LOS ANGELES —
British singer-songwriter Sam Smith took top honors at the music industry's Grammy Awards Sunday in Los Angeles, where he earned four awards, including best new artist. The musician Beck was a surprise winner of the key award of album of the year.
It was no surprise when Smith, the soulful 22-year-old English singer, was named best new artist. Smith also won Grammys for best pop vocal album for In the Lonely Hour, and song and record of the year for the track "Stay With Me".
Smith said that when he started in his career, he was desperate to get his music heard.
“I tried to lose weight and I was making awful music. It was only until I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen. So thank you, guys,” said Smith.
Backstage, as he struggled to hold his four Grammy statuettes, Smith said he grew up obsessed with celebrity culture and that being at the Grammys is a thrill.
“And when you start to meet everyone, you start to realize they are just humans, you know. They're just very talented humans, and it's an honor to be sitting with people like that,” he said.
Album of the Year
A surprised rock musician Beck walked on stage reluctantly to accept the Grammy for album of the year for Morning Phase. He also won the award for best rock album.
Country musician Dwight Yoakam, speaking backstage about Beck's triumph, had praise for the musician, who has explored genres from alternative rock to hip hop. The two collaborated on a 2012 album.
“He really embodies the spirit of awe about music and exploration in music. He has a reverence for music, and in that reverence, he's willing to be irreverent at times,” Yoakam said.
Beyoncé earned three Grammys, including best R&B song and best R&B performance with her husband Jay Z for "Drunk in Love".
“Wow. Thank you guys so much. This is such an honor. I'd like to thank God. This has been such an incredible year. I love you all,” she said while accepting the award.
Rapper Pharrell Williams also earned three awards, including for best pop solo performance for the song Happy.
Country singer Roseanne Cash also earned three Grammys.
Miranda Lambert earned the Grammy for best Country album for Platinum. Backstage, she said the win shows that people are paying attention to her music.
“And it's moving people. That's why we make music, to move people. So this makes all that make sense,” said Lambert.
President Barack Obama appeared in a public service announcement during the broadcast urging an end to domestic violence, and a survivor of violence offered her testimonial.
The evening featured more than 35 performers, many in groups that crossed barriers of age, style and genre, including a duet by 88-year-old Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. The pair won a Grammy for best traditional pop vocal album for their joint recording "Cheek to Cheek".
LISTEN: Ray McDonald's VOA One Grammy Podcast