Indian American mega producer Jeff Bhasker, who is one of the hottest pop and hip-hop and in-demand producers in the American music industry, walked away with a Grammy in the ‘Producer of the Year’ (Non-Classical) category during the 58th edition of the coveted awards held Feb. 15 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
One of the biggest hits of 2015, “Uptown Funk,” featuring artist Bruno Mars, which Bhasker co-produced in conjunction with Mark Ronson, also won the ‘Record of the Year’ award. The prolific producer behind much of Kanye West’s “808s & Heartbreak” was bestowed the ‘Producer of the Year’ honor for helming songs such as Elle’s King’s “Aint’s Gonna Drown and “Last Damn Night,” Mikky Ekko’s “Burning Doves” and Cam’s “Runaway Train,” among others.
Bhasker, the son of an Indian American physician and a piano-playing American mother, has created breakaway hits for artists such as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift, Snoop Lion, the Rolling Stones, Blige, Kid Cudi, Jay-Z and Drake.
“Amy,” the documentary by Indo-British filmmaker Asif Kapadia about the life of late pop star Amy Winehouse, won a Grammy Award in the ‘Best Music Film’ category. Kapadia also secured a British Academy Film and Television Award, or BAFTA, for “Amy,” in the ‘Best Documentary’ category during a glittering ceremony held Feb. 14 at the Royal Opera House in London, England.
At the Grammy Awards, “Amy” beat out “The Wall,” “Sonic Highways,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown.” For the BAFTA, Kapadia’s “Amy” was up against “Cartel Land,” “He Named Me Malala,” “Listen to me Marlon” and “Sherpa.”
Paying tribute to one of the biggest music icons in British history, Kapadia said onstage during BAFTA: “We really fell in love with her when making the film. And our aim and mission was really to try and tell the truth about her. To show the world what an amazing person she was, how intelligent, how witty, how beautiful she was, before it all kind of got out of control and went a bit crazy.”
Kapadia has won the BAFTA honor twice in the past. In 2012, he picked up a BAFTA for “Senna” and in 2003 for “The Warrior.” The documentary uses previously unseen footage of the “Back to Black” star who died of alcohol poisoning in 2011, at the age of 27. Winehouse’s family initially endorsed the project but later disassociated itself from the film.
The biggest night of the year in music also secured a win for world renowned Indian American alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, who featured in the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, “The Afro Latin Jazz Suite,” which snagged the top honor in the ‘Best Instrumental Composition’ category.
Acclaimed sitarist Anoushka Shankar, who presented at the 58th annual Grammy Awards, said she had “fun” being backstage with the people she admires. Anoushka was also nominated for an award in the Best World Music Album category for her solo album “Home” but she couldn’t grab the coveted trophy. This was the fifth time that Anoushka was nominated for the Grammy Awards. She lost out to Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo. “I teased Angelique to stop beating me in that category! She’s an amazing artist and woman and deserves every win though,” Anoushka sportingly said about her defeat.
Shankar praised Indo-British filmmaker Asif Kapadia for winning Best Music Film award for “Amy”, a documentary on the life of late singer Amy Winehouse. “Oh, without doubt he deserved that win. ‘Amy’ is an incredible documentary into the life of a unique artist and the trials of an addict. Recovery is something very close to my heart for personal reasons and therefore, the film impacted me greatly,” she said.