On Wednesday night (Dec. 5), fun. capped a breakout year by scoring a whopping six Grammy nominations, including album of the year for their sophomore disc “Some Nights,” best new artist, and record of the year and song of the year for their No. 1 hit “We Are Young.” Only one artist — Christopher Cross, in 1981 — has swept those four major categories in the history of the awards, and the upstart alt-pop trio has a chance to dominate the yearly music ceremony they idolized as kids.
“You grow up watching the Grammys — it’s the ultimate benchmark for a musician to even be nominated,” multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost, who makes up fun. with Jack Antonoff and Nate Ruess, tells Billboard. “So we’re very, very thrilled. [Wednesday] night, we felt like we finally belonged in this world, on this planet, and it felt very good.”
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After releasing debut album “Aim and Ignite” in 2009, the New York group’s second album reached a new plateau of success almost immediately after its Feb. 21 release. “Some Nights” debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, and less than one month later, “We Are Young” (featuring Janelle Monae) ascended to No. 1 on the Hot 100, where it spent seven weeks. With another Top 5 hit in “Some Nights,” multiple awards show and festival performances and even a few “Glee” renditions rounding out the year, fun.’s stellar Grammys showing was widely expected — except by the band itself, who performed “We Are Young” at the Grammy Nominations concert in Nashville on Wednesday night.
“We’re aware that ‘We Are Young’ had a very big year, but I don’t think you can prepare yourself for that sort of thing, especially with album [of the year] and best new artist,” says Dost, whose band will compete against Frank Ocean, Alabama Shakes, Hunter Hayes and the Lumineers in the latter category. “The best new artist category was just so inspiring to even hear those names read off. It’s very exciting to be in that kind of company.”
When the dust had settled in Nashville and the trio had officially earned six Grammy nominations, Dost says that he, Ruess and Antonoff came together, “booted everybody out of the room except for the three of us,” and reflected on the monumental achievement. Then, they went out. “We had a couple drinks,” says Dost. “We went to this place that served tater tots and little fried donut things, and Nate had a peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwich. And that was our night!”
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After performing at Z-100’s Jingle Ball concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Friday night, fun. will continue performing across the U.S. through mid-February. And while the trio is always thinking about new music, Dost is happy to let their album-of-the-year nominee live for a little while.
“The mindset is now in a nebulous area, because we want to start focusing our energies toward a new album, but at the same time, we’re still so thoroughly wrapped up in ‘Some Nights,'” he says. “We’re always talking about what the next album could sound like — we never really stop with that sort of thing — but we won’t really get serious about that probably until next summer, or something. In the meantime, we’re mostly focused on the tour, and putting everything we have into playing these songs.”