The 55th Grammy Awards: The year for newcomers

The 55th Grammy Awards: The year for newcomers
Bernadine Racoma

Taylor Swift opened the 55th Grammy Awards in a rousing Alice in Wonderland-inspired number, dressed in a white top hat and white coattails. She sang her new hit single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” In terms of glam and music performances, the Grammys did not disappoint. Justin Timberlake is back after a four-year absence, mature and better than ever. He performed his new single, “Suit & Tie,” with Jay-Z joining him in the middle of the performance to rap the studio version of the song. Rihanna and Adele also performed.

This year’s Grammy was not dominated by a single artist as critics previously predicted and most of the major winners were newcomers, which is a welcome development. Of course the contributions of recognized music artists could not be forgotten, with some major awards going to Kelly Clarkson, Janis Ian, Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Drake, Frank Ocean, Zac Brown Band and Black Keys.

55th Grammy Awards: Major Winners

The Song of the Year went to pop group fun, with their song “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monáe. The new group, a trio, won over other nominees, Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team,” “Adorn” by Miguel, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You” by Kelly Clarkson and “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen.  The group also won the Best New Artist category, besting Frank Ocean, Hunter Hayes, The Lumineers and Alabama Shakes. New Orleans native Frank Ocean on the other hand won the Best Urban Contemporary Album for his album, Channel Orange. He used to be a ghost writer for many artists including Justin Bieber, Beyoncé Knolwes, John Legend and Brandy. His album bested two other nominees, Kaleidoscope Dream by Miguel and Fortune by Chris Brown.

The four-man folk rock band from England, Mumford & Sons and their second album, Babel won the Record of the Year Award. The group from West London is not new to the Grammys. The band had been nominated for Best New Artist in 2010, where their single from their first album, “Little Lion Man” was nominated for Best Rock Song. Although they did not win then, the nominations gave them increased airplay, contributing to their popularity. Contenders for the award were Blunderbuss (Jack White), Channel Orange (Frank Ocean), Some Nights (fun), and El Camino (The Black Keys).

The Best Pop Vocal Album went to Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger. Kelly Clarkson was the first season winner of American Idol. The Texan’s first Grammy nomination was in 2004 during the 46th Grammy Awards for the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category for her song “Miss Independent.” She bagged the award in the 2006 Grammys, including the Best Pop Vocal Album Award for “Breakaway.” She also received several nominations in different categories in 2008, 2010 and 2012 and 2013.

The Black Keys, fun, Frank Ocean, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson were all nominated for the Record of the Year category in this year’s Grammys. The winner was Gotye featuring Kimbra for the album, “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Gotye hails from Melbourne, Australia though he was born in Belgium. His real name is Wouter De Backer, while his stage name, Gotye was derived from Gautier, the French equivalent of his real name. He’s had numerous nominations and won several awards from 2011, but this year is his first time to be included in the Grammy nominations. It was merited though, for his album, in collaboration with New Zealand artist Kimbra not only won the Record of the Year, it also received awards for Best Alternative Music Album and the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

For the Best Country Album, the Zac Brown Band emerged as the winner, for their album “Uncaged.” The nine- member band is from Atlanta, Georgia. They have been performing since 2002 and had previous Grammy nominations in 2010 and 2011. They were the Grammy’s Best New Artist in 2010 and in 2011 won the Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for their song “As She’s Walking Away,” featuring Alan Jackson.

The Black Keys of Akron, Ohio did not win the album of the year category but they did not come home empty-handed. They bagged the Best Rock Performance Award for their song, “Lonely Boy,” beating out some strong contenders such as Bruce Springsteen with “We Take Care of Our Own,” Mumford & Sons’ “I Will Wait,” Coldplay’s “Charlie Brown” and “Hold On” by Alabama Shakes. The song also won the Best Rock Song category and their album, El Camino bagged the Best Rock Album Award in this year’s Grammy. The Black Keys had five Grammy nominations in 2011, winning three of them, including Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rock Performance by a Group or Duo with Vocal. They were also nominated for the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance in 2012.


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