Batiste wins album honor, Zelenskiy appeals to Grammys

LAS VEGAS, April 3 (Reuters) – Multi-genre artist Jon Batiste won album of the year and R&B duo Silk Sonic picked up two top honors on Sunday at a Grammy awards ceremony which featured a surprise plea for support from wartime President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine.

Batiste, who fronts the band on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” picked up five awards in total, including the biggest prize of the night for “We Are,” a jazz album inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I believe this deeply – there is no better musician, better artist, better dancer, better actor. The creative arts are subjective,” Batiste said. “I just put my head down and work on the craft every day.”

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Batiste’s other wins included best music video for “Freedom,” a colorful tribute to New Orleans, and an award for songwriting and arrangement for the Pixar animated film “Soul.”

Silk Sonic, featuring Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, won Song and Record of the Year awards for their 1970s-inspired hit “Leave the Door Open.” The couple rose from their seats and danced slowly before heading to the stage.

“We’re really trying our best to stay humble at this point,” joked Paak as the duo accepted the second honour.

Olivia Rodrigo, the 19-year-old singer of the heartbreaking ballad “Driver’s License” on her album “Sour”, picked up three awards, including Best New Artist.

“This is my biggest dream come true. Thank you so much!” Rodrigo said holding his trophy.

Midway through the ceremony, host Trevor Noah presented a video message from Zelenskiy, who contrasted the joy found through music with the devastation wrought by Russia’s invasion of his country more than a year ago. month.

“What’s more opposed to music? The silence of ruined cities and slain people,” said Zelenskiy, wearing a green t-shirt, in a hoarse voice.

“Fill the silence with your music,” he added. “Support us in any way you can. Any way, but not silence.” L2N2W10HZ

The remarks preceded a performance by John Legend featuring two Ukrainian musicians and a Ukrainian poet.

Music’s highest honors 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. Stars walked a red carpet and thousands of spectators filled the venue, a contrast to last year’s scaled-down outdoor event.

Noah urged the public to think of the evening as “a concert where we hand out awards”.

“We’re going to keep people’s names out of our mouths,” added Noah, a jab at actor Will Smith, who a week ago slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars and told him not to mention the name of his wife.

Korean pop group BTS, a global phenomenon that has never won a Grammy, came away empty-handed. But the band delivered a high-octane performance of their hit “Butter,” dodging laser beams in what looked like a scene from a heist movie.

Rock band Foo Fighters, whose drummer Taylor Hawkins died just over a week ago, picked up three awards, including best rock album for ‘Medicine at Midnight’. No one in the group seemed to accept the trophies.

The winners were chosen by some 11,000 voting members of the Recording Academy.

In the comedy categories, comedian Louis CK won Best Album for “Sincerely Louis CK,” his first comedy special since admitting sexual misconduct in 2017.

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Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Las Vegas; Additional reporting by Maria Caspani in New York; Editing by Diane Craft, Stephen Coates and Bradley Perrett

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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