Sure, every Grammy Awards ceremony has a couple of musicians nominated for Best New Artist who aren’t really new in any sense of the word. In 2012, Wisconsin singer/songwriter Justin Vernon, better known as Bon Iver, takes that distinction.
Despite the fact that his first album, “For Emma, Forever Ago” was released in 2007 and swept the music world in 2008, Vernon was nominated for Best New Artist for his 2011 self-titled effort. Aside from the head-scratching distinction as “new,” though, we’d say Vernon’s Grammy is well-deserved. “Bon Iver” was certainly one of our favorite albums of 2011, and the band also took home the award for Best Alternative Music Album.
Vernon, who declined the offer to perform during the ceremony because he didn’t want to collaborate with another artist, took the opportunity during his acceptance speech to air some of his discomfort with the whole Grammy process (and even became the first person of the night played off of the stage).
“It’s really hard to accept this award,” Vernon says. “There’s so much talent out there and on this stage. There’s so much talent that not’s here. … It’s also hard to accept because when I started making songs I started for the inherent reward of making songs.”
The speech was truly heartfelt, though. He thanked “all the nominees, all the non-nominees that have never been here and never will be here,” shouted out his hometown of Eau Clair, Wisc. and thanked the academy for the “sweet hookup.”