American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) members were the big winners at the 59th annual Grammy Awards on February 12th. ASCAP songwriters, composers and producers grabbed trophies in a total of 38 categories across the musical spectrum, not only in the top pop and urban categories but also in dance, jazz, bluegrass, classical, contemporary Christian and Latin music categories.
Songwriter-producer Greg Kurstin was one of ASCAP’s biggest winners. His collaboration with Adele earned him Grammys for Song of the Year and Record of the Year (both for “Hello”) as well as Album of the Year for Adele’s 25. Kurstin also took home a Grammy for Producer of the Year. In fact, it was some of ASCAP’s top songwriter/producers who helped Adele win the top Album prize. In addition to Kurstin, those who had a hand in crafting the songs on 25 included Danger Mouse, Samuel Dixon (APRA), Paul Epworth, Max Martin (STIM), Ariel Rechtshaid, Shellback (STIM), Samuel Dixon (APRA), Tom Elmhirst (PRS), Alex Pasco, Michael Ilbert (STIM) and Mike Piersante.
Beyoncé, who went into the evening with nine nominations, won Grammys for Best Urban Contemporary Album for Lemonade and the Best Music Video Award for “Formation.” Other notable wins included: Best Song Written for Visual Media (Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Shellback,“Can’t Stop The Feeling” from the animated film Trolls); Best Dance Recording (The Chainsmokers, “Don’t Let Me Down”); Best R&B Song (Hod David and Musze, “Lake by the Ocean”); Best Rap Song (Paul Jefferies, “Hotline Bling”); Best R&B Performance (Solange, “Cranes in the Sky”) and Best Contemporary Blues Album (Fantastic Negrito, The Last Days of Oakland); Best Jazz Vocal Album (Gregory Porter, Take Me To the Alley); Best Latin Pop Album (Jesse & Joy, Un Besito Mas); Best Bluegrass Album (O’Conner Band, Coming Home); and Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance (Steve Reich, Third Coast Percussion), among many more.
Despite earning four nominations for his album Purpose, Justin Bieber had no plans to attend the Grammy Awards this year. Rather than sitting at home alone, however, he decided to go out for sushi, and took fans along for the ride on his Instagram Story.
Throughout the event, ASCAP members illuminated the stage with performances that were by turns passionate, political and powerful. Among the highlights: An epic nine-minute performance by Beyoncé singing two of her songs, “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles,” turned into a celebration of motherhood and pride for “every child of every race;” Katy Perry debuted a provocative and politically-pointed new song, “Chained to the Rhythm,” and performed it with Skip Marley, grandson of legendary ASCAP member Bob Marley, in front of a large image of the US Constitution; and recent ASCAP Golden Note Award honorees A Tribe Called Quest performed a blunt protest song, “We the People,” from the group’s latest album, joined by fellow rappers Busta Rhymes, Consequence and Anderson.Paak, along with a group of people representing diverse races and religions.
Other showstopping musical numbers were delivered by ASCAP members The Weeknd, who performed a new song, Kelsea Ballerini and Lukas Graham, performing a mash-up of their hits, Alicia Keys, Demi Lovato and Tori Kelly, who helped pay tribute to the Bee Gees and Morris Day and The Time, who helped pay tribute to the late Prince. In a night of poignant moments, one of the most moving was Adele’s performance of George Michael song “Fastlove,” in tribute to the late musical superstar.