Adele ended her night at the 2017 Grammy Awards with back-to-back wins for album of the year and record of the year, but used her final moments on stage to salute Beyoncé and her "monumental" album "Lemonade." Beyoncé, meanwhile, wowed the audience with a spiritual performance and also took home the prize for urban contemporary album. Chance the Rapper was also among the top winners of the night, taking the prize for new artist as well as rap album.
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Given that William Bell's now-standard songs “Born Under a Bad Sign” and “You Don’t Miss Your Water” have been performed by artists including Brian Eno, Jimi Hendrix, Linda Ronstadt, Homer Simpson and Carole King, it's a mystery how he could live 77 years without one. His victory for Americana album Grammy caps an illustrious career that got its start during the heyday of Memphis soul label Stax.
Bell was also nominated for traditional R&B song for his "Three of Me," but Grammy voters awarded Lalah Hathaway's "Angel," instead. Bell spoke to The Times in December after he learned he was nominated.
Were you surprised to be acknowledged in both an R&B and an Americana category?
When I did the project, [producer and arranger] John Leventhal and I wanted to just broaden the genre a little bit and try to reach out with soul music. I think we were able to accomplish that. We didn't know if we could or not. I'm just elated that the Americana genre has embraced it, and also the R&B-soul genre has also embraced it.
Your music has crossed over many times in your career. Why do you think that is?
I think some of the reason for that, probably, is that my writing is about truth, you know? People all over the world can relate to what's happening in their lives if it's done in a truthful way. We all have the same wishes, desires and frustrations through our lives. So I think that's one of the reasons.