The Grammy’s definitely looked a little different this year, but it was still a celebration of rock and alternative music from the last year. Musicians tuned in from all over the world through the power of video call to celebrate and accept their awards.
The rock and alternative categories were presented earlier than the general field alongside the other, genre-specific award. Here are all of the rock and alternative award winners and the nominees that they were up against.
Best Rock Performance: Fiona Apple – ‘Shameika’
Fiona Apple brought home the award for Best Rock Performance with ‘Shameika’, taken from her universally acclaimed album Fetch the Bolt Cutters. The singer released a video before the ceremony explaining why she was choosing not to attend. “It’s not because I’m trying to protest, even though I have problems with the Grammys”, she explained, expressing instead her discomfort about appearing on national television and the effect it could have on her sobriety.
‘Shameika’ is one of the most popular songs from her latest album, telling the story of an encounter she had with a classmate and the lasting effect it had on her confidence. As it happens, the titular Shameika Stepney went on to become a rapper, and recently reunited with Apple to re-record the song as ‘Shameika Said’.
Big Thief – ‘Not’
Phoebe Bridgers – ‘Kyoto’
Haim – ‘The Steps’
Brittany Howard – Stay High’
Grace Potter – ‘Daylight’
Best Metal Performance: Body Count – ‘Bum-Rush’
Ice-T proves himself once again to be a force to be reckoned with. First establishing himself as a rapper, he now holds Grammy awards in both rap and metal categories – talk about range. This is the band’s second nomination and first ever win at the awards ceremony. The song, and accompanying music video, are a battle-cry to overcome distractions and unite as a force for good. Ice-T has said that the track is inspired by Public Enemy and The Prodigy. He accepted the award from his home, along with his wife and daughter.
Code Orange – ‘Underneath’
In This Moment – ‘The In-Between’
Poppy – ‘Bloodmoney’
Power Trip – Executioner’s Tax (Swing of The Axe) – Live
Best Rock Album: The Strokes – The New Abnormal
The Stroke’s critically acclaimed release The New Abnormal won them the coveted Best Rock Album award. The New Abnormal was more than just an oddly fitting title for the time of release, it was a project that took on a range of alternative influences to provide a refreshing take on indie rock. Of course, there have been a lot of really impressive rock album releases in the last 12 months, but The Strokes were deserving recipients. They also represented the pain we’ve all experienced this year in the moment of uncomfortable silence at the beginning of their speech – their connection had cut out and they didn’t realise that they had won.
Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death
Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
Grace Potter – Daylight
Sturgill Simpson – Sound & Fury
Best Rock Song: Brittany Howard – ‘Stay High’
Another genre-spanning Grammy winner this year is Brittany Howard, who took home the award for Best Rock Song with ‘Stay High’, from her debut solo album Jaime. The album also earned her nominations in the Alternative, American Roots and R&B genre categories. With her name in five categories, she was the third-highest nominated artist at the ceremony this year, after Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. ‘Stay High’ is a prime example of how great music can be created when you don’t limit yourself by genre or sound. Howard also performed at the ceremony in the In Memorium segment, which remembered musicians who have passed away in the last year.
Phoebe Bridgers – ‘Kyoto’
Tame Impala – ‘Lost in Yesterday’
Big Thief – ‘Not’
Fiona Apple – ‘Shameika’
Best Alternative Music Album: Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Fiona Apple appears once again in the list for Best Alternative Album, with Fetch the Bolt Cutters. It came as no surprise to anyone, particularly the fans that predicted she would be nominated in the general field, that she won. Fetch the Bolt Cutters is a difficult album to categorise, but whatever way you define it she still made one of the best albums of 2020.
Beck – Hyperspace
Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
Brittany Howard – Jaime
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush