Sting keeps it simple for ‘The Empty Chair’
The song is called “The Empty Chair,” but Sting didn’t even use one of those.
For a rendition of his and composer J. Ralph’s tender folk ballad from “Jim: The James Foley Story” — about the journalist murdered in 2014 by members of Islamic State — Sting opted for a stripped-down approach at the Oscars, standing simply as he sang and played guitar.
The performance ended with a quote from Foley illuminated on a large screen behind Sting: “If I don’t have the moral courage to challenge authority ... we don’t have journalism.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda set up Auli’i Cravalho for a powerful ‘alley-oop’
He said he was here just to help out — and he was right.
On the red carpet before the Oscars, “Moana” composer Lin-Manuel Miranda told The Times that his role in a rendition of the movie’s “How Far I’ll Go” was merely a supporting one.
“My performance is entirely created to support Auli’i Cravalho, who is 16 years old and one of the most incredible young performers I’ve ever seen,” the actor and songwriter said. “So really it’s an alley-oop.”
As promised, Miranda appeared onstage for only a few seconds (despite his marquee billing), rapping a brief introduction before passing the ball to Cravalho, who then dunked the thing in a major way.
If she can sing as assuredly as she just did at 16 — and before an estimated TV audience of 100 million people — she won’t need anyone else to set her up for long.
Justin Timberlake knows what Denzel Washington likes
Justin Timberlake opened Sunday’s Academy Awards with a typically spirited performance of “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” his Oscar-nominated song from the animated movie “Trolls.”
But just in case anyone thought the former teen-pop star didn’t belong among the grown-ups at the Dolby Theatre, Timberlake fleshed out the song with a bit of “Lovely Day” by the veteran soul great Bill Withers. (Worth nothing: The tunes’ bass lines are crazy similar.)
“I know you know this, Denzel,” Timberlake said as he pointed to Denzel Washington in the audience — I guess because the “Fences” actor and Withers are both black men?
Maybe later Sting will quiz Viola Davis about Aretha!
Carlos Santana changes his tune on Beyoncé: ‘I have the utmost respect for her as an artist and a person’
Acclaimed guitarist Carlos Santana is retreating on his remarks about Beyoncé after aggressively poking the overly agitated Beyhive.
The rock icon was regaling singer Adele Adkins with more adulation following her record-breaking wins at the 59th Grammy Awards on Sunday, including her victory over Beyoncé's “Lemonade” for album of the year.
“I think that Adele won because she can sing sing .... With all respect to our sister Beyoncé, Beyoncé is very beautiful to look at and it’s more like modeling kind of music -- music to model a dress -- she’s not a ‘singer’ singer, with all respect to her,” Santana, 69, told the Australian Associated Press ahead of his band’s New Zealand and Australia tour dates.
Santana, a 13-time Grammy winner who once performed with Beyoncé in 2003 at a pre-game show for the Super Bowl, kept digging a hole by explaining why Adele won.
“She doesn’t bring all the dancers and props. She can just stand there and she just stood there and sang the song and that’s it. And this is why she wins,” he said.
Beyoncé's fans dragged Santana on social media, and the escalating furor prompted him to issue a statement on Facebook on Tuesday clarifying his remarks and lauding the showstopping performer.
“My intent was to congratulate Adele on her amazing night at the Grammies,” he wrote. “My comment about Beyoncé was regretfully taken out of context. I have the utmost respect for her as an artist and a person. She deserves all the accolades that come her way. I wish Beyoncé and her family all the best.”
Adele also praised Bey during her acceptance speech, saying that she couldn’t possibly accept the album of the year award.
“My artist of my life is Beyoncé and this album, for me, the ‘Lemonade’ album, was just so monumental,” she said.
The British star elaborated on her remarks with reporters backstage after the show.
“I felt like it was her time to win,” she said. “What does she have to do to win album of the year?”
Chance the Rapper celebrates his Grammy wins with ice cream, pizza and a surprise Migos performance
Chance the Rapper, newly crowned best new artist at the Grammys, along with two other wins, was a gracious host at GQ magazine’s Grammy party at the Chateau Marmont hotel in West Hollywood on Sunday night.
The “No Problem” rapper had complimentary baseball caps, ice cream and pizza at the ready at the epic bash (hosted in partnership with YouTube), good-naturedly posed for photos with fans and even hugged fans on their way out at the end of the night. Just par for the course for an artist who has consistently defied convention, building a career on positivity and artistic integrity in an industry that seldom rewards it.
By 10:30 p.m., the space looked to be at full capacity, just 30 minutes after the party officially kicked off. Chance was among the stars who turned up early, jubilantly dancing onstage, making his rounds and greeting guests who ranged from Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle to up-and-coming rapper Lil Yachty.
A surprise performance early in the night by rap group Migos drew a roar from the crowd during the opening strains of the mega-hit “Bad and Boujee.” Migos also performed its new single “T-Shirt” before Chance took the stage.
A Prince tribute, Beyoncé watches herself and Grammy moments you didn’t see on TV
The 59th Grammy Awards had no shortage of major moments: Beyoncé’s breathtaking performance and surprising loss in all major categories, Adele’s flub, a Prince tribute from the Time and Bruno Mars that electrified the audience and then, of course, a victory lap from Chance the Rapper, winner for new artist.
But there was lots of action the cameras didn’t catch.
Here’s a few that caught our attention.
Beyoncé getting a glimpse of her old self. During commercial breaks the audience was treated to past Grammy performances and at one point Prince and Beyoncé’s dazzling opening duet at the 2004 telecast was shown. As Beyoncé watched from her seat — after her ethereal showing — she fanned herself and danced a bit.
The latest Grammy snub shows that even Beyoncé can hit the glass ceiling
Beyoncé and Adele went head-to-head four times at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night. Both were nominated for album of the year, song of the year, record of the year, and best pop solo performance. In every category, Adele was awarded the Grammy. Every time, Beyoncé, the peerless pop music icon of our time, was told she was second-best.
This should be a shock. While Adele’s singular voice, talent and devotion to her craft are undeniable, Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” was as complete an artistic statement as we have seen in our fractured pop moment — a one-of-a-kind visual album composed of genre-crossing track after track, conceived and produced on a scale unrivaled by any artist, living or dead. It was also a pitch-perfect rallying cry for black women to get in formation, their allies behind them, and forge a way forward despite the human imperfections of the men in their lives.
It happened the year before that, too, when Beyoncé lost the Grammy for album of the year to Beck.
Like many people of color unsurprised by the election of Donald Trump, Beyoncé knows the ceiling is centuries thick.
— John Vilanova
Adele’s Grammys restart took confidence, and was actually a pop-star power play
Is this becoming a habit for Adele?
As you’ve surely heard by now, the young British singer went dramatically off-script at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, halting her shaky performance of the late George Michael’s “Fastlove” (presumably because she couldn’t hear her accompaniment) and asking to start the tribute again.
But although the moment was shocking — at least by the tightly managed standards of televised awards shows — it wasn’t exactly a surprise: After all, Adele experienced a similar mishap at the 2016 Grammys, at which she delivered a deeply pitchy rendition of her song “All I Ask” that seemed to disrupt the idea of Adele’s vocal prowess.
“I can’t do it again like last year,” she said Sunday as she stopped “Fastlove,” and the pain of “All I Ask” was clearly still vivid in her memory.
Peter Dundas fashion sketches reveal the inspiration behind Beyoncé's Grammy gowns
After channeling a golden goddess on stage at the 2017 Grammy Awards, Beyoncé reappeared in red.
The songstress was wearing a number from designer Peter Dundas, who left Roberto Cavalli last year. In fact, Dundas was all over Beyoncé at the Grammy Awards this year, because the creator crafted not only this fiery look but her stage costumes as well.
Revealing the sketches for his “muse queen Bey” on Instagram, Dundas also announced the launch of the Peter Dundas Eponymous collection.
Katy Perry wears her politics on her sleeve. And her lapel. And her body. And her Grammys set.
During her Grammy performance of “Chained to the Rhythm” with Skip Marley, Katy Perry had about as much political subtlety as a car with more bumper stickers than bumper.
There was the white pantsuit, supporting Hillary Clinton. There was the lapel pin, supporting Planned Parenthood. There was the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, seemingly supporting the entire set as it was projected on the backdrop at the end of the song.
And there was the shiny white armband emblazoned with pink sequins that spelled out “Persist” -- an apparent invocation of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s televised clash last week in the Senate, when she was shut down while reading criticisms of attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions’ civil rights record, before he was confirmed.
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless she persisted,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
No need to explain yourself further, Katy Perry. We get it.
From birth till death, the Grammys captured the full circle of life
The full spectrum of life was on display at Sunday’s 59th Grammy Awards.
Much of the attention surrounding the ceremony in Los Angeles centered on artist comments or performances on hot political issues, but some of the more emotional moments sprang from the timeless themes of life and death.
There were grand tributes to those whom we’ve lost, of course — Bruno Mars and Adele honored Prince and George Michael, respectively — but also more subtle homages to the circle of life, such as Beyoncé’s performance that referenced the beauty of childbirth.
Beyoncé also indicated during her acceptance speech for the urban contemporary album Grammy that the collection, “Lemonade,” was directed in large part to her children.
“My intention for the [‘Lemonade’] film and album was to create a body of work that will give a voice to our pain, our struggles, our darkness and our history, to confront issues that make us uncomfortable,” she said.
“It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty, so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror, first through their own families, as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House and the Grammys, and see themselves. And have no doubt that they’re beautiful, intelligent and capable.
“This is something I want for every child of every race, and I feel it’s vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes.”
Likewise, it was the birth of roots-country singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson’s first child about three years ago that he has consistently cited as the main inspiration for his sophomore album, “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,” which earned a surprise nomination in the overall album of the year category and snared him the country album trophy Sunday.
Picking up his award during the pre-telecast ceremony at the Microsoft Theater, Simpson told onlookers, “Six years ago, I was in Utah working on the railroad, writing songs at night.”
‘You are our light’: Why Adele bowed to Beyoncé
During her speech for winning Album of the Year, Adele thanked Beyonce.
It was Adele’s night. But it happened in Beyoncé’s world.
That was the takeaway of Sunday’s 59th Grammy Awards, where the young British singer won three of the music industry’s biggest prizes — album, record and song of the year — yet seemed overshadowed by the visionary multimedia star she described as her idol.
Accepting the album of the year award for “25,” her blockbuster set of personal, old-fashioned pop ballads, Adele said she couldn’t rightfully take the Grammy knowing that it came at the expense of “Lemonade,” Beyoncé’s album connecting one woman’s marital troubles to the wider cultural struggle faced by women of color.
“You are our light,” Adele told Beyoncé, who looked on with an expression of queenly gratitude.
Grading James Corden as the Grammy host
The Grammy Awards, whose 59th edition took place at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday night, is essentially a series of performances interrupted by speeches. Depending on the state of the world, these may be topical or not. See below.
This year, with “Late Late Show” host James Corden replacing fellow CBS stablemate LL Cool J as host — CBS broadcast the show — some comedy was added to the mix. It’s not a bad idea in a 3½-hour show to work a little humor in every 45 minutes or so.
And Corden, who has a pitched-to-the-back-of-the-hall energy that sits well in a basketball arena, was a natural choice. His notoriety is built on the viral success of his “Carpool Karaoke” franchise, which reminds you that inside every pop star is a nerdy kid holding a hairbrush for a microphone, and the host is himself a singer confident enough to throw an unrehearsed harmony line onto a duet with Lady Gaga or Adele.
It was Adele, in fact, who opened the show, amid a circle of lights in an otherwise dark space, singing “Hello,” which later would win song of the year. There was a kind of mix-tape logic in the choice, given the title, and as a quiet display of pure musicality it was a nice way to begin.
Corden came on after, with a set-malfunction joke, as the elevator carrying him to the top of a stairway stopped halfway; he clambered up, and then, in an excellent and surprising bit of slapstick, disappeared between steps; then having clambered up again, rolled the rest of the way down. Though he did not sing, he rapped his opening monologue, working in names known and less known. (“Sturgill Simpson is here, and Google just crashed / Everyone typin’ ‘Who the hell is that?’”).
Corden’s contributions for the rest of the night emphasized self-deprecation. Introducing Gina Rodriguez, he said, “She plays ‘Jane the Virgin’ on TV; I played James the virgin until my 31st birthday.”
There was music and there were protests, but the Grammys once again belonged to Adele
Adele, the English queen of pop heartbreak and redemption, scored a perfect five for five Sunday at the 59th Grammy Awards, sweeping the top categories of album, record and song of the year in a triumphant return to the spotlight following a long, trying hiatus.
She also won points for humility and grace, restarting a tribute to George Michael that she began off-key and paying homage, in the evening’s final moments, to the artist considered her key rival for the top awards.
As she accepted the album of the year award for the blockbuster “25,” the singer, born Adele Adkins, paid homage to Beyoncé.
“The ‘Lemonade’ album is monumental, so monumental, so well-thought-out, so beautiful and soul-baring,” Adele said as Beyoncé looked on from her seat in Staples Center and mouthed the words “Thank you.”
Adele’s hit single “Hello” also collected the song award, which recognizes songwriting, and record of the year, which factors in vocal performance and record production. In addition, she won the awards for pop vocal album and solo performance.
Beyonce, who received the most nominations this year, won two of her nine categories; “Lemonade” won for urban contemporary album and “Formation” won the music video award.
David Bowie’s final album, “Blackstar,” also picked up five Grammy Awards for alternative music album, rock song, rock performance, engineered nonclassical album and recording package.
Not surprisingly given the mood of the country, the ceremony featured several moments of political commentary, ranging from calls for unity to blatant criticism.
In accepting the urban contemporary album award, Beyoncé said, “My intention for the film and album was to create a body of work that will give a voice to our pain, our struggles, our darkness and our history, to confront issues that make us uncomfortable.
“It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty,” she continued, “so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror, first through their own families, as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House and the Grammys, and see themselves. And have no doubt that they’re beautiful, intelligent and capable.”
Far more direct was the call-out to “President Agent Orange” from hip-hop collective A Tribe Called Quest.
This year’s Grammys will be remembered for its songs of protest
Jennifer Lopez, Paris Jackson and others took the opportunity to get political at the Grammys.
As in almost every show in this volatile awards season, political protest was all over the Grammys this year. From subtle and poised to outraged and esoteric, resistance came from artists of all genres and will likely be a major part of what this contentious Grammy ceremony will be remembered for.
Far from avoiding the obvious tension in American political life, Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich encouraged artists before the show to say as much about it as they could during their sets.
“If you have record labels and such to thank, please thank them later backstage with the press and say something important,” he said. “We’re expecting it.”
Many accepted his invitation. In an awards season marked by political activism — at the Golden Globes, Meryl Streep lectured President Trump on civility, Screen Actors Guild Awards winners denounced Trump’s travel ban — no doubt more than a few viewers tuned in to see what the music community, long outspoken on leftist causes, would have to say.
When it came to speeches, the artists at the prime-time Grammy telecast were relatively subdued. They seemed to heed the words of Recording Academy board member John Poppo, who in the early afternoon at a preshow said, “People can have ideologies that are so different that they’re willing to wage war over them, and yet very often they’re singing the same songs on both sides of the battlefield.”
So they let the music do the talking.
Adele on feeling ‘devastated’ by her flubbed George Michael tribute and why ‘Lemonade’ should have won
Adele had to stop and restart her George Michael tribute at the Grammy Awards.
Adele appeared flushed but resplendent in green backstage at the Grammys after becoming the first artist to sweep album, record and song of the year twice.
As with her final acceptance speech, the singer, who won five Grammys on Sunday night, gushed over the importance of Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” saying that she had spoken to her childhood idol both before and after the show.
She also said that her mistake during her George Michael tribute, which caused her to drop multiple f-bombs and ask for the song to be started over, left her feeling “devastated.”
“My earliest memory of me being a fan was ‘Fastlove,’ ” she recalled. “When the video came out, I was blown away by how hot he was. I was young, I was about 10 and I heard the vulnerability in that song.”
After Michael died, Adele told her partner Simon Konecki that she had to be the one to perform his Grammy tribute. At first his family didn’t want a tribute, she said, but they later came back to the Grammys specifying that they would allow a tribute only if Adele performed it.
“I found him to be one of the truest icons, because famous people often create this massive bravado to protect themselves, but for him it wasn’t based on a look or an assumption,” she said. “And he was very British.… The British press really gave him a hard time, but he still stayed loyal to the very end.”
Writing “25” was a difficult experience for Adele, who felt in many ways as if she had disappeared after having her son.
“I felt the pressure writing ’25,’ and in the process I couldn’t find my voice. I’m still not sure I did,” she confessed. “I was gone for so long. I had my baby and raised him through the toddler years, and then slowly edged my way back into work, but I thought that nobody would care.
“The Grammy means a lot to me, and I’m very humbled by that accomplishment … but like I said in my speech my album of the year was ‘Lemonade,’ so a part of me died inside,” she said, adding that the prize was largely for her son, who knows, “I’m a powerful force, he feels it at home and when he goes to work with me.”
She said that she wrote a lot less of “25” than she did of “21” because, “I had a bad drinking problem with ’21,’ so I couldn’t really find the inspiration this time around.”
She wrapped up her time with the press by circling back to Beyonce, who she said became her idol when she was 11. She was practicing a song for an assembly and she suggested to her friends that they do a Spice Girls song, but then her friends played a track by Destiny’s Child.
“I remember how I felt when I heard it, and I fell in love immediately with her and that was when I was 11, and I’m 28 now, and how I felt when I heard ‘No, No, No’ was exactly how I felt when I heard ‘Lemonade’ last year,” she said. “For her to be making such relevant music for that long of a period — I felt like it was her time to win — what does she have to do to win album of the year?
“The Grammys are very traditional, but I thought this year would be the year that they would go with the tide. I’m very grateful to have won it, but I felt the need [to do what she did during her acceptance speech] because I love her and I felt she is more worthy.”
Should President Trump be offended by the Grammy Awards? Neil Portnow addresses the question
By the end of Sunday’s Grammy Awards, President Donald Trump’s Twitter account had been mostly cold. There were no inflamed messages about the evening’s ceremony, even though there were veiled and outright incendiary commentaries on his administration.
A Tribe Called Quest ended its thunderous performance in a chant of “resist, resist, resist.” And Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, addressed Trump head-on in his annual speech.
“The Recording Academy, together with America’s music makers, call on the president and Congress to help keep the music playing by updating music laws, protecting music education and renewing America’s commitment to the arts,” Portnow said.
Backstage after the ceremony, a reporter asked Portnow how he would respond if Trump went on the offensive.
“When you’re a public figure and when you’re the president of the United States, some will be happy with what you do and sing your praises and some will not,” Portnow said. “And that’s what a democracy is about.
“We just had a major election that obviously has us, in many ways, divided as a country,” he added. “We don’t weigh in on the pros and cons, what we like, what we don’t like. We give the stage to artists to express themselves.”
Check out the highlights from 2017 Grammy Awards’ in our photo gallery
Recording Academy President Neil Portnow takes a stand for the arts
Jokingly almost-introduced as Kanye West by Grammys host James Corden, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow took the stage late in the Grammys telecast to address the crowd. Below, the full text of his remarks, which advocated for the arts and arts education.
“We are constantly reminded about the things that divide us. Race, region and religion. Gender, sexual orientation, political party. But what we need so desperately are more reminders of all that binds us together – our shared history, our common values and our dedication to build for ourselves a more perfect union.
“More than a century ago, a poem was combined with a musical composition and became an instantly recognizable song the world over. Let’s see if you know it. (An 18-year-old female Grammy Jazz Ensemble trumpeter performed the first 14 notes of “America the Beautiful.”)
“Thank you, Miranda. ‘America the Beautiful’ captures the essence of our country and reminds us that we are – and always will be – one people, from sea to shining sea. In times of triumph and of tragedy, we turn to song and the abiding power of music to lift our spirits, soothe our souls and remind us that everything will be OK.
“President John F. Kennedy once observed, ‘The life of the arts is very close to the center of a nation’s purpose – and is a test of the quality of a nation’s civilization.’ That’s so true. And that’s why we must be loud and clear in our unwavering support of music and the arts – and those who create it.
“Behind the extraordinary artists you’ve seen here on our stage are hundreds of thousands of unsung musicians, songwriters, producers and engineers – American creators – whose jobs suffer from outdated rules and regulations, some going back 100 years.
“So, the Recording Academy, together with America’s music makers, call on the President and Congress to help keep the music playing by updating music laws, protecting music education and renewing America’s commitment to the arts. It’s our collective responsibility to preserve what binds us – and to ensure that the whole world continues to benefit from one of our most unique, economically and spiritually important assets and exports: American music.
“And now, let’s turn our hearts to celebrate the beautiful lives we lost in our music community this past year.”
Bruno Mars ‘ripped it up’ during Prince tribute, Morris Day says
Morris Day and the Time appeared backstage after their rousing Prince tribute with Bruno Mars to lament the loss of the Purple One and to give credit to Mars for keeping up with them.
“It was double-edged for me because I hate the reason we are here, but I’m glad to be here,” said Day while the Time (all original members) stood nodding behind him. “I think it was fitting.
“He was one of the best ever,” Day continued about Prince, who he and his band played for in Minneapolis a few months before the Artist’s death. “His legacy will go on forever. He was one of the best musicians that ever lived.”
Day and company extended kind words for Mars’ performance as well.
“He ripped it up — I think it was perfect,” Day said. “I don’t think there was another artist who could have pulled it off as perfectly as Bruno did.”
If Mars asked them to go on tour with him and presented them with “the right amount of money,” they joked, they would “consider” it.
Adele honors Beyonce during album of the year victory, tells her ‘I wish you were my mother’
Adele tearfully thanked Beyonce while accepting her album of the year award for “25.”
The album-of-the-year Grammy was always a two-woman battle, between Adele and Beyoncé. This year Adele scored the trophy -- but almost didn’t accept it.
During a tearful speech in which she thanked her friends and family, she turned to Beyoncé and told her it was hard to accept the trophy knowing how much Beyoncé's “Lemonade” had meant to her.
“My artist of my life is Beyoncé,” Adele said.
“I adore you and I want you to be my mommy,” Adele had said earlier to Beyoncé while accepting record of the year, to big laughter. But she seemed to mean it.
For her part, Beyoncé beamed at Adele during the speech, shaking her head humbly as Adele piled on compliments for the power and courage behind “Lemonade.”
But by the end of the night Adele’s victory for “25" seemed assured. She’d already earned song of the year and record of the year for “Hello,” and bested Beyoncé in pop solo performance.
Acknowledging the time off she’d taken to have a baby and stressing how difficult being a mother is, Adele added, “It took an army to make me strong and willing to do it again.”
The victory eclipsed Adele’s earlier performance stumble, in which she had to restart her George Michael tribute.
Not that anyone cared. Adele’s humility shone through, as always.
According to Grammy officials, Adele is the first artist to sweep album, record and song of the year twice.
Solange took home her first Grammy, joining sister Beyoncé in the gold trophy party
Solange Knowles finally (and deservedly) joined her sister
Beyoncé as a Grammy winner Sunday night, taking home her first trophy for R&B performance for “Cranes in the Sky.”
“Honestly, I feel like I won a long time ago because of all of the connectivity this album has had, particularly with black women,” Knowles said backstage in the press room.
Knowles mentioned she had written “Cranes in the Sky” eight years ago, but it kept getting pushed aside. Taken from her breakthrough album “A Seat at the Table,” the song put Knowles in the pantheon of artists unafraid to address politics and social justice in their work.
“All that we can do as artists, especially as a songwriter, is to write about the truth,” she said, adding that Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye have been touchstones for her.
“I’m grateful to those artists because it’s not easy to do that,” she said, “but we’re not doing anything new.”
Bruno Mars and the Time do the late Prince justice
An easy rule for Grammy memorial tributes: don’t dress up like the guy you’re honoring. Unless you’re Bruno Mars, perhaps the one person at the Grammys who could credibly fill Prince’s purple suit.
Since Prince’s death last year, it’s clear that it’s usually a fool’s errand to even try and live up to his standards onstage (Shiela E. excepted, for obvious reasons). But if anyone could do it, it’s Mars, who already had one genial performance earlier.
He returned to the stage in full Prince regalia – was it blasphemy or audacious?
But the thing about Mars is, he’s got a similar mix of instrumental chops, stage presence and deftness with electro-funk that made Prince so exalted. Add a kickoff set from the Time, favored collaborators of the Purple One, for a medley of “Jungle Love/The Bird” into “Let’s Go Crazy,” and it all adds up to an homage that’s not just respectful, but flat-out fun and worthy of the benefactor.
After a year laced with so much death in music, that was no little achievement. Kudos to mars for sticking the toughest landing on the Grammy stage tonight.
Adele wins album of the year for ‘25’
The other nominees were:
- “Lemonade” — Beyoncé
- “Purpose” — Justin Bieber
- “Views” — Drake
- “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” — Sturgill Simpson
Adele wins record of the year for ‘Hello’
The other nominees were:
- “Formation” — Beyoncé
- “7 Years” — Lukas Graham
- “Work” — Rihanna featuring Drake
- “Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots
Why were people booing after Adele’s acceptance speech?
After winning her Grammy for song of the year for “Hello,” Adele used much of her acceptance speech to thank the song’s producer and co-writer Greg Kurstin.
“I’d like to thank Greg because Greg kept coming to England for me, to work with me,” Adele said.
“He would come to me in England so I didn’t have to leave my son and yet he would leave [his] son and daughter. So thank you for your patience with me and for helping to create my favorite song I’ve ever done.”
But when Kurstin, a native Angeleno, stepped up to the microphone, music began to play, cutting him off entirely and drawing boos from the audience. Earlier, during the non-televised portion of the show, Kurstin accepted a Grammy for producer of the year, nonclassical.
The interruption was not lost on viewers who expressed their outrage on Twitter.
Rihanna packs a sparky flask to the Grammys, continues to have more fun than everyone else around her
Sure, Rihanna could afford to pay the ridiculous liquor prices they charge at Staples Center, but why bother when your flask looks this fabulous?
Rihanna was caught on camera during the broadcast swigging from the flask, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand and passing it along to the woman next to her, who took a shot as well.
Proving yet again that Rihanna is the most fun of all the rock stars, pop stars, singers and starlettes.
Once a Grammy camp student, country singer Maren Morris is now winning gold and singing with Alicia Keys
A petite Maren Morris, who won for country solo performance, appeared backstage in a silver sequined dress clutching her shiny gold Grammy. Her first request? That the microphone be lowered.
“I have heels on and I’m still too short for the microphone,” she laughed.
With four nominations, Morris is the most nominated country artist this year, so she said it felt particularly gratifying to be holding a statue.
“I’m still sort of processing it, but it feels amazing,” she said. “I was nominated with a lot of my friends in those categories, so to walk away with it is really validating.”
Morris was part of the first “crop of Grammy campers” (referring to the Grammy Foundation’s music industry camp for U.S. high school students) back in 2005 and at the time she dreamed that one day she might find herself on stage for the honor that, 11 years later, is now hers.
She said her favorite part of the evening was singing with Alicia Keys, and that since she had sung with Keys before -- on CMT’s mash-up series “Crossroads” -- it didn’t make her anxious. The pair had long joked that country and soul music were cousins.
“I was more nervous to walk up the stairs to accept my award and not fall over my dress,” she said.
Her Grammy win won’t add pressure when it comes to making her next album, which she hasn’t started.
“I don’t look at things in terms of pressure, that’s counterproductive to the creative process,” she said. “I think the next one is going to be fun.”
She has plans to celebrate after the ceremony with her family and her boyfriend.
“I’m going to have my first drink in a month,” she said. “I fit into the dress so now I can throw down.”
Anderson .Paak teams with A Tribe Called Quest to perform medley, and Busta Rhymes blasts Donald Trump
Among the many inspiring artists who passed in 2016, the rapper Phife Dawg’s death hit the hip-hop community hard. As co-founder of A Tribe Called Quest, he helped create classics of the genre including “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm,” “Midnight Marauders” and “The Low End Theory.”
The group issued its swan song, “We Got It From Here ... Thank You for Your Service” in 2016, and its co-founders Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Q-Tip landed on stage with Busta Rhymes and best new artist nominee Anderson .Paak.
In introducing the tribute, Q-Tip gestured toward an empty microphone and dedicated the performance to Phife.
Anderson .Paak sang and played drums, but it was the roar of Busta Rhymes that made the biggest impression. Decrying “President Agent Orange,” he and the others crashed through a makeshift wall and a mass of immigrants moved onto the stage and down the aisles.
Said Rhymes: “I just want to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil you been perpetuating throughout the United States. I want to thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban.”
The tribute featured the older Tribe tracks “Movin’ Backwards” and “Award Tour” but focused on the new track “We the People.” A timely song, particularly in light of recent changes to U.S. immigration policies, its chorus jumped out of the speakers:
“All the black folks, you must go/ All the Mexicans, you must go/ All the poor folks, you must go/ Muslims and gays, we hate your ways/ See all you bad folks you must go.”
At the end with the people alongside him onstage, Q-Tip screamed, “Resist! Resist! Resist!”
Grammys don’t do the Bee Gees proud
It’s been 40 years since the Bee Gees released “Stayin’ Alive,” a hit that would popularize the disco era, make John Travolta a star and spawn a lackluster tribute at the Grammys on Sunday night.
Demi Lovato opened well enough with “Stayin’ Alive,” but when Tori Kelly jumped in with “Tragedy,” it was clear this was going to be another weird Grammy mash-up by the most unlikely candidate. Enter Little Big Town crooning “How Deep Is Your Love?”
Barry Gibb clapped along in the audience, looking equal parts pleased and puzzled, hearing the music he played with his late brothers, Robin and Maurice.
All the artists and Andra Day came together at the end for another stab at “Stayin’ Alive,” ensuring that the 1970s hit would need triage in order to stay alive after they were done with it.
‘Blackstar’ saxophonist Donny McCaslin feels David Bowie should have been nominated in major categories
Clutching an armful of Grammys — five, to be exact — Donny McCaslin stopped backstage to represent David Bowie’s critically acclaimed final album, “Blackstar,” on which McCaslin played saxophone.
Even with five Grammy wins, including for rock song and alternative music album, there was a sense that the album was shut out from the major categories. “Blackstar” was released mere days before Bowie’s death in January 2016.
“I’ll start by saying that nobody could represent David Bowie, but I’m glad to be here to represent him,” said McCaslin, whose black ensemble included a T-shirt with a white star in homage to the album’s artwork.
“In terms of him not being nominated in the bigger categories, to me it’s very clear that he should have been nominated in couple of those major ones.”
Lady Gaga and Metallica shred ... something
Lady Gaga and Metallica can at least take comfort in this: it didn’t happen at the Super Bowl.
Gaga, fresh off a well-received but atypically (for her) apolitical Super Bowl halftime show, had intended to team up with Metallica to showcase her hard-rock bona fides. It should have been a good fit – she’s long used heavy guitars in her bombastic pop, and she turned herself into a motorcycle for one infamous album cover.
But from the first seconds of their collaboration on “Moth Into Flame,” from Metallica’s throwback thrash record “Hardwired…To Self Destruct,” it was a more of a ten-car pileup.
James Hetfield’s microphone gave up on him before he even got a word in, leaving the famously gravelly frontman in total awkward silence between Gaga’s verses. Their backup dancers, swaying in some weird approximation of “heavy metal dancing,” couldn’t hold a candle to the most off-hours amateur night at Jumbo’s Clown Room.
The whole set evoked a fire sale on the store floor at Guitar center, when fifteen dudes are all trying to out-finger-tap each other in a cacophonous hail. Gaga was obviously thrilled to be there, finally fronting the arena-rock band of her dreams and stage-diving backwards into the crowd. But Hetfield threw his guitar and walked offstage the second it was over.
You and us both, dude.
Who is Gavin Grimm? Learn about the teenager Laverne Cox mentioned at the Grammys
Just before actress Laverne Cox took the stage Sunday to introduce a performance by Lady Gaga and Metallica (though she forgot to mention the heavy-metal band), she encouraged viewers to Google the case of Gavin Grimm.
Who is he exactly?
Gavin Grimm is the Virginia teenager at the center of an upcoming Supreme Court case that will tackle transgender rights for the first time.
The trial, set for March, will determine whether schools nationwide can force students to use restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate.
Read more about it here.
After winning for rap album, Chance the Rapper thanks Mom, Dad and ... SoundCloud
Chance the Rapper had a special shout-out after accepting the Grammy award for rap album.
“This is for every indie artist,” Chance began. “Shouts out to SoundCloud for holding me down. It’s another one, baby!”
SoundCloud, a music-sharing platform, is popular among new and independent artists. Chance has over 1 million SoundCloud followers and has uploaded more than 70 tracks on the service.
Of course, the platform had a response for its music-sharing poster child.
Adele’s ‘Hello’ wins song of the year
“Hello” songwriters Adele Adkins and Greg Kurstin won the Grammy for song of the year. The other nominees were:
- “Formation” — Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé)
- “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” — Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)
- “Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)
- “7 Years” — Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)
Read Beyoncé's complete Grammy acceptance speech
Beyonce’s acceptance speech for urban contemporary album for “Lemonade” at the 2017 Grammy Awards.
“Hi baby. Thank you to the Grammy voters for this incredible honor. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to beautifully capture the profundity of deep Southern culture.
I thank God for my family, for my wonderful husband, my beautiful daughter, my fans for bringing me so much happiness and support.
We all experience pain and loss and often we become inaudible. My intention for the film and album was to create a body of work that would give a voice to our pain, our struggles, our darkness and our history. To confront issues that make us uncomfortable. It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty, so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror -- first to their own families as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House and the Grammys -- and see themselves. And have no doubt that they are beautiful, intelligent and capable. This is something I want for every child of every race. And I feel it’s vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes.
Thank you again for honoring “Lemonade.” Have a beautiful night. Thank you for tonight this was incredible.”
The Dap-Kings horns power Sturgill Simpson’s ‘All Around You’
James Corden gently mocked Grammy-winner Sturgill Simpson in the opening segment of the Grammys for being the name that would send the most viewers to search engines to find out who exactly he is. With a performance backed by the Dap-Kings horns, Simpson provided an answer.
Leaning into “All Around You” from his Grammy-nominated “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,” Simpson’s weathered voice soared atop the brassy backdrop provided by the longtime collaborators with the late Sharon Jones (who presenter Dwight Yoakam paid tribute to in his introduction).
While it may have been entirely on-brand for the Grammys to have asked Simpson to perform something from Jones’ catalog, the rising country star’s performance pointed toward what those who could already identify Simpson already knew -- that he has a perfectly easy touch with brassy R&B in his own right.
And you never know, maybe those Google searches spiked once more after that performance. Simpson won the Grammy Award for country album earlier Sunday and is a contender for album of the year.
Maren Morris more than holds her own with Alicia Keys
Maren Morris had one of the most inventive recent country debut LPs with “Hero,” so it’s perhaps no surprise she’d try to get outside the genre box with her Grammy performance after a breakthrough year.
Still, it’s a bold move to try and go blow-for-blow with Alicia Keys in a duet. But Morris more than held her own on her performance of “Once,” turning that simmering ballad into a showcase for her vocal prowess.
She pulled down a Grammy earlier in the night for country solo performance on “My Church,” but it’s clear she’s thinking beyond the usual orthodoxy of her peers. Keys is a powerhouse vocalist, but this was a rare Grammy genre-mash that actually complemented the skills of each singer.
Casual fans who expected the flinty songwriting and pristine performances of “Hero” might have been a bit surprised by how hard she swung for the rafters at the Grammys. But like a certain other country-aligned, pop-inclined Grammy favorite, Morris may just be getting started winning over whole new swaths of fans tonight.
Celebs online and the Grammy audience rally around Adele as she restarts her tribute to George Michael
During her tribute to the late singer George Michael, pop superstar Adele stopped her performance and started again.
The singer, who was in the middle of performing Michael’s 1996 song “Fastlove,” paused and, with a look of sorrow on her face, cussed and said, “I’m sorry for swearing and I’m sorry for starting again. Can we please start again?”
She then apologized to Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich.
In the audience at Staples Center, Times writer Gerrick Kennedy said that Adele may have been distracted. The set up for the next performance was occurring as she was singing, and the noise may have thrown her off.
When the performance was over, the Grammy winner put her hands over her face the moment the lights went down and shook her head.
The crowd in the arena was with her the whole way, said Kennedy, cheering her on as she powered through her second take.
And online, the Internet rallied around the singer, remotely with tweets of praise from “Modern Family’s” Eric Stonestreet to Bette Midler.
Chance the Rapper wins rap album for ‘Coloring Book’
The other nominees were:
- “And the Anonymous Nobody” — De La Soul
- “Major Key” — DJ Khaled
- “Views” — Drake
- “Blank Face LP” — Schoolboy Q
- “The Life of Pablo” — Kanye West
Bruno Mars tries his best to follow Bey
Pity poor Bruno Mars, tasked with following up what was perhaps the finest Grammy performance in a generation. But if anyone had a prayer of playing live after Beyoncé without instantly vaporizing into total cosmic insignificance, it’s probably Bruno Mars.
There’s nothing one can really do to follow up on a nine-minute medley of mind-erasing pregnancy holograms and chair-tilt stunts, so Mars instead did what he does best: corral his bros, throw on some gold chains, and play his new pitch-perfect ‘80s funk pastiche with aplomb. “That’s What I Like” is a great, slow rolling slice of his recent affection for Zapp and Gap Band (so much so that the latter sued him).
When he played it for the still-stunned-by-Bey Grammy crowd, he pulled the not-insignificant feat of reminding viewers why he’s still one of the most endearing, charismatic performers in pop.
Was it on the level of the regal, almost religious performance art that came before it? Of course not. But it was hard not to want to trim some strawberries and crack Champagne along with him. Anyone would need a drink after trying to play that time slot.
After Beyonce’s performance, celebs are bawling, planning their funerals or simply dead
Beyonce killed Chrissy Teigen on Sunday night. Killed her dead, right there in the Grammys audience, with a hypnotic performance. Take it from Teigen herself -- she was only one of the celebrities doing the dramatic-fan thing on social media.
Gabrielle Union and Elizabeth Banks kept their focus on the family.
Anna Kendrick found deeper meaning in the nine-minute affair, and Chad Johnson -- you know, Ochocinco -- was planning for the afterlife.
But alas, Mindy Kaling missed the party -- blame it on the time zones.
Tim McGraw, John Legend, Faith Hill, Neil Diamond and others join James Corden for Carpool Karaoke of ‘Sweet Caroline’
Grammy host James Corden appears nightly on his show “The Late Late Show,” and has used the platform as a vehicle for his breakout viral video “Carpool Karaoke” segments, in which he sings and drives with superstars from Madonna to Adele to Bruno Mars.
Few doubted that Corden would push his brand -- especially with an online series on Apple Music on the way -- but the way that he did it was a surprise: He donned a cardboard cutout car for an in-house version.
Corden did so by “surprising” Jennifer Lopez, who has done her own clip, for an in-the-moment version of a classic: “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.
The bonus? So many singers were surrounding the two that within seconds the pair were flanked by artists including Ryan Tedder, Tim McGraw, John Legend, Faith Hill and others.
The bigger bonus: A dapper looking Neil Diamond joined in for his classic singalong.
Blue Ivy channels Prince at the Grammys
There’s been a lot of focus on Beyoncé's twins this week. But her first baby is still front and center -- and giving music history vibes -- at the Grammys.
Blue Ivy came in what appears to be a Prince “Purple Rain"-era-inspired outfit, complete with ruffled cravat. She also made a brief cameo onstage during her mom’s performance of “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles.”
Beyoncé wins urban contemporary album for ‘Lemonade’
The other nominees were:
- “Ology” — Gallant
- “We Are King” — King
- “Malibu” — Anderson .Paak
- “Anti” — Rihanna
Full gallery of Beyoncé's Grammy performance
Meet Busbee, the Glassell Park-based producer who helped Maren Morris get to the Grammys
Maren Morris won the Grammy for country solo performance for her hit “My Church.” We recently chatted with her producer Busbee.
When Maren Morris started writing songs for her major-label debut, “Hero,” the 26-year-old country singer “knew where my musical compass pointed,” as she put it recently.
A self-described “’90s baby,” Morris grew up in Texas listening to Johnny Cash, Chaka Khan and the Spice Girls, and she wanted her own music to embody those diverse influences. Yet Nashville isn’t always receptive to ideas from beyond its tightly controlled borders. So Morris wasn’t sure “how far in that direction I could wander.”
Mike Busbee helped her find out.
As the singer’s co-producer and writing partner, Busbee devised the slick but soulful sound of “Hero,” which incorporates textures not typically heard in mainstream country — throbbing synths, thick R&B bass, low-slung hip-hop beats — even as Morris’ voice roots the music in tradition
Beyoncé's performance was a show of maternal strength
Stand down, doubters.
Anyone wondering if Beyoncé's just-announced pregnancy would take away from her ability to perform as vividly as we’ve come to expect got their answer Sunday night when the singer delivered a stunning rendition of her songs “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles” at the Grammy Awards.
Dressed in a flowing gown and elaborate head piece, Beyoncé moved slowly but surely down a long runway surrounded by female dancers, then took a seat in a wooden chair that reclined nearly 90 degrees over empty space — all while she continued to sing powerfully and with palpable emotion in her voice.
The performance was a masterful show of strength and delicacy, intelligence and feeling — one she pulled off not in spite of her changing body, but because of it.
Can’t wait for Coachella.
Ed Sheeran illustrates his love in performance of “Shape of You”
The beat-boxing contemporary pop-folk singer Ed Sheeran landed on the Grammy stage wearing a T-shirt and holding a guitar, as if Daft Punk hadn’t just illustrated that the proper performance attire is in fact dark robes awash in purple.
Performing his hit song “Shape of You” by looping beats, melodies and vocal loops on the fly, the young man with the tussled hair and tattooed sleeves sang and rapped about being in love with his date’s body, and you could almost hear the coos of a million teenagers as he did so.
Maren Morris wins country solo performance for ‘My Church’
The other nominees were:
The origin of Beyoncé's ‘Sandcastles’ began with the heartbreak of one homeless songwriter
Beyoncé’s announcement this month that she was expecting twins was met with online fanfare, but there were questions about what it would mean for the Grammys — where the singer was up for nine awards, including record, song and album of the year for “Lemonade” — and a headlining gig at Coachella.
At the Grammys on Sunday, Beyoncé offered a glimpse of how she might handle her forthcoming festival date with her nine-minute performance of ballads “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles.”
Surrounded by two dozen dancers, thousands of flowers and a flashy technical display, Beyoncé took a break from the high-octane choreography that she typically brings to awards shows with a more ethereal showing.
Before Sunday, Beyoncé had yet to perform “Love Drought” or “Sandcastles” on her tour, the latter of which had a particularly curious origin. Her Grammy performance echoed her “Lemonade” visual album.
When “Lemonade” arrived, the tender ballad about reconciliation and forgiveness was seen as confirmation that years of tabloid speculation about her husband Jay Z’s infidelities rang true, especially paired with the album’s mediations of pain and struggle through the lens of black womanhood.
“Sandcastles” is the album’s emotional centerpiece. Its lyrics are raw, her voice cracking as she sings about scratching out her lover’s face in photos, and the visual companion featured Jay embracing his tearful wife and lying at her feet — the most intimate of displays for pop’s most intensely private couple.
As heart-wrenching as it was, the pain Beyoncé sang of originated with a little-known songwriter that was struggling to make ends meet.
In early 2015, songwriter Vincent Berry II promised himself he would stop writing about his ex-girlfriend.
Just one more song, he said, and during sessions with poet-rapper-actor Malik Yusef it happened with a demo called “We Built Sandcastles That Washed Away.”
Gathered at a piano Yusef sang the gospel-influenced lyrics he’d come up with — words that “opened a wound” for Berry.
“I hadn’t really healed,” Berry told The Times of the 10-year relationship that inspired the track. “I just thought about her, and it was all I needed to get the rest out.”
Barry was homeless when Beyoncé got her hands on the song, originally intended for R&B singer Teyana Taylor, in February 2015 after word of mouth got the demo played for A&R executive Teresa LaBarbera Whites, who famously discovered and signed Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child to Columbia Records.
It was a level of exposure that helped him go from starving artist to in-demand songwriter, and he’s since logged studio time with Alicia Keys, Maroon 5, Big Sean, BJ the Chicago Kid and Eminem.
“When someone sings your song, it’s incredible,” said Berry. “But when the biggest artist in the world sings your song, it’s really a defining moment for yourself that you know you’re supposed to be doing what you’re doing.”