The 2020 Grammy Awards were a success by many measures – however, as with any awards show, there are always some disappointed artists the morning after. One such artist, indie music icon Bon Iver, struggled to find words after the picture he sent in failed to win in the Best Record and Best Album of the Year categories.
“I’m not going to lie, it hurts,” said the 38-year old performer from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. “That was the best picture I’ve ever sent in to the Recording Academy: my beard was looking great, it had a leaf wedged into a flower, some black fuzzy things stuck to my face for intrigue, and I was wearing my best Hawaiian jungle shirt.”
“Sometimes you get a little depressed wondering what kind of picture is it going to take to win?” the songwriter said, shaking his head. “I mean, where do I go from here?”
One In A Million
The picture, which was chosen from thousands of photo sessions conducted throughout the year by the style-conscious singer-songwriter in preparation for the show, had to make it thru a gauntlet of evaluations.
“We shot on every continent in every weather imaginable last year,” he said. “You have to really get into the process before you see what’s working.”
“We took one photo of me astride a Bengal tiger in Mumbai holding a scroll made of parchment which looked amazing. But then there was another shot of me climbing naked out of the Arctic sea looking up at an Emperor Penguin who was wearing a velour neckerchief and holding a crossbow. That also looked like a winner.”
In the end, Mr. Iver and his management settled on the photo with the flower and sent it in to the judges. “After we sent it, we all just looked at each other and knew we had made the right choice. So, it’s tough to be sitting here 3 months later and still no award,” he said quietly.
Hope Springs Eternal
Although Mr. Iver stays busy with recording and performing, he has already started work on a photo for next year’s show.
“I know this is not a competition – every artist should be celebrated for the beauty in their individual work – but my team has started kicking around some ideas for a photo for next year. I don’t want to give too much away, but it involves some butterflies, a silver chalice, and several barnyard animals wearing 70’s-themed clothing.”
“Without getting too cocky, we think it’s going to be a winner,” he said. “If not for Record of the Year, at least for one of the technical categories like Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical.”
“Yeah,” he added wistfully, looking at a concept sketch of an albino lemur wearing a Carhart jacket and holding a gold sextant, “that would be pretty sweet.”
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