The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach had three Grammys in his possession before the 55th annual Grammy Awards telecast began Sunday night.
Auerbach was named producer of the year, non-classical, and the Black Keys' "Lonely Boy" was named best rock song and "El Camino" best rock album. Seventy Grammy Awards were handed out during the pre-telecast, held for the first time in the Nokia Theater across the street from Staples Center where the TV show is held.
The Black Keys were just one of a few artists who had won two each in the pre-telecast ceremony. Jay-Z and Kanye West's "N****s in Pari," was named best rap song and best performance; Gotye's "Making Mirrors" was named best alternative album and "Somebody That I Used to Know" was deemed best pop duo/group performance.
The teams of Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile also won a pair as did jazz pianist Chick Corea, Christian artist Matt Redmond and bassist-composer Esperanza Spalding.
Taylor Swift, who is scheduled to open the Grammy Awards telecast, won her first Grammy of the night for song written for visual media. Swift wrote "Safe and Sound," John Paul White, T Bone Burnett and Joy Williams for "Hunger Games" and the entire team showed up despite White and Williams no longer working together as the Civil Wars.
"It's such a privilege to do a collaboration with a friend like Taylor," White said in her acceptance speech. "I like it when they call because you know something fun is abut to happen."
Drake's "Take Care" won the rap album award. The other awards in the rap category, rap/sung collaboration, will be given out on air. "Blown Away" was named best Country Song; country album and country solo performance will be given out on air.
Bonnie Raitt won in the Americana category, the eighth category in which she has won a Grammy. "They're trying to put us in a box," she said of the genre, "but they can't. This is just good music."
As performers made their way backstage they often spoke about the importance of making music from the heart. Robert Glasper, the pianist, won R&B album award for "Black Radio," said he created most of the record on the spot in the studio, trusting the instincts of his musicians.
"We're all jazz musicians," Glasper said, "but everybody is (proficient) in all forms of black music - jazz, funk, R&B, rock 'n' roll, gospel. We're comfortable with all of them and we're able to play everything with authenticity."
Jazz musicians swept the three composing/arranging awards, with Spalding sharing the instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist award with her teacher since she was 8, Thara Memory.
Corea and Pat Metheny, both of whom have now won 20 Grammy Awards each, unveiled their plans for the coming year. Corea, who released six albums in 2012, says he will put out 10 this year. Metheny, who won for his Unity band project, said the Grammy win is part of the impetus to continue working with the group and they will tour again this year and release a second album in 2014.
During the pre-telecast ceremony, the Recording Academy asks that only winners come to the stage to pick up their Grammys. An exception was made for nominee Anoushka Shankar who picked up the World Music Album award for her late father, Ravi Shankar.
"It's OK to lose when you lose to your father," she told the audience. "I'm really proud he was making records to the end. He recorded this when he was 91, released it when he was 92 on a label he founded when he was 89."
The Recording Academy continues to expand the entertainment offerings during the pre-tel as five musical performances were part of this year's show. Among the performers were Americana nominee John Fullbright, the new music sextet Eighth Blackbird and trumpeter Hugh Masekela. Krishna Das and his quartet performed gently melodic variations on the Yardbirds' "For Your Love" on Indian instruments and guitar.
Eighth Blackbird received the chamber music/small ensemble performance Grammy for their Cedille Records release "Meanwhile." The album's title track was awarded the contemporary classical composition trophy for its composer, Stephen Hartke.