Jon Batiste won album of the year honors for We Are at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, giving him five trophies on a night that saw the ’70s funk of Silk Sonic take record of the year and song of the year, the AP reports. (The night also saw Will Smith jokes and Twitter drama.) Batiste honored the artists he beat. “The creative arts are subjective,” he said. “Be you.” The multi-genre performer also won two awards for his song “Cry,” one for the video for “Freedom," and one for his work with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on the soundtrack for “Soul.” “I just put my head down and I work on the craft every day. I love music,” he said. Batiste entered the Grammys as the leading nominee with 11 nominations.
The R&B supergroup Silk Sonic took home awards in all four categories it was nominated in, including record of the year. Members Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak were exuberant as they accepted the honor toward the end of the ceremony. The win puts Mars in historic company again: He becomes the only artist along with Paul Simon to take home the award three times. Newcomer Olivia Rodrigo collected three trophies, including the coveted best new artist honor, putting her in esteemed company including Carly Simon, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Tom Jones, the Beatles, and Billie Eilish. A veteran of the High School Musical series, Rodrigo became the breakout music star of 2021, leading with her massive viral hit “Drivers License” and following with the single “Good 4 U” and the aching album Sour, which took best pop vocal album.
The night's festivities grew grim when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the gathering with an update on the war and his numbers included children injured and killed. “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos,” he said. “We are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs. The dead silence. Fill the silence with your music.” He ended by saying: "Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV. Support us in any way you can any, but not silence. And then peace will come to all our cities.” John Legend then performed “Free” with Ukrainian exiles including singer-actress Mika Newton and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins was also mourned; the band won three awards, but was not present due to his death. (Full list of winners here.)