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The 2022 GRAMMYs Was A Momentous Return To An In-Person Ceremony. But It Didn't Forget The Lessons Of Last Year.
Jon Batiste

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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The 2022 GRAMMYs Was A Momentous Return To An In-Person Ceremony. But It Didn't Forget The Lessons Of Last Year.

The 2022 GRAMMYs marked a glorious return to the physical realm, reminding us all of the magic of humans playing instruments and singing for other humans. And the sea change that was last year's GRAMMYs led directly to what we saw on April 3.

GRAMMYs/Apr 4, 2022 - 10:12 pm

The year was 2021, vaccines were just rolling in and the GRAMMYs looked a lot different that time around — especially as winners' reactions went. Sure, it was quirky fun to watch GRAMMY recipients' computer cameras flicker to life during the remote Premiere Ceremony — and to see a grainy image of the Strokes celebratorily spraying beers in a basement while they played pool.

But let's be real: it wasn't the same, was it? That divide was especially apparent in 2022, as first-time GRAMMY winners — like family-music artist Falu, the gamer-friendly 8-Bit Big Band and Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab — telegraphed a thousand emotions at once as they approached the stage. That's what the GRAMMYs are all about — celebrating musicians and feeling that love radiated back to the world.

As award shows go, that only really works when there's a traditional live audience for the sake of mass energy feedback — not a distanced, separated one. While the 2021 GRAMMYs were celebrated as a back-to-basics, no-nonsense celebration of music, the lack of a crowd left an obvious void — even as that year's nominees, like Bad Bunny, Dua Lipa and Harry Styles, grooved along to each others' performances.

And audiences aside, as much of a boon Zoom has been for instant face-to-face communication (can you imagine what COVID would have been like in the '90s?), with relatively low image quality comes a loss of subtle rapport. At the 2022 GRAMMYs' Premiere Ceremony, you could see exactly what the winners were feeling. And at the subsequent show, viewers were treated to a sea of smiling faces, just happy to be around each other and celebrating music.

Music is one of the ultimate expressions of humanity. And at the live and in-person 2022 GRAMMYs, a heck of a lot of humanity was restored.

First, let's talk about Trevor Noah, who in his first year hosting the audience-free GRAMMYs faced a challenge by having a lack of a room to read. (Remember, early on in the pandemic, during the "from home" talk shows, how the Jimmys and their ilk would reflexively pause after jokes for laughter that never came?) Like a tree falling in the forest with nobody around, how does a comedian know if their laughs are landing?

That wasn't a problem at the 2022 GRAMMYs. Whether Noah was playfully ignoring Silk Sonic's Bruno Mars in an Encanto nod or taking FINNEAS to task for his apparent lack of a surname, his jokes landed throughout the vaxxed audience at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena. (If you must know, even in the so-called "war room" near the ceremony, the "Daily Show" host had GRAMMY.com's staff in stitches.)

This year's musical performances (which the 2022 GRAMMYs' producers wisely opted to keep front and center) spoke themselves.Among the night's many performers, Olivia Rodrigo crooned the heart-aching "drivers license" in an onstage Mercedes, while Silk Sonic got the crowd dancing in their seats, and Billie Eilish and FINNEAS electrified the arena in a hail of thunder.

(Oh, and if you're curious about how those three artists fared, Rodrigo won GRAMMYs for Best New Artist, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album; Silk Sonic won all four GRAMMYs they were nominated for; Eilish was nominated for seven GRAMMYs but did not win. Jon Batiste, the most-nominated artist at 11, won Album Of The Year for We Are. Head here for the full list of winners.)

By keeping the 2022 GRAMMYs as music-first as the last one, yet adapting that approach to an in-person experience, the ceremony was able to embrace the best of interior expression while thrilling a crowd of music lovers.

As Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield, who called the 2021 ceremony "the best GRAMMYs ever, by an absurd margin," put it about the 2022 GRAMMYs: "We need to accept reality. We now live in a world where the GRAMMYs are awesome." Of course, critics are entitled to their opinions about the relative merits of each ceremony.

But for this performance-heavy show, it'd be nigh-impossible to say the GRAMMYs didn't put music first. While nobody can tell the future, thank goodness a live audience could enjoy the 2022 GRAMMYs and celebrate the gift of live music the way it's meant to be experienced: together.

2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Winners & Nominations List

GRAMMY Jazz Band Plays Duke Ellington, Count Basie & More | 2018 GRAMMY Week

Baritone saxophonist Veronica Leahy

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

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GRAMMY Jazz Band Plays Duke Ellington, Count Basie & More | 2018 GRAMMY Week

The GRAMMY In The Schools Live! program showcased the formidable chops of this year's GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session band and celebrated music education in the Big Apple

GRAMMYs/Jan 26, 2018 - 11:46 am

After spending the first few days of GRAMMY Week getting acquainted, rehearsing and plotting their schedule, the members of GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session finally got to let the music do the talking at the GRAMMY In The Schools Live! concert in New York City on Jan. 25.

Taking place at The New School's John L. Tishman Auditorium, the GRAMMY Museum event proved to not only showcase this year's class of Jazz Session students and the many alumni of the program who were in attendance, but it also spotlighted the year-round initiatives of the Museum, which include a range of programs for youth musicians and music education.

The event also acknowledged the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum's 2018 Music Educator Award recipient Melissa Salguero, a music teacher at P.S. 48 in the South Bronx.

"This is one of the most epic moments of my life. My dream was to teach in a city that loved and cherished music," said Salguero. "To be honored in New York City as a New York teacher, this has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life."

But on this January evening, the spotlight shone brightly on the 18 young musicians in the Jazz Session band — comprising five saxophones, five trumpets, four trombones, bass, drums, guitar, and piano.

With direction from conductor Justin DiCioccio, the band performed a taught set list showcasing, in DiCioccio's words, the "different styles and moods of jazz." Out of the gate, the band swung through Neal Hefti's "Whirly Bird" with a brisk fervor, highlighted by the sax chairs trading solos.

They segued into "Cabeza De Carne," a Latin clave-based tune that put some pep in the audience's collective step, and Benny Golson's "Along Came Betty," which seemed to bottle the sounds one might hear at 2 a.m. at a late-night NYC jazz club.

"We've had one rehearsal, by the way," quipped DiCioccio in between songs.

Following a take on Randy Brecker's "Sponge," which featured cool riffing and angular walking bass lines courtesy of guitarist Jordan Reifkind and bassist Augustus "Gus" Allen, respectively, the Jazz Session members kicked into high gear.

The ensemble performed a spirited take of Buddy Rich's "West Side Story Suite." The multi-layered composition was chosen in honor of the centennials of composer Leonard Bernstein and famed drummer Rich. Appropriately, the sprawling tune was sparked by brassy punctuations and impressive stick work by drummer Varun Das.

Next, the musicians' showcased depth and range that belied their experience on "Red Hair, No Freckles," a complex piece composed by GRAMMY Museum Executive Education Director David Sears, who offered, "If we play it right, your body should move." Judging by the audience reaction, they indeed got it right. The collective navigated the multiple odd time signatures in the piece with aplomb while interpreting the tune's R&B, funk and progressive pop flavors that ably mixed elements of Earth, Wind & Fire, James Brown and Chicago.

For a special encore, the Jazz Session band was joined by one of their own, alumni Jon Batiste. The gregarious pianist/bandleader for "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" — who came straight from a show taping to play with the students — sat in for a performance of Duke Ellington's "Kiki" and Count Basie's "Splanky."

In the presence of the senior musician, the band upped their game and matched Batiste's fire, measure by measure. For his part, the smiling Batiste dazzled the ivories, with his playing light as a feather and forceful at the appropriate moments and improvised solos that were ripe with articulate calls and responses, motifs and linear flourishes. Jazz Session pianist Esteban Castro, who stepped aside for the final two songs, smiled for the duration as he witnessed the masterclass.

As for the Jazz Session members, the experience and education they amass during their GRAMMY Week crash course will certainly bode well for their future careers. And the time they are spending together in the Big Apple constitutes a form of networking, which one alumnus described as an integral part of the GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session experience.

"[I advise them to] keep in touch with each other," said David Grossman, a pianist/bassist who was a Jazz Session band member in the mid-'90s. "They might know this but their fellow bandmates, hopefully, they'll know [each other] for a long, long time."

"These are some of the finest young jazz players in the country and we are giving them a very unique lens of what it means to work in music," said Scott Goldman, Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum. "The kind of challenges that they will face as a working musician, the kind of discipline that is required by a working musician — this is an experience that I don't think you are going to get in any conservatory setting."


Catching Up On The GRAMMY Awards Just Got Easier. Have A Google Home Device? Just Say "Talk To GRAMMYs"

Dave Grohl Calls Early Foo's Recordings "Total F****** Chaos"

Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins

Photo: Newspix/Getty Images

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Dave Grohl Calls Early Foo's Recordings "Total F****** Chaos"

The rocker reveals lesser-known details about his early records and reflects on fallen friends

GRAMMYs/Sep 29, 2017 - 11:36 pm

Dave Grohl founded the GRAMMY-winning rock band Foo Fighters just a year after Kurt Cobain passed away and Nirvana subsequently disbanded. Given the Foo's current place as one of the biggest rock bands in the entire world, it can be hard to imagine they had humble beginnings, and likewise it's easy to forget that Grohl had to essentially start over from scratch following Nirvana's breakup.

In a recent interview with Hot Press, Grohl reflected on losing his bandmate Cobain, then experiencing similar loss with close friend Chris Cornell much later in life. "I just want everyone to survive," he says. "You cross your fingers and say your prayers and hope everyone makes it home safe at night."

Of starting anew with the Foo Fighters in 1995, he refers to the decision as a type of therapy. "[Our] hearts were broken when Kurt died. … I felt I had to do it — to exorcise something in my soul," Grohl says. "We still feel like that every time we make a record — every time we step on stage."

Grohl also admits that he was more than surprised when the Foo's second album, The Colour And The Shape, broke through and launched him and his band back into the spotlight, especially in light of the working conditions under which the record was made.

"I remember making that record while not having a place to live. I was sleeping in my friend’s back room in a sleeping bag. His dog would come in and p*** on the sleeping bag every f****** night," Grohl says wryly. "It was total f****** chaos. The fact we survived that means we could survive anything."

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Vicente Fernández Posthumously Wins GRAMMY For Best Regional Mexican Music Album | 2022 GRAMMYs

Vicente Fernandez performs at the 2002 Latin GRAMMY Awards

Photo: M. Caulfield/WireImage

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Vicente Fernández Posthumously Wins GRAMMY For Best Regional Mexican Music Album | 2022 GRAMMYs

The late Mexican legend, who died in December at 81, won the GRAMMY for Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano) for his 2020 album, 'A Mis 80's'

GRAMMYs/Apr 3, 2022 - 10:44 pm

Nearly four months after his death, Vicente Fernández
's legacy lives on.

The Mexican icon’s album, A Mis 80's, won Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano). The posthumous win marks Fernández
's 
fourth career GRAMMY.

Aida Cuevas' Antología De La Musica Ranchera, Vol. 2,

 Mon Laferte's Seis,
 Natalia Lafourcade's
 Un Canto Por México, Vol. II and
 Christian Nodal's *Ayayay! (Súper Deluxe)*
 were the other albums nominated in the category.

Fernández passed away in December at the age of 81. Throughout his prolific career, Fernández — known as the King of Ranchero Music — also won nine Latin GRAMMYs.

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

The Recording Academy Announces Major Changes For The 2022 GRAMMY Awards Show

GRAMMY trophies at the 59th GRAMMY Awards in 2017

Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

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The Recording Academy Announces Major Changes For The 2022 GRAMMY Awards Show

Process amendments include the elimination of nominations review committees and the addition of two new GRAMMY Award categories, including Best Global Music Performance and Best Música Urbana Album

GRAMMYs/May 1, 2021 - 01:27 am

Editor's Note: The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show, officially known as the 64th GRAMMY Awards, has been rescheduled to Sunday, April 3, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The below article was updated on Tuesday, Jan. 18, to reflect the new show date and location.

The Recording Academy announced today that it has made significant changes to its Awards process that reflect its ongoing commitment to evolve with the musical landscape and to ensure that the GRAMMY Awards rules and guidelines are transparent and equitable. Among the changes are the elimination of Nominations Review Committees, a reduction in the number of categories in which voters may vote, two GRAMMY Award category additions, and more. These updates are a result of extensive discussions and collaboration over the course of the last year among a special subcommittee of Recording Academy members and elected leaders, and were voted on by the Academy's Board of Trustees. These changes go into effect immediately for the 2022 GRAMMY Awards show, officially known as the 64th GRAMMY Awards, taking place Sunday, April 3. The eligibility period for the 64th GRAMMY Awards is Sept. 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2021.

Additional rule amendment proposals will be discussed and voted on at an upcoming Recording Academy meeting and the full rulebook for the 64th GRAMMY Awards will be released in May.

"It's been a year of unprecedented, transformational change for the Recording Academy, and I'm immensely proud to be able to continue our journey of growth with these latest updates to our Awards process," Harvey Mason jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, said. "This is a new Academy, one that is driven to action and that has doubled down on the commitment to meeting the needs of the music community. While change and progress are key drivers of our actions, one thing will always remain — the GRAMMY Award is the only peer-driven and peer-voted recognition in music. We are honored to work alongside the music community year-round to further refine and protect the integrity of the Awards process."

APPROVED RULE AMENDMENTS INCLUDE:

Voting Process Changes

  • Elimination Of Nominations Review Committees In General And Genre Fields

    • Nominations in all of the GRAMMY Award general and genre fields will now be determined by a majority, peer-to-peer vote of voting members of the Recording Academy. Previously, many of the categories within these fields utilized 15-30 highly skilled music peers who represented and voted within their genre communities for the final selection of nominees. With this change, the results of GRAMMY nominations and winners are placed back in the hands of the entire voting membership body, giving further validation to the peer-recognized process. To further support this amendment, the Academy has confirmed that more than 90 percent of its members will have gone through the requalification process by the end of this year, ensuring that the voting body is actively engaged in music creation. Craft committees remain in place (see below for craft category realignment.)
  • Reduction In Number Of Categories Voter May Vote

    • To ensure music creators are voting in the categories in which they are most knowledgeable and qualified, the number of specific genre field categories in which GRAMMY Award Voters may vote has been reduced from 15 to 10. Additionally, those 10 categories must be within no more than three fields. All voters are permitted to vote in the four General Field categories (Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist). Proposed by a special voting Task Force who brought forth the recommendation, this change serves as an additional safeguard against bloc voting and helps to uphold the GRAMMY Award as a celebration of excellence in music, with specific genre field categories being voted on by the most qualified peers.
  • Craft Category Realignment

    • To better reflect the overlapping peer groups within the voter membership body, six existing craft fields will be consolidated into two fields: Presentation Field and Production Field. In either newly consolidated field, voters would have the ability to choose how many categories they feel qualified to vote in, respecting category vote limits, without being excessively limited by the three-field restriction. This benefits the integrity of these Awards by embracing and utilizing the specializations of the voters, without restricting their choice or contributions due to the field limits imposed by the recent reduction of the number of categories voters may vote in. Field updates are as follows:

      • Package Field, Notes Field and Historical Field renamed and consolidated to Presentation Field

      • Production, Non-Classical Field; Production, Immersive Audio Field; and Production, Classical Field renamed and consolidated to Production Field

New Categories Added

Two new categories have been added, bringing the total number of GRAMMY Award categories to 86:

  • Best Global Music Performance (Global Music Field)

  • Best Música Urbana Album (Latin Music Field)

"The latest changes to the GRAMMY Awards process are prime examples of the Recording Academy's commitment to authentically represent all music creators and ensure our practices are in lock-step with the ever-changing musical environment," said Ruby Marchand, Chief Industry Officer at the Recording Academy. "As we continue to build a more active and vibrant membership community, we are confident in the expertise of our voting members to recognize excellence in music each year."

"As an Academy, we have reaffirmed our commitment to continue to meet the needs of music creators everywhere, and this year's changes are a timely and positive step forward in the evolution of our voting process," said Bill Freimuth, Chief Awards Officer at the Recording Academy. "We rely on the music community to help us to continue to evolve, and we’re grateful for their collaboration and leadership." 

The Recording Academy accepts proposals from members of the music community throughout the year. The Awards & Nominations Committee, comprised of Academy Voting Members of diverse genres and backgrounds, meets annually to review proposals to update Award categories, procedures and eligibility guidelines. The above rule amendments were voted on and passed at a Recording Academy Board of Trustees meeting held on April 30, 2021. For information on the Awards process, visit our GRAMMY Voting Process FAQ page.

The Recording Academy will present the 2022 GRAMMY Awards show on Sunday, April 3, live from the *MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on demand on Paramount+ from 8–11:30 p.m. ET / 5–8:30 p.m. PT. Prior to the telecast, the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony will be streamed live on GRAMMY.com and the Recording Academy's YouTube channel. Additional details about the dates and locations of other official GRAMMY Week events, including the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, MusiCares' Person of the Year, and the Pre-GRAMMY Gala, are available here.*

2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Nominations List