She did it! Sara Bareilles finally won a Grammy on her eighth nomination in 11 years. On Sunday afternoon she claimed Best American Roots Performance for her song “Saint Honesty” from her latest album “Amidst the Chaos” (listen to it above). It was her first nomination in the American Roots field, and it was her only nomination this year, but it was enough to finally end her losing streak after more than a decade.
But it wasn’t just the Grammys where Bareilles couldn’t get arrested. She has also been nominated for two Tonys and three Emmys, to no avail. Industry groups have admired her enough to nominate her, but up until now she hadn’t gotten a single major trophy from her peers. She even sang about it when she hosted the Tonys in 2018 with Josh Groban, who has also earned Tony, Grammy and Emmy nominations without a single win. That song they wrote about losing showbiz awards actually earned them one of their Emmy nominations … which they lost.
Alas, Groban wasn’t nominated for any Grammys this year, so he still hasn’t won a major award for his work on stage or screen or in the recording studio, but the Grammys made it up to multiple artists who they’ve kept waiting. Sound engineer Morten Lindberg finally ended the Grammys’ worst losing streak when he won Best Immersive Audio Album for “Lux” — that was his first win on his 28th try.
Country legend Tanya Tucker, won the first two Grammys of her career at age 61: Best Country Album for “While I’m Livin'” and Best Country Song for “Bring My Flowers Now,” which she co-wrote with Brandi Carlile. Tucker had been nominated 10 times before, stretching back to 1973, but she hadn’t taken home a single trophy until now.
Rapper J. Cole also got on the board. He broke out in 2012 with a nomination for Best New Artist. Eight years and 12 nominations later he finally entered the winner’s circle, winning Best Rap Song as a co-writer of 21 Savage‘s “A Lot,” on which he also performed as a featured artist.
And while much of the attention for the record-breaking “Old Town Road” has gone to newcomer Lil Nas X, the two victories for that song (Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Music Video) were also the first Grammys for Billy Ray Cyrus, who hadn’t even been nominated by the recording academy since 1994.
Other artists with fewer Grammys than you might think also won elusive awards. Gloria Gaynor won her first and only prize in 1980: Best Disco Recording for her classic “I Will Survive.” Now 40 years later she won Best Roots Gospel Album for “Testimony.” Survive indeed.
Legendary British artist Elvis Costello was a surprise winner for Best Traditional Pop Album for “Look Now.” You might think he has a large collection of Grammys to add that to, but his only other career victory out of 15 nominations was Best Pop Collaboration in 1999 for “I Still Have That Other Girl.”
Who was your favorite Grammy first-timer this year? And what hip-hop remix can we get Josh Groban on to finally get him up on an awards stage with a trophy in hand?