Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Nipsey Hussle, J. Cole win 1st Grammys
Los Angeles – A mix of newcomers and well-known acts reached their goals of winning their first-ever Grammy Awards on Sunday, including Tanya Tucker, J. Cole, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus and late rapper Nipsey Hussle.
Michelle Obama, Sara Bareilles, Rosalia and 21 Savage also became official Grammy winners when the show handed out trophies during its pre-telecast ceremony in Los Angeles.
Gary Clark Jr. and Eilish’s brother, Finneas, walked away as the most awarded stars, so far, taking home three awards each.
Finneas – who co-wrote, produced and engineered his sister’s debut album, “When We All Fall sleep, Where Do We Go?” – won best engineered album (non-classical), best pop vocal album (shared with his sister) and non-classical producer of the year.
“My heart is beating so fast right now,” Finneas said. “This award belongs to my sister Billie for her trust and vision.”
A number of acts won two awards in the pre-telecast, including Detroit-born Lizzo, Lil Nas X and Cyrus, Anderson .Paak, Lady Gaga, Tucker, Kirk Franklin and Jacob Collier. And Beyoncé, the most nominated woman in the history of the Grammys, won her 24th award.
Nipsey Hussle, who will be honored during the live telecast which begins at 8 p.m. Eastern, has posthumously won best rap performance for “Racks in the Middle,” which features Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy.
Hussle’s family, including his brother, grandmother and actress-fiancée Lauren London, accepted the honor during the pre-telecast.
“Nip did it, not just for the awards, but for the people,” London said onstage.
Hussle was nominated for two other awards: He lost best rap song to J. Cole and 21 Savage. The third award will be presented during the live show, where Hussle will be honored with a tribute performance from DJ Khaled, John Legend, Meek Mill and others.
The pre-telecast ceremony, where most of the awards are handed out, opened with a brief remembrance of NBA star Kobe Bryant, who was killed earlier in the day in a helicopter crash in California.
Referring to the arena where Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Interim Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said, “Since we are in his house, I would ask you to join me in a moment of silence.”
New stars like Lizzo, Eilish and Lil Nas X – the most-nominated acts Sunday – won their first Grammys of their careers and have chance to win more, though a cloud loomed over this year’s awards.
Ten days before arguably the biggest night in music, the industry erupted when the Recording Academy announced it had put its recently hired CEO, Deborah Dugan, on administrative leave for misconduct. Dugan and her lawyers fired back at the academy, claiming that the awards show is rigged.
Tarriona “Tank” Ball of the New Orleans soul-funk band Tank and the Bangas, nominated for best new artist, said she’s not letting the drama ruin the achievement for her band.
“I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at, and I don’t want anything taking away from all the nominees,” Ball said. “This is our moment. This is our time.”
Alicia Keys is hosting the Grammys, which air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles starting at 8 p.m. Eastern. The show will be jam-packed with performances, including Ariana Grande, BTS, Camila Cabello, Demi Lovato, Jonas Brothers, Rosalia, Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Tyler, the Creator, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton, John Legend and Cyndi Lauper.
The show will also include special tributes to Prince and longtime Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich, who is wrapping up his career with the show Sunday.
Lizzo, who walked into the show the most nominated with eight, will also perform.
Her major-label debut, “Cuz I Love You,” is nominated for album of the year along with projects from Grande, Lana Del Rey, Vampire Weekend, H.E.R., Bon Iver, Eilish and Lil Nas X.
Lizzo’s No. 1 hit, “Truth Hurts,” is also up for song and record of the year. Eilish, who will perform, also scored song and record of the year nods for her No. 1 hit, “Bad Guy.”
Other record of the year nominees include Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” Grande’s “7 Rings,” Post Malone and Swae Lee’s “Sunflower,” H.E.R.’s “Hard Place,” Bon Iver’s “Hey, Ma” and Khalid’s “Talk.”
Taylor Swift was shut out of album and record of the year, but she did score a nod for song of the year – a songwriter’s award. Her tune “Lover” is nominated against “Truth Hurts,” “Bad Guy,” “Hard Place,” Gaga’s “Always Remember Us This Way” from “A Star Is Born,” Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved,” Lana Del Rey’s “Norman (Expletive) Rockwell” and Tucker’s “Bring My Flowers Now,” which was co-written by Brandi Carlile.
The Grammys will hand out roughly 10 awards during the live show. Presenters this year include Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Billy Porter, Trevor Noah, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Cynthia Erivo, Ava DuVernay, Shania Twain and Common.
AP Entertainment Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody contributed to this report.
Early list of Grammy Award winners
A list of winners so far in top categories at the 61th annual Grammy Awards.
Best pop vocal album: “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” Billie Eilish
Best pop duo/group performance: “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
Best traditional pop vocal album: “Look Now,” Elvis Costello & The Imposters
Best R&B album: “Ventura,” Anderson .Paak
Best urban contemporary album: “Cuz I Love You,” Lizzo
Best R&B song: “Say So,” PJ Morton featuring JoJo
Best traditional R&B performance: “Jerome,” Lizzo
Best R&B performance: “Come Home,” Anderson .Paak featuring Andre 3000
Best rock song: “This Land,” Gary Clark, Jr.
Best rock performance: “This Land,” Gary Clark, Jr.
Best contemporary blues album: “This Land,” Gary Clark, Jr.
Best rock album: “Social Cues,” Cage the Elephant
Best spoken word album: “Becoming,” Michelle Obama
Best American roots performance: “Saint Honesty,” Sara Bareilles
Best alternative music album: “Father of the Bride,” Vampire Weekend
Producer of the year, non-classical: Finneas
Best music film: “Homecoming,” Beyonce
Best country album: “While I'm Livin',” Tanya Tucker
Best country song: “Bring My Flowers Now,” Tanya Tucker
Best country solo performance: “Ride Me Back Home,” Willie Nelson
Best rap song: “A Lot,” 21 Savage featuring J. Cole
Best rap performance: “Racks in the Middle,” Nipsey Hussle, featuring Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy
Best musical theater album: “Hadestown”
Best metal performance: “7empest,” Tool
Best world music album: “Celia," Angelique Kidjo
Best roots gospel album: “Testimony,” Gloria Gaynor
Best music video: “Old Town Road (Official Movie)," Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
Best dance/electronic album: “No Geography,” Chemical Brothers
Best dance recording: “Got to Keep On,” Chemical Brothers
Best score soundtrack for visual media: Hildur Guðnadóttir, “Chernobyl”
Best contemporary instrumental album: “Mettavolution,” Rodrigo y Gabriela
Best reggae album: “Rapture,” Koffee
Best folk album: “Patty Griffin,” Patty Griffin
Best recording package: “Chris Cornell,” Chris Cornell
Best compilation soundtrack for visual media: “A Star Is Born”
Best song written for visual media: “I'll Never Love Again,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
Best jazz vocal album: “12 Little Spells,” Esperanza Spalding
Best engineered album, non-classical: “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” Billie Eilish
Best gospel performance/song: “Love Theory,” Kirk Franklin
Best gospel album: “Long Live Love,” Kirk Franklin
Best Latin pop album: “#Eldisco,” Alejandro Sanz
Best opera recording: “Picker: Fantastic Mr. Fox”