Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 Grammys: Arcade Fire Wins Album of Year for "The Suburbs"

Above: Arcade Fire performs "Ready to Start" at Madison Square Garden last December.

The celebration of music and spectacle know as the 2011 Grammys had a little bit of everything, from bizarre costumes (see: Lady Gaga egg; Cee Lo Green chicken/peacock outfit) to heartfelt performances. You'll find the full list of 2010 Grammy winners and nominees here, including the nearly 100 awards that weren't televised.

The evening's top prize, Album of the Year, went to the Canadian indie-rock band Arcade Fire for "The Suburbs."Although a favorite of both critics and music fans, the band's third album had lost out in the two other Grammys it had been nominated for this year, and for the Album of the Year it was facing a number of popular Grammy-winning favorites: Eminem, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and country band Lady Antebellum (a multiple winner on the night).

Arcade Fire had just performed "Month of May"and was waiting under the stage for the announcement, and was quite surprised when "The Suburbs"was named for the top prize. And then it went on to play a second song from the album, "Ready to Start,"to finish the show. (That had nothing to do with them winning; it had been agreed to beforehand that the band would play a second tune to wrap up the show, no matter who won the night's final award.)

As usual for the Grammys, youth and current trends were served, with nominations and wins for—and performances by—acts like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry,  Enimem, and the ever-bizarre Lady Gaga. But the performances also featured a nod to the older generation influencers: Bob Dylan performed "Maggie's Farm" with two younger, Americana bands, Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers.

Lady Antebellum's “Need You Now”won Record of the Year and Song of the Year, while jazz singer and upright bass player Esperanza Spalding won the new artist, beating out the megastars Justin Bieber and Drake and indie acts Florence and the Machine and Mumford and Sons.

One artist who made an impression Sunday night was singer/songwriter/producer Skylar Grey, who co-wrote Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie"(and received a Song of the Year nomination for it) and performed on Eminem and Dr. Dre's rendition of "I Need a Doctor"on the Grammy telecast. Skylar Grey, whose real name is Holly Brook Hafermann, is a Wisconsin native who has one solo album out under the name Holly Brook.

She has a website,, that only has a few photos and the message "Coming Soon," but she's active on Twitter (@SkylarGrey), where her follower count has gone from 6,000 to over 10,000 in the last few days. There's also an unofficial fan site,, which has news, videos, and tweets, among other information.

More on the 2011 Grammys in the next day or so...

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