Macklemore and Ryan Lewis got off to a fast start Sunday, receiving three Grammys in ceremonies at the Nokia Theater prior to the Sunday night's telecast.
The hip-hop duo swept the rap song ("Thrift Shop"), album ("The Heist") and performance ("Thrift Shop") categories. The rap/sung collaboration award, where they were not nominated, will be handed out on air.
Daft Punk were among the double winners in the pre-telecast as "Random Access Memories" was named best dance/electronica album and best engineered album, non-classical. Pharrell Williams, who appears on Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," was named producer of the year, non-classical.
"The time that went into this was like a Steely Dan record," mastering engineer Bob Ludwig said backstage. He became involved with project through guitarist Nile Rodgers, whose work together dates back the guitarist's work with Chic and "Let's Dance" with David Bowie. "The point of view was this record has to be perfect. There was no stone unturned, no dollar unspent."
Cyndi Lauper, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, La Santa Cecilia, Roomful of Teeth and Tye Tribbett were presenters and performers during the pre-telecast who were also winners. Tribbett said being asked to present was "their way of saying you didn't win." He was honored for gospel song and gospel album.
Musselwhite, the Chicago blues harpist who turns 70 on Jan. 31, won his first Grammy, taking home the blues album trophy for his album with Harper "Get Up!"
As usual, artists blended the humorous and the heartfelt in speeches that could be heard this year via stream on Grammy.com.
Composer Maria Schneider was particularly vocal in her acceptance speech and backstage in talking about copyright protection. Her album "Winter Morning Walks" cost $200,000 and she received more than half of that from fans through ArtistShare. While that allows her to establish a sustainable relationship with fans, she finds herself spending extraordinary amounts of time getting her rmusic removed from websites.
The current digital law, she said, "is anemic and does nothing. It's a whack-a-mole game [stopping copyright abuse]. It is do-or-die for creative artists if we don't band together and lobby Congress. We can't make a living this way."
"Winter Morning Walks," recorded with singer Dawn Upshaw, was one of the most-honored works in the pre-telecast, receiving four awards -- contemporary classical composition, classical vocal solo, engineered classical album and producer of the year, classical.
A few items of interest:
Adele and Paul Epworth hit a trifecta with "Skyfall" adding the Grammy for song written for visual media to their Oscar and Golden Globe for the James Bond tune.
Drummer Terri Lynne Carrington became the first woman in Grammy history to win in a jazz instrumental category. Her Concord Jazz release "Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue" won for jazz instrumental album. "More than rooting for myself," Carrington said backstage, "I just rooted for me because it was nice to break through that barrier finally. Maybe women will have more of a chance of winning Grammys in instrumental music."
Mandisa, a former "American Idol" finalist who has found a home in Contemporary Christian Music, was responsible for two wins: Her "Overcomer" was the CCM album honoree and the title track was honored as best CCM song.
Al Schmitt won his 23rd Grammy, receiving the surround sound album award for the Paul McCartney album "Live Kisses." "Live Kisses" was also won for music film.
Herb Alpert won his first Grammy since 1979, his seventh overall, for pop instrumental album.
World Music and historic albums had rare ties: Gipsy Kings' "Savor Flamenco" and Ladysmith Black Mambazo's "Live: Singing for Peace Around the World" won the world gramophone and "Charlie is My Darling - Ireland 1965" was honored along with "The Complete Sussex and Columbia Records" of Bill Withers received the historic trophies.
La Santa Cecilia lead singer La Marisoul dedicated the win for Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album. to "the 11 million undocumented people who live and work hard in this country and need to live a more dignified life."
After winning the children's album Grammy, Jennifer Gasoi declared she was the first Canadian to win in the category. She said the music is designed to inspire children to "take risks and live the life you are meant to live."
Neil Tesser noted that the album notes category was in its 50th year and he thanked the Academy not just for his award -- for the John Coltrane "Afro Blue Impressions" reissue -- but also for keeping the category in the lineup.