There was little cheer for India at the 58th Grammy awards in Los Angeles, in a night dominated by American pop star Taylor Swift and rapper Kendrick Lamar.
While Indo-British director Asif Kapadia registered a win in Best Music Film section for his documentary Amy, it was yet another disappointing year for sitarist Anoushka Shankar. She lost out to Benin-born singer/songwriter Angelique Kidjo who won the award for the album, Sings. Anoushka was nominated in the Best World Music Album category for her solo album Home, a pure Indian classical album.
Anoushka appeared in great spirits though as she took to the stage to present an award in a blue Manish Arora dress. “And I didn’t even say anyone’s names wrong! Such an honour to be part of this. Me and my bestie enjoying our third #grammys together,” she tweeted with pictures from the stage and ceremony.
Kapadia’s Grammy win comes close on the heels of his triumph at the Bafta awards recently. The 44-year-old director’s documentary on late singer Amy Winehouse is also nominated at the Oscars.
Taylor Swift won the Grammy for Album of the Year for her blockbuster 1989. Taking the stage, Swift highlighted her role as the first woman to win the top Grammy twice and warned women against those “who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.”
She also won two early awards -- Best Pop Vocal Album for 1989 and Best Music Video for her song Bad Blood, an award that also went to rapper Kendrick Lamar, who appeared in the action-themed clip. Swift got the show off to a rousing start with an energetic opening performance earlier.
Uptown Funk, the retro party anthem by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars that is among the most successful singles ever on the charts, won the Grammy for the Record of the Year. Uptown Funk beat out other chart-topping tracks including Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud and Taylor Swift’s Blank Space to win the award, one of the most prestigious Grammys which recognizes songs including their performers.
Bringing up the winners was pop singer Meghan Trainor, whose tongue-in-cheek play on weight issues All About That Bass became an Internet sensation, on Monday won the prestigious Grammy for Best New Artist.
The 22-year-old Trainor broke down in tears as she accepted the award, the culmination of years of growing recognition for her musical ability.
Earlier, British singer Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud won the first major Grammy at the music awards on Monday, locking rapper Kendrick Lamar out of a potentially historic win.
Sheeran’s win meant Compton, California rapper Lamar would not make history for the first rap single to win song of the year. However Lamar, who went into the awards with 11 nominations, won five early in the evening, including best rap album Grammy for his critically acclaimed To Pimp A Butterfly.
Lamar, whose song Alright has become an unofficial anthem for protesters against police abuse, notably earned the prize for Best Rap Album for his experimental opus, To Pimp a Butterfly. “This is for hip-hop,” Lamar said as he accepted the prize on the music industry’s biggest night from gangsta rap legend Ice Cube. “We will live forever -- believe that.”
Chris Stapleton’s Traveller has won the Grammy Award for best country album. Stapleton also won the Grammy for best country solo performance for the album’s title track. In addition to family and colleagues, Stapleton thanked Taylor Swift for “glitter bombing” him during her opening performance.
Lamar also showed why he led the field in Grammys nominations on Monday with an intense, politically-charged performance that took him from a prison, in shackles, to a huge on-stage bonfire.
The 28-year-old started out in chains and a prison uniform, with strobes flashing on the jailhouse set, as he treated the audience to a jazz-rock version of “The Blacker The Berry.”
He and his back-up dancers then slipped their chains and donned glow-in-the-dark outfits for “Alright,” the unofficial anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement against police abuse, with a giant bonfire on stage.
Near the end of the performance, a picture of a map of Africa appeared behind Lamar, with “Compton,” the rough Los Angeles suburb where he grew up, written on it.
Meanwhile, Lady Gaga says paying tribute to the late David Bowie at the Grammys is probably the most challenging thing she’s done in career because the icon influenced her greatly and helped shape her identity.
Gaga performed an extended tribute to Bowie at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday, channeling the legend as Ziggy Stardust as she ran through his hits, including “Space Oddity,” ‘’Let’s Dance,” ‘’Changes” and “Heroes.”
Justin Bieber started “Love Yourself” on guitar in good form, but ended with a vocal struggle. Little Big Town and Demi Lovato, however, had shining moments during their performances, hitting impressive and smooth high notes.
The night also featured touching tributes: The Eagles’ Glenn Frey and Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire were honoured by their longtime friends, while Rihanna pulled out of the awards show.
Swift, who won two awards in the pre-telecast, wore a glittery one-piece with a long slit on each side of her body as she sang her pop smash. After welcoming the audience at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to the Grammys, Swift said, “But it’s right now it’s 1989. Put your hands up.” She then walked from the main stage to a smaller one to finish the song. Swift’s wins included best music video for Bad Blood with Lamar and best pop vocal album for 1989.
Alabama Shakes and the Weeknd, who won two awards each in the pre-telecast, are nominated against Swift and Lamar for album of the year, along with Chris Stapleton, who won best country solo performance for Traveller. The pre-telecast gave first Grammys wins to Alabama Shakes, Stapleton and Weeknd. It also marked a first for Justin Bieber: He won best dance recording for “Where Are U Now,” collaboration with Skrillex and Diplo.