LAS VEGAS, USA – The Grammy awards kicked off on Sunday, April 3 with leading nominee Jon Batiste winning four trophies as the music industry rolled out the red carpet for a pandemic-delayed celebration in Las Vegas.
The honors for Batiste, a multi-genre artist who went into the ceremony with 11 nominations, included best music video for “Freedom,” a vibrantly colored tribute to New Orleans.
“I am so grateful for the gifts God has given me and the ability to share that for the love of humankind,” Batiste said on stage as he accepted the award.
Batiste’s “Cry” won best American roots performance and American roots song. He also shared in the award for best score soundtrack for visual media, for composing and arranging some of the music in Pixar movie Soul.
The awards were announced ahead of the main Grammys telecast, which will air live on CBS television and the Paramount+ streaming service starting at 8 p.m. ET.
The highest honors in music were postponed from January during a spike in COVID-19 cases and moved from Los Angeles to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. A crowd of thousands is expected, a contrast to last year’s scaled-down event.
Batiste, who leads the band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, had nominations across the board, ranging from classical composition and American roots to his music video “Freedom” and album We Are, which was inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.
It is tough to predict who will take the biggest prizes, Grammy watchers say, other than best new artist, which is widely expected to go to 19-year-old Olivia Rodrigo. Her song “drivers license” went viral in early 2021.
Rodrigo also is nominated for album, song and record of the year. If she wins all of those categories, she would become just the third person in Grammys history to sweep the four main awards.
The last musician to accomplish that feat was Billie Eilish at the 2020 Grammys, when she was 18. Now 20, Eilish is in the running again for album of the year with Happier Than Ever.
Competitors for the album accolade include Rodrigo’s Sour, Kanye West’s Donda, Batiste’s We Are, and Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s Love for Sale. Justin Bieber’s Justice also is in the mix, along with Doja Cat’s Planet Her, H.E.R.’s Back of My Mind, Lil Nas X’s Montero and Taylor Swift’s Evermore.
Winners are chosen by some 11,000 voting members of the Recording Academy.
K-pop band BTS is among the acts scheduled to perform on the Grammys stage. The group, which has yet to win a Grammy, enters the night with a single nod for top-selling single “Butter.”
Other scheduled performers include Eilish, Gaga, Brandi Carlile, Bieber and Silk Sonic. Comedian Trevor Noah returns as host. – Rappler.com