Jon Batiste, the New Orleans jazz musician and bandleader of ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,’ picked up four Grammy Awards at the non-televised pre-show ceremony this afternoon in Las Vegas, leading the field before the main event.
Most nominated artist overall, with 11 chances to win, Batiste also lost in four categories, but is up for three more during the show, including Record of the Year (“Freedom”), Best R&B Album and Album of the Year for “We Are.”
“I’m so grateful for the gifts God has given me and the ability to share them for the love of humanity,” Batiste said as he accepted the award for best music video, for “Freedom,” alongside the director Alan Ferguson.
Olivia Rodrigo, the 19-year-old pop star whose song “Drivers License” was a blockbuster last year, won best pop vocal performance, her first career Grammy. She is up for all four major main show awards – album, record and song of the year, as well as best new artist – and could become just the third act to pull off such a sweep.
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s ‘Love for Sale’ album, a collection of Cole Porter songs, won Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, a category Bennett, 95, has now won 14 times. “Love for Sale” also won Best Engineered Non-Classical Album, with the award going in part to Dave Bennett, one of the singer’s sons. “Love for Sale” will also be up for Album of the Year, and its title track for Record of the Year.
In the rap categories, Kanye West, who was banned from performing on the show, won twice: for Best Melodic Rap Performance (“Hurricane,” featuring Lil Baby and the Weeknd, who announced a Grammys boycott last year) and Best Rap Song (“Jail,” featuring Jay-Z). For the second time in three years, Tyler, the creator won the award for best rap album, for “Call Me if You Get Lost”.
Speeches by early winners and presenters highlighted personal triumphs, social ills and the power of music to serve as a balm in troubled times.
Accepting the award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, Brothers Osborne’s TJ Osborne discussed their song “Younger Me,” which he says was written about coming out as gay – a risk given Nashville’s largely conservative music business.
“I never thought I’d be able to do this professionally because of my sexuality,” he said, “and I certainly never thought I’d be here on this stage accepting a Grammy after to have done something that I felt was going to be life changing, potentially in very negative ways.
Joni Mitchell, the iconic singer-songwriter, who was to appear as a presenter during the show, won Best Historical Album, for her ‘Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967) sharing the award with fellow compilation producer Patrick Mulligan.
Foo Fighters, whose longtime drummer Taylor Hawkins died on March 25, won all three awards they were nominated for: rock performance (“Making a Fire”), rock song (“Waiting on a War”) and album rock (“Medicine at Midnight”). Voting for Recording Academy members ended in January, before Hawkins died.
Outlaw country star Chris Stapleton picked up two awards, as did jazz keyboardist Chick Corea, who died last year. Comedian Louis CK, who faced charges of sexual misconduct, won Best Comedy Album (“Sincerely Louis CK”).
In a nod to the controversy that marred the Oscars last week, when actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage, comedian Nate Bargatze stepped out to present awards in the classic categories wearing a chunky helmet .
“It’s what comedians at awards shows have to wear now,” Bargatze said.