“Making music for 12 years — you don’t think you’ll get Grammy-nominated,” lead singer Nate Ruess said backstage. “Radio and mainstream just kind of picked up on (us) and it feels good for us after 12 years of people kind of just ignoring you and always feeling like you’re kind of the bridesmaid.”
Like fun., Gotye had a monstrous hit with the Kimbra-assisted “Somebody that I Used to Know,” and it won record of the year and best pop duo/group collaboration. His album, “Making Mirrors,” won best alternative music album.
Gotye’s three wins were joined by Black Keys, West, Jay-Z and Skrillex, who picked up the same trophies he won last year.
“You know what, I thought I’d get used to it, but I tripped over every word when I was up there. I felt like I just wanted a pool of ice water and just couldn’t even breathe or think,” said the electronic-DJ, who won best dance recording, dance/electronica album and remixed recording. “It was crazy. I think it was even crazier than last year.”
Double winners included Ocean, fun., Mumford & Sons, Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding and Matt Redman.
The various winners of the night were hard to predict. Mumford & Sons won album of the year, though the band lost best Americana album to Bonnie Raitt. And fun. won song of the year and best new artist, but lost best pop vocal album to Kelly Clarkson.
The performances — like usual — was also a reflection of diversity in music: Taylor Swift opened with her pop smash “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and Miguel sang his R&B hit “Adorn” onstage and off of it.
“Miguel, I don’t know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together,” Clarkson said when accepting an award. “I mean, good god. That was the sexiest dancing I’ve ever seen.”
The night’s most memorable performance was the tribute to Levon Helm, which featured Elton John, Mumford & Sons, T Bone Burnett and the raspy vocals of Mavis Staples and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes.
They earned a standing ovation. Jack White, who was nominated for the album of the year, was also well-received Sunday night.
Justin Timberlake made a return to the Grammy stage, performing his new hit “Suit & Tie” and a new song, the falsetto-heavy “Push Your Love Girl.” Jay-Z joined the pop star onstage, and there were more collaborations like it throughout the night.
Alicia Keys joined Maroon 5, Miranda Lambert sang with Dierks Bentley, and Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Sting paid tribute to Bob Marley. They were joined by Damian and Ziggy Marley. The crowd sang along during “Could You Be Loved.”
Adele, who was last year’s big winner with six trophies, won best pop performance for “Set Fire to the Rain (Live).” She said backstage that she’s enjoying motherhood and is at the beginning stages of recording her next album.
“I’ve been up since 6 a.m. so I’m quite tired. But it’s nice, I haven’t been as stressed out,” she said. “You kind of have to prioritize what you stress about and worry about when you have a child.”