Batiste wins album honor, Zelenskiy makes appeal at Grammys

By Reuters   April 3, 2022 | 08:29 pm PT
Batiste wins album honor, Zelenskiy makes appeal at Grammys
Jon Batiste accepts the Grammy award for Album of the Year for "We Are" during the 64th Annual Grammy Awards show in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. April 3, 2022. Photo by Reuters
Multi-genre artist Jon Batiste won album of the year and R&B duo Silk Sonic took two of the top honors at a Grammy awards ceremony that featured a surprise appeal for support from wartime President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine.

Batiste landed the night's biggest prize for "We Are," an album inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

"I believe this to my core - there is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor," Batiste said. "The creative arts are subjective ... I just put my head down and I work on the craft every day."

Silk Sonic, featuring Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak, claimed the song and record of the year awards for their 1970s inspired hit "Leave the Door Open."

"We are really trying our hardest to remain humble at this point," joked Paak as the pair accepted the second honor.

Olivia Rodrigo, the 19-year-old singer of heartbreak ballad "drivers license," was crowned best new artist.

"This is my biggest dream come true. Thank you so much!" Rodrigo said as she held her trophy.

Midway through the ceremony, host Trevor Noah introduced a video message from Zelenskiy, who contrasted the joy found through music to the devastation caused by Russia's attack of his country more than a month ago.

"What is more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people," Zelenskiy, wearing a green t-shirt, said in a hoarse voice.

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

The remarks preceded a John Legend performance that featured two Ukrainian musicians and a Ukrainian poet.

The highest honors in music 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. Thousands of spectators packed the venue, a contrast to last year's scaled-down outdoor event.

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

Noah urged the audience to think of the evening as "a concert where we are handing out awards."

"We are going to be keeping people's names out of our mouths," Noah added, a jab about last Sunday's Oscars slap by actor Will Smith, who told comedian Chris Rock not to mention his wife's name.

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

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