Mus­graves a sur­prise win­ner of best album at Gram­mys.

H.E.R., Fan­tas­tic Negrito pick up prizes — fe­male artists dom­i­nate

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

It was a big night for two Bay Area artists at the 61st an­nual Grammy Awards.

Five-time nom­i­nee H.E.R., the ris­ing R&B singer from Vallejo whose real name is Gabriella “Gabi” Wil­son, won the prize for best R&B album of the year for “H.E.R.,” a com­pi­la­tion of her first two EPs; and best R&B per­for­mance for her song “Best Part,” a duet with Daniel Cae­sar.

“I’m speech­less right now,” she said at the cer­e­mony at the Sta­ples Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les on Sun­day, Feb. 10. “I’m hold­ing back tears.”

Oak­land singer-song­writer Fan­tas­tic Negrito also picked up a prize for best con­tem­po­rary blues album in a pre-tele­cast cer­e­mony, for his 2018 re­lease, “Please Don’t Be Dead.”

“I knew I made a great record,” the Oak­land singer-song­writer, whose real name is Xavier Dphrepaulezz, told The Chron­i­cle on the phone Sun­day. “I was sit­ting right there in the au­di­to­rium, and as soon as they said, ‘Please,’ I knew it was me.”

Negrito, a mu­sic in­dus­try vet­eran, won his first Grammy two years ago, pick­ing up the prize for best con­tem­po­rary blues album for his 2016 re­lease, “The Last Days of Oak­land.”

The rest of the night be­longed to women. Fe­male acts won album of the year and best

new artist, while rap also tri­umphed, with Child­ish Gam­bino’s “This Is Amer­ica” be­com­ing the first rap-based song to win record and song of the year.

Kacey Mus­graves’ “Golden Hour” picked up album of the year, and Dua Lipa won best new artist.

Gam­bino was the night’s big win­ner, pick­ing up four hon­ors, in­clud­ing best mu­sic video and best rap/sung per­for­mance.

Drake, who rarely at­tends awards shows, sur­prised the mu­sic world when he emerged on­stage to ac­cept the best rap song tro­phy for his huge hit “God’s Plan.”

Cardi B made his­tory as the first solo fe­male to win best rap album.

The Gram­mys kicked off with a group of pow­er­ful women, in­clud­ing Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga, de­scrib­ing the role of mu­sic in their lives — a dis­play that came a year af­ter fe­male voices were some­what muted at the 2018 cer­e­mony. Jada Pin­kett Smith and Jen­nifer Lopez also spoke and stood in sol­i­dar­ity with Obama, Gaga and Ali­cia Keys, who hosted the show on CBS.

Gaga, Brandi Carlile and Kacey Mus­graves each won mul­ti­ple Gram­mys. Carlile took three hon­ors: best Amer­i­cana album, best Amer­i­can roots per­for­mance and best Amer­i­can roots song.

Gaga also won three, in­clud­ing best pop duo/group per­for­mance, a win she shared with Bradley Cooper. Now a nine-time Grammy win­ner, she won best pop solo per­for­mance for “Joanne,” while the hit “Shal­low,” from “A Star is Born,” was named best song writ­ten for vis­ual me­dia. The song is nom­i­nated for an Os­car and also won at the Golden Globes, the Crit­ics’ Choice Movie Awards and the Satel­lite Awards.

Mus­graves picked up best coun­try album for “Golden Hour,” best coun­try solo per­for­mance for “Butterflies” and best coun­try song for “Space Cow­boy.”

There was a tie for best rap per­for­mance. Drake’s “Nice for What” lost to An­der­son Paak’s “Bub­blin’ ” and Kendrick La­mar, Jay Rock, Fu­ture and James Blake’s “King’s Dead,” from the “Black Pan­ther” sound­track.

Beck was a dou­ble win­ner dur­ing the pre-tele­cast, tak­ing home best al­ter­na­tive mu­sic album and best en­gi­neered album (non-clas­si­cal) for “Col­ors.” Emily Lazar, one of the engi­neers who worked on the album and won along­side Beck, was the first fe­male mas­ter­ing en­gi­neer to win in the lat­ter cat­e­gory.

Other Bay Area nom­i­nees in­cluded Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio and Char­lie Mus­sel­white, who was nom­i­nated for his work with Ben Harper, in the best tra­di­tional blues album cat­e­gory; Joan Baez for best folk album; Deafheaven for best metal per­for­mance.

In the clas­si­cal field, Michael Til­son Thomas was nom­i­nated for best or­ches­tral per­for­mance; Ma­son Bates for best opera record­ing, best con­tem­po­rary clas­si­cal com­po­si­tion, best en­gi­neered album and pro­ducer of the year; and John Adams for best opera record­ing and best clas­si­cal com­pen­dium.

Re­port­ing by Chron­i­cle Pop Mu­sic Critic Aidin Vaziri

and the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Kevin Win­ter / Getty Im­ages

Vallejo singer H.E.R. per­forms at the 61st an­nual Grammy Awards, where she won best R&B album and best R&B per­for­mance of the year.

Kevin Mazur / Getty Im­ages

Kacey Mus­graves ac­cepts the album of the year award for “Golden Hour,” one of four Gram­mys she took home at the 61st an­nual awards cer­e­mony, held at Sta­ples Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les.

Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Im­ages

Cardi B, shown on­stage with Off­set, be­comes the first solo fe­male hon­ored for best rap album, for “In­va­sion of Pri­vacy.”

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