There were over two dozen Bay Area nominees at the 2019 Grammys—most of them in blues, jazz, classical and other categories you won't see on TV. The seven awards Bay Area artists took home attest to the breadth and diversity of the region's creative scenes.
Vallejo-raised singer H.E.R. won Best R&B Performance for "Best Part" with Daniel Caesar and Best R&B Album for her self-titled 2017 project. On stage at the Staples Center, where the ceremony took place, her performance of the cathartic love song "Hard Place" represented a full-circle moment: H.E.R. made her industry debut when she covered Alicia Keys on the Today Show at 12 years old, and at the Grammys, Alicia Keys introduced her on stage with enthusiastic praise: "She's completely in charge of her sound and creative process, and that's what makes her next."
Oakland blues luminary Fantastic Negrito took home the award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for his Please Don't Be Dead, a roots rock, blues and funk record that optimistically delivers a defiant message of survival. High on Fire, a veteran Oakland metal band, won Best Metal Performance for their high-intensity album Electric Messiah, a tribute to the late Lemmy Kilmister from pioneering hard rock band Motörhead.
Forward-thinking string ensemble Kronos Quartet won for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for their moody, surreal collaborative album Landfall with interdisciplinary artist Laurie Anderson, who was the resident artistic director at SFJazz in 2018. Composer Mason Bates took home Best Opera Recording for The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, an opera about the Apple founder coming to San Francisco Opera in the 2019-2020 season. (It debuted with the Santa Fe Opera in 2017). And engineer Shawn Murphy won Best Engineered Classical Album for his work on Boston Symphony Orchestra's Shostakovich Symphonies Nos. 4 and 11.
This post has been updated to reflect H.E.R.'s Best R&B Album win.