Ledisi wins first Grammy after multiple nominations

The New Orleans-born R&B stylist was awarded her first Grammy after 13 previous nominations

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New-Orleans born Ledisi has been recognized for her sultry vocals and beautiful songs for most of her almost three-decade career, but after eight studio albums and 13 Grammy nominations, Ledisi can finally say she’s a Grammy Award winner.

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The 48-year-old singer/songwriter won the Best Traditional R&B Performance Award for “Anything for You” on the 63rd annual Grammys handed out on Sunday night. It was far from a traditional Grammy night as the usual large-scale event was done without an audience and some artists were at home accepting awards.

Speaking about the lead single off her 2020 release The Wild Card, Ledisi told American Songwriter the song was about the power of love and that although it was written even before the pandemic hit, it turned out to be the right song at the right moment.

“It’s about loving and the strength of love, going to every extreme to show how much I love you, even past this time,” she says.

Ledisi, along with her husband Ron T. Young, accepted the award from what appeared to be a room backstage set up for that purpose, both of them looking shocked as Ledisi won in a category that included The Baylor Project and Chloe x Halle.

“Thank you God for this amazing gift,” Ledisi said. “Mama, look, look mom! To my amazing husband, Ron I love you, you’ve been there all the way,” as Ron popped a bottle of celebratory bubbly by her side.

Ledisi thanked a host of musicians she’s worked with throughout her career, including producer Rex Rideout and her co-songwriters on “Anything for You,” as well as her managers, fans and the Recording Academy. She concluded by acknowledging her fellow nominees and indie artists.

“To all my fellow nominees and creatives out there, please keep going. We endure. Oh my Goooood!”

The Grammy has been a long time coming in a storied career that began with her independent release Soulsinger: The Revival in 2000. From then on, Ledisi, born Ledisi Anibade, has earned a legion of fans, if not the commercial success that others in her jazz/soul genre have seen.

63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards – Premiere Ceremony
Ledisi and Ron T. Young accept the Best Traditional R&B Performance Award

Ledisi would have continued on the wrong side of music history without a win tonight as she was among a group of Black recording artists who had had the most nominations without wins in Grammy history. Along with Ledisi, Nas ended his losing streak Sunday night by winning Best Rap Album for King’s Disease on his 14th try. Brian McKnight is the most nominated artist not to win a Grammy with 17 overall nominations.

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In the Grammy pre-telecast, Ledisi performed with Kamasi Washington, PJ Morton, and Gregory Porter to commemorate the 50 anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On released in 1971.

The performance was also promoting Gaye’s lesser-known instrumental album called Funky Nation: The Detroit Instrumentals, released this year as a standalone project for the first time. The album was done the year after What’s Going On was released with a then 17-year-old Ray Parker, Jr. and Wah Wah Watson on guitars, bass player Michael Henderson and the late Hamilton Bohannon on drums, among others.

Watch the performance below:

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