Canadian Alessia Cara won the coveted Grammy award for best new artist Sunday in a category of strong contenders that included Khalid and SZA.
In her acceptance speech, the Brampton, Ont.-born singer encouraged people to “support real music and real artists.”
“Everyone deserves the same shot,” Cara, 21, said on stage. “And that goes for everyone — not just those in the industry.”
While fellow Canucks Drake, Justin Bieber, Feist and Alanis Morissette have been nominated for best new artist, Cara is the first Canadian to win the category since its inception in 1959.
White roses on red carpet
Earlier, Lady Gaga was among the stars sporting a white rose on the Grammy Awards red carpet to support the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements.
Sam Smith, Lisa Loeb, Sting and host James Corden were also spotted wearing the flower to show support for the fight against sexual misconduct.
Singer Kesha performed a moving rendition of her song about redemption called Praying as a tribute to the cause. The pop star has been embroiled in a legal battle with hitmaker Dr. Luke after accusing him of sexual and physical abuse in 2014. He has denied any wrongdoing and is suing for defamation. Andra Day, Camila Cabello and Cyndi Lauper were among the group of female artists who joined Kesha on stage. They received a standing ovation afterwards and surrounded a visibly emotional Kesha in an embrace.
“Music’s biggest night” could be historic this year not just for the political statements but also potential wins when it comes to rap and hip hop.
Potential for historic night
Kendrick Lamar, who has so far won five Grammys Sunday, is nominated for album and record of the year.
Jay-Z is also nominated for the same categories in addition to song of the year for 4:44.
No rapper has ever won song or record of the year, and only two rap-based albums have won album of the year, giving Jay-Z and Lamar a chance to have an historic night.
Live performances are the central focus of the show. Expected to take the stage are Alessia Cara of Brampton, Ont. alongside Khalid and Logic and Rihanna with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller,
Lamar opened the night. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, Bruno Mars with Cardi B, Lady Gaga and Childish Gambino also took the stage with their latest hits.
Other Canadian wins
Leonard Cohen was awarded a Grammy posthumously at the pre-televised ceremony in the category of best rock performance for You Want It Darker.
The song is the title track from the Canadian legend’s 14th and final studio album released a few weeks before his death on Nov. 7, 2016.
More than 70 Grammys have already been given out and three other Canadians were on the receiving end.
Toronto’s The Weeknd won best urban contemporary album for Starboy.
Nova Scotia soprano Barbara Hannigan scored a Grammy for Crazy Girl Crazy in the best classical solo vocal album category.
Charles Moniz of Burlington, Ont., shared a Grammy win for 24K Magic by Mars, which won best engineered album, non-classical.
The main Grammy Awards, will be handed out during a live broadcast from New York to mark its 60th year, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Major categories are listed below.
Record of the year:
- Redbone Childish Gambino
- Despacito Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber
- The Story Of O.J. Jay-Z
- HUMBLE. Kendrick Lamar
- 24K Magic Bruno Mars
Album of the year:
- Awaken, My Love! Childish Gambino
- 4:44 Jay-Z
- DAMN. Kendrick Lamar
- Melodrama Lorde
- 24K Magic Bruno Mars
Song of the year: That’s What I Like Bruno Mars
Best new artist: Alessia Cara