This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on March 11, 1996. Partner content is not updated.
Canadian Women Dominate GrammysIt was ladies' night at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last week - Canadian ladies. Ottawa-born rocker Alanis Morissette led the pack, scooping up four Grammys. Her hit single, You Oughta Know, captured best rock song and best female rock performance. Jagged Little Pill, her frankly sexual breakthrough CD, which has sold eight million copies worldwide, also won album of the year and best rock album. Groundbreaking folk singer Joni Mitchell walked away with two gramophone statuettes, for pop album of the year and best recording package, for her Turbulent Indigo. And Timmins, Ont.'s gift to country music, Shania Twain, picked up best country album honors for The Woman in Me.
In all, Canadians claimed a record 12 Grammys at the 38th annual ceremony. Other winners:
1) Charles Dutoit, conductor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, for best opera recording for Berlioz: Les Troyens.
2) Toronto-area jazzman Rob McConnell, for best instrumental arrangement with accompanying vocals (I Get a Kick Out of You, with Mel Torme).
3) Toronto's Rob Bowman, for best album notes for The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles,Volume 3: 1972-1975.
4) Toronto-based jazz arranger Robert Farnon for best instrumental arrangement for Lament.
5) Montreal-based director François Girard for best long-format video for Secret World Live.
But it also was the year that the Los Angeles-based National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the industry group in charge of the Grammys, finally bowed to pressure to recognize cutting-edge acts. The 21-year-old Morissette prevailed despite pre-show speculation that she had too many rough edges for the Grammys. And pop star Mariah Carey, tied with Morissette for the most nominations (six each), went away empty-handed. Morissette drew some gasps from the audience as she performed her hit, complete with the F-word and references to oral sex. (CBS lowered the volume of its live broadcast at critical points.) And, continuing her tradition of shunning the media, she did not join other winners to talk to the reporters afterwards and declined Canadian interview requests. That meant her signature quote for the evening, uttered after she accepted the best female rock vocalist award, was open to various interpretations: "This does not represent the fact that I am better than any of the other women nominated." But that may simply have been understandable jitters of a newcomer who had just prevailed over Joan Osborne and Carey. She hit the nail on the head, though, when she continued: "It does represent that people connected with what we wrote."
Other signs that the Grammys are trying to be more hip: British soul singer Seal won record of the year and song of the year for the ballad Kiss From a Rose. And grunge rockers Pearl Jam took the Grammy for best hard rock performance for Spin the Black Circle.
Interestingly, the three successful Canadian women all record in the United States, and two of them, Mitchell and Twain, are permanent U.S. residents. "I never really was aware of the border," Twain said backstage. Now a resident of upstate New York with her husband, record producer Robert John (Mutt) Lange, she added: "I like to keep it that way actually, even now."
Maclean's March 11, 1996