Lady Gaga, Brandi Carlile among early Grammy winners

Lady Gaga, the Black Panther soundtrack, and folk singer Brandi Carlile took home early Grammy awards on Sunday ahead of a telecast hosted by R&B singer Alicia Keys.

Gaga’s hit song Shallow from the movie A Star is Born took the Grammy for best song written for visual media, while her Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Going) won for pop solo performance.

Gaga, who is to perform later on Sunday, said on Twitter she was “in tears with honour and gratitude.”

“I’m not gonna be able to wear any makeup tonight,” she tweeted.

Carlile, 37, took home three early trophies, two for her Americana music single The Joke and another for her album By the Way, I Forgive You.

An absent Ariana Grande, who pulled out of the Grammys show last week after a dispute with producers, won her first Grammy best pop vocal album for Sweetener.

The soundtrack for superhero movie Black Panther took best score for visual media, while Childish Gambino’s searing This is America, about police brutality and racism, won the best music video trophy.

Gambino, the alter ego of actor Donald Glover, was one of several influential stars who were no shows at the biggest night in music.

Rappers vie for album of the year

Leading nominees Kendrick Lamar, who produced the Black Panther soundtrack, and Canadian rapper Drake will also be absent in what is seen as a snub by the three rappers of an awards show that has often shut hip-hop artists out of its top prizes, despite rap’s dominance as the biggest music genre in the United States.

Cardi B, who will perform later on Sunday, could break that trend and take home not only her first ever Grammy but potentially become the first rapper since 2004 to win the coveted album of the year award for her Invasion of Privacy.

Photo gallery: Grammys parade out-there fashion on red carpet

Only two albums by hip-hop artists have ever won the album of the year Grammy — Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1999, and Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in 2004

Rappers Post Malone (Beerbongs & Bentleys) and Drake’s best-seller Scorpion are also vying for the top prize. Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer, country singer Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour, Carlile’s By The Way, I Forgive You, newcomer H.E.R’s self-titled H.E.R., and the Black Panther soundtrack round out contenders for album of the year.

Grammy organizers this year expanded the top four categories — album, record, song of the year, and best new artist — to eight nominees from five in a bid to diversify the contest.

Sunday’s show will include performances by Diana Ross, Miley Cyrus, Post Malone, Dolly Parton, Janelle Monae, Shawn Mendes, Katy Perry, Ricky Martin and Red Hot Chili Peppers. There will also be a tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, who died last August.

Canadians score wins

Music producer Greg Wells said winning his first Grammy for the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman felt like a scene lifted from the pages of a Hollywood screenplay.

The Peterborough, Ont.-raised songwriter said reality was still sinking in for him, even though several hours had already passed since he rushed to the stage to accept best compilation soundtrack for visual media.

Wells won as part of the team who helped create the breakout pop hits for the Hugh Jackman-led musical film, including This Is Me.

From left: Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Alex Lacamoire and Greg Wells pose in the press room with the award for best compilation soundtrack for visual media for The Greatest Showman. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

“It really is that movie moment where they announce your name and you get this euphoric blast of hormones — or whatever it is,” the 50-year-old songwriter said by phone from Los Angeles on Sunday.

Wells previously had been nominated twice, once for Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and another time for Mika’s single Love Today. He said after losing both of those Grammys he wasn’t expecting to win this time either.

“It doesn’t feel like a real thing,” he added.

Other Canadians marking their first time as Grammy winners included Toronto-raised R&B singer Daniel Caesar, who split his first honour with Gabriella Wilson, known as American performer H.E.R., for their song Best Part.

Toronto-raised R&B singer Daniel Caesar accepts his first ever Grammy win for the song Best Part. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Volinist James Ehnes received two for his contributions to Kernis. The Brandon, Man.-raised musician was part of the classical violin concerto album, which won best contemporary classical composition. The honour is shared with composer Aaron Jay Kernis.

His second Grammy for best classical instrumental solo is shared with the album’s conductor.

Another violinist, Lili Haydn, won as part of the quartet Opium Moon. The Canadian-American musician received best new age album win for the group’s self-titled 2018 album.

Canadian-American violinist Lili Haydn, second from left, poses with her quartet Opium Moon at the Grammys on Sunday. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Haydn accepted the Grammy during a pre-telecast ceremony saying she had “so much love and gratitude and respect” for other musicians nominated at the ceremony.

She said her fellow nominees “devoted literally countless hours of focus, passion and practice to making the most exquisite music we can make to sweeten this world.”

Willo Perron, who is from Montreal, nabbed the best recording package Grammy for his work on singer St. Vincent’s 2017 album Masseduction.

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