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Music

Billie Eilish and Finneas, Lizzo, Gary Clark Jr. lead early Grammy winners

Finneas O’Connor and Billie Eilish
Finneas O’Connell and sister Billie Eilish were winners in the Grammys’ afternoon premiere ceremony.
(Kevin Winter/Getty Images for RADIO.COM)

The music community largely stayed on message Sunday during the afternoon Grammy Awards ceremony at which the vast majority of winners were announced.

Among the early multiple winners were all three of the year’s leading Grammy nominees — Billie Eilish, Lizzo and Lil Nas X — who have a combined 20 nominations this year.

L.A. singer-songwriter Eilish is the 18-year-old whose homemade debut album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” generated three awards, including a pair for the production and engineering work on the album by her brother, Finneas O’Connell.

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R&B singer and rapper Lizzo took two trophies for urban contemporary album for “Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)” and the track “Jerome” as traditional R&B performance. Rapper Lil Nas X also landed a pair for his smash hit with country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road,” which won for music video and pop duo or group performance.

It was an emotional ceremony for veteran country singer Tanya Tucker, who collected the first Grammy of her long career for her project with singer-songwriters Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings, “While I’m Livin’,” named country album of the year. Tucker noted her previous 14 Grammy nominations without a win, dating to 1972 when she was first nominated for female country vocal for her breakthrough hit “Delta Dawn,” recorded when she was 13.

Nearly 50 years later, Tucker joined the winners’ circle, accompanied by Carlile and Jennings, who co-produced the album. Carlile also co-wrote the autobiographical closing track, “Bring My Flowers Now,” a song Tucker had started decades ago but never finished until Carlile and songwriters Phil and Tim Hanseroth helped her put the finishing touches on it while working together on the album.

Guitarist-singer-songwriter Gary Clark Jr. received three awards from his album “This Land,” named contemporary blues album of the year, while the title track took honors for both rock song (a songwriting award) and performance. Rapper R&B singer Anderson .Paak also collected two, as did gospel star Kirk Franklin.

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A few musicians and participants acknowledged the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s death that broke just before the nearly 3½-hour so-called Premiere Ceremony began .

“As most of you know,” academy board chairman and interim president and chief executive Harvey Mason Jr. said at the top of the ceremony, “we lost [L.A. Lakers superstar] Kobe Bryant in a tragic helicopter accident today. Since we are in his house I will ask you to join me in a moment of silence.”

It was a reference to the evening ceremony taking place at Staples Center, the Lakers’ home court, adjacent the Los Angeles Convention Center where the Premiere Ceremony was held. Franklin also offered prayers for Bryant and his family.


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