meta-scriptHow The Return Of The Blues Hall Of Fame & Blues Music Awards In 2022 Captured The Spirit Of The Memphis Blues Community |
Blues Music Awards 2022

Photo: Greg Campbell/Getty Images


How The Return Of The Blues Hall Of Fame & Blues Music Awards In 2022 Captured The Spirit Of The Memphis Blues Community

After a COVID-induced hiatus, the Memphis blues community celebrated its talent and resilience at the 2022 Blues Hall Of Fame induction ceremony and Blues Music Awards.

GRAMMYs/May 13, 2022 - 11:10 pm

Memphis is the cradle of blues music, a city whose history runs as deep as the Mississippi River hugging the city's limits. To celebrate that history, the Memphis-based Blues Foundation hosted six days of events, beginning with the Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the 43rd Blues Music Awards. The award ceremonies preceded the four-night International Blues Challenge talent contest at various clubs on the historic Beale Street.

The celebrations were a sort of comeback for Memphis' blues scene. Though tough for the music industry as a whole, two years of COVID-induced shutdowns seemed particularly hard on the tight-knit blues community, where artists, industry workers and fans often intermingle like long-missed family and friends.  

"I always say the industry has not been that kind to me, but so many of the people have," 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Bettye LaVette, a classic R&B singer known for her emotional-yet-controlled vocals, told

Held May 4 at the historic Orpheum Theater's Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education, the Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony was a particularly large and emotive occasion. Because of COVID shutdowns, no Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held in 2020 and no new inductees were announced in 2021. The 2020 and 2022 classes were combined for this year's event.

Blues Music Awards 2022

"My career has been one of the most ridiculous things you ever heard of," Lavette continued. "They have literally carried me to this fifth career that I'm experiencing now. I call it my fifth career because every one of the other four started with a big bang and then it all turned to s*** and I had to start all over again."

Read: Tito Jackson On His New Blues Album Under Your Spell & His Better-Late-Than-Never Solo Career

The Blues Foundation started the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and has since inducted more than more than 400 artists, industry professionals, recordings, and works of literature. In 2015, the Hall of Fame established a brick-and-mortar presence in the foundation's downtown Memphis headquarters, which recently reopened following a renovation.

In addition to LaVette, 2020 performer inductees included Chicago harmonica player Billy Branch; singer Eddie Boyd; George "Harmonica" Smith; guitarist/singer/songwriter Syl Johnson, who passed away just three month earlier; and blues pioneer Victoria Spivey, whose induction was accepted by GRAMMY nominee Maria Muldaur.

Non-performer inductees in the 2020 class included pioneering roots producer Ralph Peer. French music scholar Sebastian Danchin's 2001 book Earl Hooker, Blues Master was entered as a Classic Of Blues Literature and Howlin' Wolf: The Chess Box as a classic album. Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's original recording of "That's All Right (Mama)"; Bertha "Chippie" Hill's 1926 hit "Trouble in Mind"; "Future Blues" by Delta bluesman Willie Brown; B.B. King's first big hit, "3 O'Clock Blues"; and Ruth Brown's "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean" were included in the Hall as classic singles.

Blues Hall of Famer Taj Mahal receives a star on the Orpheum Theatre-Memphis Sidewalk of Stars in Memphis, Tennessee

Blues Hall of Famer Taj Mahal receives a star on the Orpheum Theatre-Memphis Sidewalk of Stars in Memphis, Tennessee | Photo: Greg Campbell/Getty Images

The 2022 class of inductees included performers Lucille Bogan and Little Willie John, whose induction was accepted by his son Keith John — a longtime backup singer for Stevie Wonder who evoked his father's soaring voice while thrilling the audience with off-the-cuff renditions of some of his father's hits like "Fever." Soul man Johnnie Taylor, another 2022 inductee, was honored in a separate, earlier ceremony to accommodate his family.

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2022 non-performers included songwriter Otis Blackwell and blues historian and DJ Mary Katherine Aldin. Bo Diddley's 1958 self-titled Chess/Checker debut was inducted as an album along with the singles "Good Rocking Tonight" by Roy Brown; "Rollin' and Tumblin'" by the Baby Face Leroy Trio; "Eyesight to the Blind" by Sonny Boy Williamson II; Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Farther Up the Road"; and B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby." English folklorist Bruce Bastin's 1986 work Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast was entered in the literature category.

The following night, veteran California bluesman Tommy Castro was the big winner at the 43rd Annual Blues Music Awards. Castro took home three of the night's biggest honors: B.B. Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year for his Alligator Records release Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town, and, with his backing group, the Painkillers, Band of the Year.

"The one I really wanted to see us get was the Band of the Year [award] because these guys work really hard," Castro told backstage after the show. "Nobody's in this for the money. It's a steady gig, but nobody's making lots of money doing this. They're really doing it out of love; you have to really be behind the music."

Florida singer/guitarist Selwyn Birchwood — who first burst on the scene in 2013 when he won the International Blues Challenge, an unsigned band contest presented by the Blues Foundation — captured the night's other big award: Best Song for "I'd Climb Mountains," off of his 2021 release, Living in a Burning House.

Blues Music Awards 2022

Other big winners on the night included flame-haired Canadian guitarist Sue Foley, who took home awards for Traditional Blues Album and the Koko Taylor Award for Best Traditional Artist-Female. Clarksdale, Mississippi, blues guitarist and singer Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, fresh off a GRAMMY win for Best Contemporary Blues Album at the 2022 GRAMMYs, also received awards for Best Contemporary Blues Album for his record 662 and Best Contemporary Blues Artist-Male. Two-time GRAMMY winner Taj Mahal won Best Traditional Artist-Male.

In addition to Castro, the long night's lineup of performances included Birchwood, a second-line-inspired set from Louisiana favorite Kenny Neal, and a Bobby "Blue" Bland tribute by the late blues great's son, Rodd Bland and his Members Only Band, who took home the Best Emerging Artist Album award for Live on Beale Street.

All photos by Greg Campbell/Getty Images

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Blues Music Awards 2024 and Blues Hall Of Fame Inductee Ceremony Honor the Past, Present, & Future Of The Blues

The Blues Music Awards kicked off several days of events honoring the genre's legacy, which included the Blues Hall of Fame Inductee ceremony and the opening of an innovative new exhibit at the Blues Hall of Fame featuring a hologram of Taj Mahal.

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2024 - 12:40 am

It was a big week for music in Memphis. The 45th annual Blues Music Awards, a top honor in the genre, were handed out on Thursday, May 9, in Memphis, Tenn. in a ceremony sponsored by the Recording Academy. The awards were the capstone to several days of blues-related events, including the annual Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony the day before.  

An audience of approximately 1,000 — including industry professionals, fans, and some of the genre's biggest artists — packed the grand main exhibit hall of the recently renovated Renasant Convention Center for the BMAs banquet, produced by the Memphis-based Blues Foundation. With 25 awards and more than a dozen performances, the awards show, hosted by broadcast veteran Tavis Smiley, often felt more like a homecoming than an industry event.

Read below for four key takeaways from this year's Blues Music Awards and Blue Hall of Fame Ceremony.

Mississippi's Blues Roots Remain Strong

Located right next to Memphis, Mississippi is home to one of the country's four GRAMMY Museums and is widely regarded as one of the birthplaces — if not the birthplace — of the blues. The state has nurtured some of the genre's greatest talents, including Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King. The Magnolia State's deep connection to the blues was evident during the awards, with Mississippi mainstays and GRAMMY winners Bobby Rush and Christone "Kingfish" Ingram among the top winners. 

Despite a 65-year age difference, Rush and Ingram share a deep devotion to the blues. At 90 years old, Rush, an incredibly spry chitlin' circuit road warrior who has re-emerged in recent years as perhaps one the blues' biggest stars, won Best Soul Blues Album for All My Love for You and his second B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award. Ingram, only 25 years old and already a GRAMMY winner for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2022, was the night's top winner, taking home four awards: Album of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album of the Year for Live in London, Contemporary Blues Male Artist, and Instrumentalist-Guitar.

Other multiple award winners included another artist originally from Mississippi, 79-year-old Chicago guitarist John Primer, who won Traditional Blues Male Artist and Traditional Blues Album for Teardrops for Magic Slim, and Texas' Ruthie Foster, who captured top vocalist honors and won Song of the Year for "What Kind Of Fool," co-written with Hadden Sayers and Scottie Miller.

The Blues Need To Be Seen To Be Heard

Though the BMAs largely honor recorded works, the show itself emphasized that the blues are a genre best experienced live. The ceremony, which ran about four hours (historically on the shorter side for this event), was packed full of performances, most running longer than your typical awards show slots. 

Highlights included the opening set by emerging artist nominee Candice Ivory, who performed selections from her BMA-nominated album When the Levee Breaks: The Music of Memphis Minnie, backed by keyboardist Ben Levin and guitarist William Lee Ellis, who also played songs from his album Ghost Hymns, a nominee for Best Acoustic Album.

Another Mississippi artist, powerhouse bandleader Castro Coleman, known as Mr. Sipp, who has one GRAMMY nomination and an appearance on a GRAMMY-winning Count Basie Orchestra album, brought the crowd to their feet early with his gospel-fueled segment. To cement his Best Guitarist win, Ingram delivered a blistering performance with his band, wading into the audience for one of his beautifully precise, soaring solos.

There was so much music to be heard that it spilled out into the streets. Most nights following BMA-related events, fans and fellow artists could be found in the clubs on Beale Street, the famous Home of the Blues, for showcases and impromptu jam sessions. These were highlighted by the 10th annual Down In the Basement fundraiser for the Blues Foundation on Wednesday. Organized and hosted by Big Llou Johnson, a blues musician and host of Sirius XM's B.B. King's Bluesville channel, the show featured appearances by Mr. Sipp, GRAMMY nominees Southern Avenue, and more.

Honoring The Blues' Past

Among the other events that made up BMA week was the Blues Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, held on May 8 at Memphis' Cannon Center for the Performing Arts before a crowd of about 200, including past inductees Bobby Rush and Taj Mahal. Hosted by artists Gaye Adegbalola (Saffire — the Uppity Blues Women), GRAMMY winner Dom Flemons (Carolina Chocolate Drops), and veteran blues radio deejay Bill Wax, the observance saw the induction of seven artists, five blues singles, one album, a book, and a blues academic into the Hall of Fame.

Highlights from the evening included Alligator Records head Bruce Iglauer's humor-filled induction of Chicago house stompers Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials in the performers category; the heartfelt introduction of the late folk singer Odetta by her friend Maria Muldaur and the emotional acceptance by Odetta's daughter, Michelle Esrick; and former National Endowment for the Humanities chairman William R. Ferris, inducted as a non-performer, delivering a circuitous-but-engrossing recounting of his life documenting blues music and culture.

Bringing The Blues To Life 

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal stands in front of the exhibit featuring his own hologram. | Photo: Kimberly Horton

One of the non-award related highlights of the week was the opening of a new exhibit at the Blues Foundation's Blues Hall of Fame, also on May 8, which introduced a high-tech element to the down-home genre. Musician Taj Mahal was on hand the day before for the unveiling of a cutting-edge AI-powered hologram of himself that acts as a virtual tour guide for the Half of Fame, allowing visitors to interact with the blues great. 

This hologram, only the second exhibit of its kind in America (the first is in the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame in Boston), uses Holobox, a new technology from Holoconnects, to render a life-like image that can answer questions, talk about exhibits, and play instruments. Taj Mahal, who had to sit and talk for several hours for the technology to scan his likeness and voice, is the first artist to receive the virtual treatment from the Blues Foundation. Bobby Rush and Keb' Mo' are expected to be added later.

Explore the full list of 2024 BMA winners below to celebrate the artists keeping the blues alive and discover who took home the top honors this year. 

2024 BMA Winners

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year

Bobby Rush

Album of the Year

Live In London, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram

Band of the Year

Nick Moss Band

Song of the Year

"What Kind Of Fool," written by Ruthie Foster, Hadden Sayers & Scottie Miller

Best Emerging Artist Album

The Right Man, D.K. Harrell

Acoustic Blues Album

Raw Blues 1, Doug MacLeod

Blues Rock Album

Blood Brothers, Mike Zito/ Albert Castiglia

Contemporary Blues Album

Live In London, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram

Soul Blues Album

All My Love For You, Bobby Rush

Traditional Blues Album

Teardrops for Magic Slim, John Primer

Acoustic Blues Artist

Keb' Mo'

Blues Rock Artist

Mike Zito

Contemporary Blues Female Artist

Danielle Nicole

Contemporary Blues Male Artist

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram

Soul Blues Female Artist

Annika Chambers

Soul Blues Male Artist

John Nemeth

Traditional Blues Female Artist (Koko Taylor Award)

Sue Foley

Traditional Blues Male Artist

John Primer

Instrumentalist – Bass

Bob Stroger

Instrumentalist – Drums

Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith

Instrumentalist – Guitarist

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram

Instrumentalist – Harmonica

Jason Ricci

Instrumentalist – Horn

Vanessa Collier

Instrumentalist – Piano (Pinetop Perkins Award)

Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne

Instrumentalist – Vocals

Ruthie Foster

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Molly Tuttle
Molly Tuttle attends the opening of "American Currents: State of the Music" at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2024

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum


Music History From Coast To Coast: 10 Hall Of Fames To Visit This Spring

No matter where you are in the U.S., there’s probably an immersive music museum near you. Here are 10 amazing halls of fame for fans across genres and scenes.

GRAMMYs/Mar 26, 2024 - 01:25 pm

Across the United States, from the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to the esteemed Jazz Hall of Fame, music halls of fame dot the landscape, paying tribute to the pinnacle talents of the music industry throughout the years.

Whether you're a Billy Joel fan who wants to catch a glimpse of the piano he played on "Vienna," or get a peek at the mood board that led to Kacey Musgraves' "Slow Burn," these esteemed halls of fame offer a wide selection of programs and exhibits that provide a behind-the-scenes look at music history, past, present, and future.

From the sonic heart of Nashville, to the bustling music hub of Long Island, these institutions pay homage to top stars across the ages and are worth a trip to this spring. Regardless of your musical preferences, there's a music hall of fame and exhibit tailored to your tastes. Dive into these 11 this spring and discover something new about your favorite artists. 

Country Music Hall of Fame

Nashville, Tennessee

The Country Music Hall of Fame boasts a collection of over 2.5 million artifacts and is one of the most frequented museums in the United States. This institution celebrates the rich legacies of country music through a wide array of exhibits, memorabilia, and educational initiatives.

Stop by this spring for: "American Currents: State of the Music," spotlighting artists who are making waves in today's music scene.

In this exhibit, you'll find memorabilia from Oliver Anthony, Kelsea Ballerini, Sam Bush, Tyler Childers, Luke Combs, S.G. Goodman, Nat Myers, Nickel Creek, Joy Oladokun, Jelly Roll, Allison Russell, SistaStrings, Billy Strings, Taylor Swift, Molly Tuttle, Morgan Wallen, Kelsey Waldon, The War And Treaty, Lucinda Williams, Lainey Wilson, and Shucked (the Broadway musical scored by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally).

From Jelly Roll's iconic jacket from his first headlining show in Nashville to an electric guitar belonging to Lainey Wilson, to a banjo once strummed by Billy Strings, visitors can see these artifacts firsthand that have shaped moments of music history.

Long Island Music & Entertainment Hall Of Fame

Long Island, New York

The Long Island Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame celebrates the indelible mark left by local musicians and entertainers on the music industry.

Within its walls, visitors can journey through Long Island's star-studded musical history with top names like Billy Joel, Twisted Sister, Mariah Carey, Simon & Garfunkel, Louis Armstrong, and more. Spanning genres from rock and pop to jazz and beyond, the museum offers a compelling narrative of Long Island's cultural richness.

This spring, don't miss the exclusive exhibit, "Billy Joel: My Life, A Piano Man’s Journey”. Showcasing over five decades of Billy Joel's most treasured possessions, the exhibit unveils rare memorabilia, behind-the-scenes footage, unique audio and video recordings, vintage instruments, and historic photographs — many of which were donated by the artist himself and are on display for the first time.

Drawing enthusiasts of all ages, this exhibit offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to delve into Billy Joel's remarkable career journey, from his humble beginnings in Long Island to his iconic albums, world tours, artistic influences, and personal anecdotes.

Partnering with Stevie Van Zandt's TeachRock organization, the Long Island Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame also hosts regular teacher training events. Every Sunday, visitors can enjoy live music concerts featuring local emerging talent.

Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum

Nashville, Tennessee

From memorabilia from
Johnny Cash to TOTO, the Musicians Hall of Fame pays tribute to musicians from a wide array of genres. 

rom iconic instruments to stage attire worn during historic performances, each artifact offers a glimpse into the world of American music history. Inside, you'll also find the GRAMMY Museum Gallery offering an interactive experience for visitors on the history of the GRAMMY Awards.

Visitors to the Hall of Fame can try their hand at playing electric drums, keyboards, bass, and guitar, and even try out singing to a Ray Charles and the Raelettes track.

At the Musicians Hall of Fame, you'll also find exhibits dedicated to songwriting, engineering, and producing, allowing patrons to take a peek behind the scenes of what it takes to make a hit record.

Blues Hall of Fame

Memphis, Tennessee

Opened in 2015, The Blues Foundation's Blues Hall of Fame Museum captivates blues enthusiasts and casual visitors. Highlighting inductees across five key categories — Performer, Individual, Album, Single, and Literature —the museum offers an exploration of the genre's legacy. Visitors can walk through 10 curated galleries while immersing themselves in the music, videos, and stories of inductees. 

Take a walk around and visit Pee Wee Crayton's Fender Stratocaster Guitar, Donald "Duck" Dunn's Lakland Electric Bass, Matt "Guitar" Murphy's McHugh Guitar, Bettye LaVette's Kennedy Center Honors Performance Outfit, Stevie Ray Vaughan's Performance Kimono, and more. 

From rare album covers and photographs to prestigious awards, the exhibits showcase items that encapsulate blues history.

Jazz Hall of Fame

Kansas City, Missouri

Step into the rhythm and soul of jazz at the Jazz Hall of Fame in Kansas City. 

As jazz traversed the globe, it became a melting pot of diverse musical cultures, resulting in a tapestry of unique styles.

In the early 1910s, jazz emerged from a fusion of brass-band marches, French quadrilles, biguine, ragtime, and blues, crafting a sound marked by collective polyphonic improvisation.

Delve into the genre's improvisational spirit as you discover the groundbreaking work of jazz luminaries like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis.

Explore the evolution of jazz through interactive exhibits and rare recordings that continue to inspire musicians and aficionados alike.

Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Tuscumbia, Alabama

The Alabama Music Hall of Fame was established by the Muscle Shoals Music Association, a professional organization made up of producers, musicians, songwriters, recording studio owners, and studio owners. 

In 1980, they founded the Alabama Music Hall of Fame to honor Alabama's top music achievers.

Through its exhibits and interactive displays, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame commemorates the diverse musical history of Alabama.

From Hank Williams' incisive country ballads to Lionel Richie's soulful melodies and Alabama's chart-topping hits, the museum illustrates the profound impact Alabama musicians have had on the world of music.

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame

Nashville, Tennessee

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame is a non-profit committed to preserving songwriting in the Nashville music community.

Throughout its 40 years since inception, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame used to be only virtual. The Hall of Fame Gallery is now open in the Music City Center, Nashville’s 1.2 million-square-foot convention center.

Featuring the works of legendary songsmiths such as Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and Keith Urban, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame has inducted many stars who have had a significant impact on the Nashville music scene.

Whether you're a devoted fan of country music or simply fascinated by the art of songwriting, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame gallery provides an immersive experience that celebrates the past, present, and future of Nashville music complete with educational videos and memorabilia.

Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame

Detroit, Michigan

As visitors step into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, they will be welcomed with a wealth of memorabilia and photographs that chronicle the evolution of R&B music.

Visitors can explore the pioneering work of legendary artists such as B.B. King and Aretha Franklin, whose voices transcended boundaries and inspired millions around the world. 

Visitors can also delve into the performances of James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul," whose stage presence revolutionized the live music experience. Through immersive exhibits and interactive displays, visitors have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of R&B music and its cultural significance.

Whether exploring the origins of the Motown sound or tracing the influence of gospel and blues on the genre, each exhibit offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of R&B history. In addition to its exhibits, the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame hosts a variety of events, concerts, and educational programs throughout the year.

International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame

Owensboro, Kentucky

The International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame stands as a renowned institution, revered by music enthusiasts from around the world. Rooted in the heart of the Bluegrass State, this museum serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of bluegrass music and the many artists who have shaped its distinctive sound. 

The museum's current exhibits offer an immersive experience, inviting guests to explore the genre's rich tapestry through a diverse array of artifacts, memorabilia, and interactive displays. 

From the iconic instruments of Bill Monroe, the "Father of Bluegrass," to the revolutionary banjo picking of Earl Scruggs, visitors can trace the footsteps of these legendary pioneers and gain insight into their innovative contributions to the genre.

With displays featuring recordings and personal artifacts from modern-day luminaries like Alison Krauss, visitors can witness firsthand the evolution of bluegrass and its enduring relevance in today's music landscape. The museum serves as a hub for live performances, workshops, and educational programs, fostering a sense of community among bluegrass enthusiasts and providing aspiring musicians with the tools and resources they need to carry the genre forward into the future.

GRAMMY Hall Of Fame

Los Angeles, California

The Recording Academy has revealed 10 incredible recordings to be newly inducted to the distinguished GRAMMY Hall Of Fame as part of its 2024 inductee class and in celebration of its 50th anniversary this year.

The inducted recordings, which will be added to the iconic catalog residing at the GRAMMY Museum, will be honored at GRAMMY Museum's inaugural GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Gala and concert, presented by City National Bank, taking place Tuesday, May 21, at the NOVO Theater in Los Angeles. Tickets for and performers at the Gala will be announced at a later date.

This year's GRAMMY Hall of Fame additions, the first inductions since 2021, include four albums and six singles that exhibit qualitative or historical significance and are at least 25 years old. See here for a full list of the 2024 recordings inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame!

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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Shemekia Copeland accepts an award at the 2023 Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Tennessee
Shemekia Copeland accepts an award at the 2023 Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Tennessee

Photo: Joseph Rosen


Here's What Went Down At The 2023 Blues Music Awards In Memphis

A crowd of more than 1,100 filled the ballroom of the Renasant Convention Center in Memphis for a music-filled show. Here are four takeaways from the soulful evening.

GRAMMYs/May 24, 2023 - 09:33 pm

For more than four decades — even during the pandemic — the Memphis-based Blues Foundation has annually recognized the genre's best, including such GRAMMY-winning luminaries as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

On May 11, the foundation presented the 44th Annual Blues Music Awards, featuring a host of blues mainstays — as well as younger artists who combine the various strains of the blues with diverse strands of Americana.

A crowd of more than 1,100 filled the ballroom of the Renasant Convention Center in Memphis for a music-filled show that packed 25 awards and more than a dozen musical performances into a deceptively tight five-hour show.

Here are four takeaways from this year's Blues Music Awards:

Big Winners Were Touched By Tribulations

This was the second in-person BMA ceremony following two years of virtual presentations due to COVID. But while the pandemic has abated, illness still loomed over some of the night's wins.

Tommy Castro, who won B.B. King Entertainer of the Year for the second year in a row — and whose band is, ironically, called the Painkillers — missed the ceremony because he was recuperating from back surgery. His award was accepted by his frequent collaborator, Deanna Bogart, also a winner for Best Instrumentalist - Horns.

BMA regular John Németh, who recently survived a bout with a jaw tumor, was thankful just to be alive to accept his two awards on the night, one for best instrumentalist-harmonica and another for Best Traditional Blues Album for the aptly-titled May be the Last Time, a collaboration with Elvin Bishop and others that was recorded two weeks before his cancer surgery.

"I had no idea if I was going to be able to make it here tonight, but I did," said Nemeth to a round of applause. "I want to thank the Blues Foundation, I want to thank their HART Fund, and I want to thank everybody who donate to my GoFundMe to help me get a brand-new jawbone so I can play some more harmonica."

Repeat Winners Ruled The Night

A lot of familiar names were called out from the stage. In addition to Nemeth, Buddy Guy (Album of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album) and blues rock up-and-comer Albert Castiglia (Blues Rock Album and Blues Rock Artist) each won two awards on the night. 

Meanwhile, Castro led the way among artists winning categories for consecutive years, including Albert Castiglia (Blues Rock Artist), Danielle Nicole (Instrumentalist Bass), Curtis Salgado (Soul Blues Male Artist) and Sue Foley (Traditional Blues Female Artist).

Perhaps most impressive though was GRAMMY-winning blues guitarist Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, who won Contemporary Blues Male Artist for an impressive fourth year in a row. 

While ccepting the award, a humble Ingram said he hadn't prepared anything to say because he didn't expect to win. Right then, he thanked his fellow nominees, and returned to the stage for an acoustic set that showcased his strong, assured vocals as much as his adroit fretwork.

Hill Country Blues Are Alive And Well

The night before the BMAs, the Blues Foundation held a ceremony at the Halloran Centre in downtown Memphis to induct a new class into the Blues Hall of Fame.

This included departed greats Esther Phillips, Carey Bell, Snooky Pryor, Fenton Robinson, Josh White, and Junior Kimbrough, the late Holly Springs bluesman who helped pioneer what has become the North Mississippi Hill Country style.

At the BMAs, the sound made famous by Kimbrough and his close contemporary, the late R.L. Burnside, proved to be alive and well.

R.L.'s grandson, GRAMMY winner Cedric Burnside, who holds an impressive 10 BMAs, was, scheduled to perform but, for whatever reason, missed his slot.

His uncle Duwayne Burnside, who has written and played with his father, Kimbrough, and the North Mississippi Allstars, among others, carried the torch. He played an acoustic set of hill country classics backed by R.L.'s longtime guitarist Kenny Brown.

Young Artists Made Their Mark

Veteran blues artists dominated this year's BMAs, but a handful of young performers broke through at the show as well, wowing the audience with their performances.

McComb, Mississippi's Mr. Sipp (aka, Casto Coleman) returned to close out the night with a gospel-infused closing set that brought the crowd to their feet.

Two more former emerging artist winners also provided show highlights: GRAMMY-nominated band Southern Avenue rocked the house with an inspired acoustic stage mini set, featuring a trio of female voices.

Meanwhile, Detroit's Annika Chambers and her musical partner Paul DesLauriers delivered a high-energy segment that fused rock and soul into their blues.

Joining these up-and-comers was this year's Emerging Artist winner, 22-year-old St. Louis native Dylan Triplett.

A prodigy blessed with a four-and-a-half octave vocal range, Triplett took the stage early with his band to play R&B-inflected selections from his debut album, Who Is He? When his name was called for his award, he acknowledged his faith and thanked his parents — including his father, saxophone player Art Pollard.

Clearly, the blues are alive and well — and the 2023 Blues Music Awards remain a critical part of this magnificent musical sphere.

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