially aware hip-hop. The French-Chilean artist delivered matter-of-fact activism over constantly forward-moving horn-inflected beat.
Moments later, Carlos Vives got the crowd laughing while accepting the the tropical Latin album award for "Más + Corazón Profundo." "I apologize my English is not good," he said. "My music is much better."
As the pre-tel enters its final 90 minutes look for major country, pop and rock awards to be dished out rather quickly. Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne
won the best dance recording Grammy for "Rather Be"and Aphex Twin's mesmerizingly weird "Syro" won best dance/electronic album, his first-ever Grammy.
Since 2000, video game scores have been allowed to vie against scores of top-flight film and TV series in the Grammys' visual media category. But not enough people vote for them.
In a decade and a half since eligibility, only one video game score has been nominated for a Grammy, Austin Wintory's 2012 compositions for the meditative independent game “Journey.”
It's not for a lack of options. This round alone saw the games “Transistor” (shown above), “The Banner Saga,” “Destiny” and more entered on the Grammys' initial ballot. Not one got enough votes for a nomination.
Here's the pre-show schedule of awards (74!) and performers. You can also watch it live at grammy.com/live .
Good start for album of the year contenders
Beck's album of the year nominated work "Morning Phase" and Beyoncé's "Beyoncé" are each 1-1 thus far.
"Morning Phase" won the Grammy for engineered album, non classical. It's a quiet, meditative work, and one that relies heavily on lush, intimate orchestrations.
"Beyoncé," meanwhile, won the Grammy for surround sound.
Studio technicians Florian Lagatta and Bob Ludwig have now won the production award two years in a row, as Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" took the category at last year's Grammys.
Ludwig was also part of the production team that won the Grammy for surround sound for his work on "Beyoncé."
And we're off!
Happy Grammy Day everyone.
The first Grammy of the afternoon was awarded to Ricky Kej & Wouter Kellerman for new age album and now there's only 82 more to go.
The bulk of the Grammys -- 74, in fact -- will be given out in a pre-telecast hosted by friend-of-Taylor Swift Hunter Hayes. That leaves only nine for the actual show this evening.
While this post was being written Ziggy Marley won the reggae album Grammy and Angelique Kidjo won the world music Grammy for her album, "Eve."
"For me," Kidjo said in accepting her award, "music is the weapon of peace."
While most award shows are one big pat-on-the-back festival, worth watching today is just how many artists reference recent world events. With Common and John Legend performing their song "Glory" from Selma, there's a good chance tonight's show will look beyond themselves in an attempt to strike a more culturally relevant tone.
In the running for the evening’s highest honor, album of the year, are Beck’s “Morning Phase,” Beyoncé’s “Beyoncé,” Ed Sheeran’s “X,” Sam Smith’s “In the Lonely Hour” and Pharrell Williams’ “Girl.”
It just so happens that Beyoncé, Williams and Smith lead the pack with six nods apiece. In fact, the British neo-soul singer Smith scored a rare sweep of nominations in all four major Grammy categories.
Other key nominations, as The Times’ music writer Randy Lewis notes, went to a musical celebration of a woman’s backside and a cheerleader-esque kiss-off to bullies. You didn’t think we’d leave you hanging, right? That’s code for Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”