LAS VEGAS – Filipino Americans were on cloud 9 during the just concluded 64th Grammy Awards and maybe even after the event.
This as three FilAms – Olivia Rodrigo and H.E.R. of California and Bruno Mars of Hawaii – won big awards in the event.
Olivia, 19, a singer, composer and actress known as the breakout superstar, romped off with three awards, namely, the Best New Artist award, Best Pop Solo Performance for “Drivers License” and Best Pop Vocal Album for her debut album, “Sour.”
Award-winning R&B singer and musician H.E.R. received her fifth Grammy Award when she took home the award for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Fight For You,” for which she had already won a Golden Globe award, Critics’ Choice award, and an Academy Award.
Multi-talented Hawaii-based Bruno Mars, who had many individual and group awards in previous events, this time won the Record of the Year trophy for the song “Leave the Door Open,” the sultry soulful lead single Mars released as one-half of Silk Sonic, his current collaboration with musician Anderson .Paak.
Olivia, who performed her breakout hit “Drivers License” early in the show, won the coveted Best New Artist award which she acknowledged in her acceptance speech, “This is my biggest dream come true.”
In another speech after winning Best Pop Vocal Album, Olivia dedicated her award to her parents.
“When I was 9 years old, I told my mom I wanted to be a gymnast even though I could barely do a cartwheel. She thought I was joking, but I was super defensive. So the next week when I told her I was going to win a Grammy, she was very supportive even though she probably thought it was just a little kid pipe dream,” she recounted.
Olivia, whose father is Filipino, added: “I want to thank my mom and dad for being equally as proud of me for winning a Grammy as they were when I learned how to do a back walkover.”
Olivia, who hails from Temecula, California and is also an actress on the Disney Channel, was actually nominated for seven awards, including all four major categories, like Record of the Year.
She lost out on one of the four major categories when song of the year went to Silk Sonic’s 1970s-inspired R&B song “Leave the Door Open.” The group is composed of the duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak, who performed the hit on stage to open awards show and returned minutes later to accept their trophy.
“Because of you guys, me and Andy are going to be singing this song forever,” Mars said.
Mars and his partner, aside from winning the biggest award Record of the Year, also won Song of the Year for “Leave the Door Open,” which also earned them the Grammys for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance.
Another FilAm, Saweetie (real name Diamonte Quiava Valentin Harper), was the only female rapper nominated in the Best New Artist for Best Rap Song for the catchy hit “Best Friend,” although she did win the award.
A half Black and half Filipino and Chinese woman, Saweetie has always been vocal and proud of her mixed heritage.
Saweetie said in a recent interview: “The reason why I share both sides is because I know there are Asian kids at home, Black kids at home, and it’s dope to represent where you’re from — because if I can do it, I know they’ll feel like they can do it. I try to share as much as my background as possible, so that kids who need inspiration can identify with me — and so they know that if Saweetie can do it, they can too.”
As part of the American folk group “The New Christy Minstrels,” the guitarist and vocalist Larry Ramos was the first Filipino — and the first person of Asian descent — to win a Grammy. In 1963, Ramos and the group accepted the award for Best Performance by a Chorus for their debut album, “Presenting the New Christy Minstrels.”
Filipino American songwriter and composer for musical theatre and film Robert Lopez had been an EGOT winner, winning at least two awards in the major American awarding bodies: the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards, the Grammy Awards, and the Tony Awards.
Lopez’s first Grammy came in 2012 for Best Musical Theater Album for the hit stage musical “The Book of Mormon.” In 2015, he won Grammys for the soundtrack to “Frozen” and the film’s lead song, “Let It Go” with his wife.