Just hours after the tragic death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant as well as his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, the Los Angeles Lakers home court (The Staples Center) became the stage for music’s biggest night.
The 62nd Grammy Awards started off despondent when host Alicia Keys brought out Boyz II Men to perform their 1991 song “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” as a touching tribute to the late Los Angeles legend.
Many fans of music, especially in L.A., adored Kobe Bryant as a basketball player, influential businessman, motivational speaker and friend. This made the night difficult for some to enjoy, but once the actual ceremony started, moods were shifted and the fun of the Grammy Awards began.
Almost the entire rest of the night was owned by pop phenom Billie Eilish alongside her older brother Finneas O’Connell, who writes and produces for Billie. Out of 6 nominations, she brought home five Grammy Awards, including all of the “Big Four” (Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist). Primarily because of his work on his younger sister’s 2019 album “When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go”, Finneas O’Connell became the youngest person ever to win Producer of the Year at 22 years old.
Billie is only the second artist in history to complete the “Big Four” sweep, and she is also the first female.
Although this utter domination may have been seen coming by many of her fans, Eilish and O’Connell seemed to be in complete awe at the victories they were taking. Just before Album of the Year was announced Billie Eilish was seen in the crowd saying “Please don’t be me.”
In her acceptance speech she flat-out said “I think Ariana deserves this,” and she’s far from the only one who believes that.
Several publications including The Hollywood Reporter, Newsweek, and Billboard made it clear they believe Ariana Grande’s “Thank U Next” got snubbed out of Album of the Year and Song of the Year to Eilish. Many of the same fans and critics also believe Lana Del Rey deserved to win at least one of her two nominations for her album and song both titled “Norman Fucking Rockwell.”
The argument people have for “Thank U, Next” or “Norman F***ing Rockwell” is not a knock against Billie. Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey have been in mainstream pop for over 5 years each and have been building up their discography. Developing a sound that fans really enjoy can take several years of hard work which is why many people are sympathizing with Grande and Del Rey on being snubbed. Their experience as recording artists showed in these records with the dynamic ability to use their signature sounds with a fresh approach.
When it comes to the voting process for the Grammy Awards, I have the unpopular opinion that they actually vote on who they think should win. The Recording Academy simply thought Eilish’s album was the best this year and I can’t argue that when looking at its uniqueness and creativity mixed with Eilish’s exceptional voice. “Bad Guy” became an iconic song of 2019 because of her stand-out attitude and the song’s trippy, yet catchy beat.
Some of the other winners weren’t necessarily surprises but still well-deserving. Lizzo won three of her eight nominations (Urban Contemporary Album, Pop Solo Performance, and Traditional R&B Performance) while Lil Nas X brought home two of his six nominations (Pop Duo/Group Performance and Music Video). Anderson Paak was awarded Best R&B Album for his highly regarded album “Ventura” and Best R&B Song for “Come Home.”
Although he was publicly disappointed about not being nominated for Album of the Year, Tyler, the Creator did win Best Rap Album for his breakout project, “Igor.” He believes it is much more than a rap album and should have been considered for other genres. Tyler, the Creator has always experimented with genre blending but “Igor” takes that concept to a whole new level with elements of rap, soul, funk and R&B.
After the show he was asked about his victory and described himself as “half and half on it.” He went on to state how “when guys that look like me do anything that’s genre blending, they put it in a rap or urban category.”
Tyler went on to ask the question “why can’t we just be in pop?” and said that he took the rap nomination as a “backhanded compliment.”
In a world where everyone can voice their opinion online (and everyone definitely has an opinion alright!) the voters will never get it “right.” By this I mean that no matter who wins, every year there will be people saying they’re done with the Grammy Awards because they believed their favorite artist got snubbed. Sometimes it can be hard to decide which internet backlash is warranted because of a legitimate snub, and which are biased statements from fans.
Does the Recording Academy seem to favor certain styles of artists? It’s definitely possible but not proven. Although this year’s Grammy Awards heavily favored Billie Eilish, many other stars got their spotlight and took home some hardware.
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