By Katharine W. Poole
For Women of Music Music of Women
The highs and lows of this years Grammy Awards appeared in all forms,
shapes and sizes. A pleasing montage of female representation that may
be a catalyst of change for women in music. Those representing the face
of the music industry certainly had their work cut out for them. In
these challenging times – when female artists are trying to take a stand
and become more “the norm” of airplay rather than the anomaly – it is
imperative to keep the momentum of augmentation going. In short, to be
taken seriously not only in art but in business demonstrating this kind
of portrayal is invaluable. But there are still underlying issues to
unlearn and redefine.
Women are caught up in the industry expectations so much so that they
have become dangerously habitual. To make change one must create
change. Lady Gaga clearly used her understanding of this concept to
propel herself, both in artistry and in business, to a successful and
independent creative standing. She is able to now work on her own terms.
She is asked to risk where others are not. Brava! She receives the
highest note of all for the Grammy performance and Bowie Tribute.
The highs and lows of each performer and presenter were a combination
of technical issues, wardrobe choices and execution. Some are
debatable, others clearly inarguable. There were a few unfortunate
circumstances that come with live performance. There were some unique
choices that come with personality. And there were some stellar tributes
to musicians both living and lost. Contemplated in this week’s Women in
Music Wednesdays are The Nashville 7 Grammy Performance highest and
lowest notes hit by the girls of the 58th Grammy Awards show.
1. A Swift High/Low
It’s too bad Taylor Swift could not be as compelling in her choice of
wardrobe as she was in her brief and empowering acceptance speech for
Album of the Year. Though the speech may have been directed in part to a
certain individual, it was truly and simply poignant and eloquent.
Possibly the most intelligent call-out of this performer’s career thus
far. However, it is hard to take the words seriously while watching them
delivered by a young woman sporting an extremely visible fuchsia
undergarment – that looked like a pair of grandmother’s underwear, or
Bridget Jone’s enormous panties – connected to a fully-slit taffeta prom
skirt. This garment awkwardly combined with a clashing red 70’s style
tube top, that could not help but perpetuate the subjection of women in
the music industry, made for a brazen statement. Shiny? Check. Bold?
Check. 1989? Perhaps, but it fell flat. Check please.
Her performance? Well she’s Taylor. She took the stage by storm in a
glittering cat suit with crystalized boots. There’s no stopping this
tornado. She is clearly always seeking the spotlight.
2. Carrie Me Please!
Carrie Underwood was certainly the high of the duet as she carried Sam
Hunt through his less than impressive performance. Underwood was
exceptional as ever in both Hunt’s Take Your Time and the transition to
her own Heartbeat, but the songs fell short as Hunt was no match for her
ability. The performance seemed endless, taking up too much Grammy
3. Crush This.
Little Big Town’s performance of Girl Crush did just that. Crushed it.
Their simple rendition of their timeless hit was a joy to experience.
Sometimes keeping it true to form is all it takes.
4. All About that Bass huh?
Megan Trainer’s acceptance speech was a painful whine of treble tears.
No bass in this high pitched thank you to her parents and pointing out
that she was “…a mess. I have to go cry.” The beautiful moment for Megan
came in the form of actual tears visible on her father’s face. His
pride silent, but clearly true.
Trainer also unfortunately did not have the gravitas or spirit to be
included on the Lionel Ritchie tribute. Her performance lacked skill,
execution and flair.
5. Lovato Vibrato
First time attendance, first time performance by young songstress Demi
Lovato brought highs and lows all together. In the Tribute to Lionel
Richie, she opened with the first Hello of 1984 #1 fame. She is a strong
and beautiful presence, and in it’s simplest form her voice
complimented the song. But trying to step it up brought a screeching
halt to the joy of hearing this familiar greeting. Keeping it simple
would have made the performance more consistent and captivating.
6. Uh Oh! Can you hear me?
Unfortunately due to technical errors, Adele’s performance was thrown at
the onset. Reportedly one or more of the piano mics fell into the piano
resting upon the strings. The professionalism of Adele was never more
apparent as in this moment. She persevered and as the issues were
remedied ended her ballad All I Ask in the stellar form. Adele brought
her incredible presence and power to the stage – overcoming the sound
issues with – what may not have been pure perfection but certainly was
pure professionalism. Her grace and ability to move on from the moment
by tweeting she was treating herself to In n Out as consolation only
adds to her universal appeal.
7. The Queen of Kings
Bonnie Raitt never disappoints. And true to her form, in a short cameo
amidst male artists in the B.B. King Tribute she rocked the house with
her sultry, bluesy vocals and masterful guitar. Always about the music
and clearly dressed to play, her understated signature black highlights
her strength and iconic elegance in a male dominated genre.
Bonus: The Highest Note of the Night: I’m So High It Makes My Brain Whirl…
The highlight of the night – Lady Gaga – in the form of her stunningly
executed and outfitted tribute to David Bowie. A visionary of class,
talent and artistry, GaGa took the concept of tribute to a new level.
From Major Tom opening; to Ziggy stardust technical effect makeup; to
Fashion and Fame and beyond this medley was a complete show stopper.
Costume changes seamlessly flowing on stage, transitioning as smoothly
as the spot on vocals and impressionist performance. If only David could
see the love he brought to the business and the musical metamorphosis
he has compelled across genders, space and time. GaGa proved a champion
representing the iconic heroism of Bowie, proving women have the ability
to be Heroes of music mastery.
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*The material included in this article is the sole property of the
writer, (Katharine W. Poole,) and the photographer and President/Founder
of WMMW, (Cilene Bosch.) All elements may be used in other publications
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