Congratulations to Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, who won last night's Grammy award for Best New Artist. He had previously acted ambivalently about the award, quoted in Billboard as saying, "We kind of said, 'Fuck you' a little bit," when asked to perform live at the award ceremony. Still, he showed up and, humbled, won both for Best New Artist and for Best Alternative Album. Gawker thinks his New Artist acceptance speech "dripped with ironic detachment," but that clearly is not the case. "When I started to make songs, I did it for the inherent reward of making songs," he said, which is unbelievably earnest and feels indisputably true. Last year I wrote a brief polemic asking, Who cares about the Grammys? In large part they did (and do) feel irrelevant and off base. But watching Vernon accept with geeky sincerity, it turned out he cared. Maybe we should, too. Watch him accept above and watch his press conference backstage below.
February 13, 2012