Indie Labels Made Up Over 40 Percent Of Grammy Wins In 2018

At this year’s Grammy Awards, the independent community took home more than 40 percent of The Recording Academy honors, earning 36 of the awards’ 84 categories. Among those wins were Best American Roots Performance (Alabama Shakes/ATO Records), Best Alternative Music Album (The National/4AD), Best Bluegrass Album (The Infamous Stringdusters/Compass Records).

Thirty Tigers took home four honors, including two for Jason Isbell (The Nashville Sound/Best Americana Album and “If We Were Vampires”/Best American Roots Song). Thirty Tigers also claims another two wins with CeCe Winans for Best Gospel Performance/Song and Best Gospel Album.

“Independent artists swept more than forty percent of last night’s wins at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in New York City,” said A2IM CEO Richard James Burgess. “A2IM is gratified that our peers, The Recording Academy voting members, so powerfully endorsed the diverse musical values and relevance of our independent community.”

List of all Independent Label Winners:

Best Alternative Music Album
The National, Sleep Well Beast (4AD)

Best Americana Album
Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound (Thirty Tigers)

Best American Roots Performance
Alabama Shakes, “Killer Diller Blues” (ATO Records)

Best American Roots Song
“If We Were Vampires” – Jason Isbell, songwriter (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit) (Thirty Tigers)

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella
John Williams, arranger (John Williams), Escapades For Alto Saxophone And Orchestra From Catch Me If You Can (Ropeadope LLC Waterbaby Music Inc/Ropeadope LLC)

Best Bluegrass Album
The Infamous Stringdusters, Laws of Gravity (Compass Records)
Rhonda Vincent And The Rage, All The Rage – In Concert Volume One [Live] (Upper Management)

Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package
Lawrence Azerrad, Timothy Daly & David Pescovitz, art directors (Various Artists), The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition (Ozma Records)

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
Patricia Kopatchinskaja & The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Death & The Maiden (Naxos)

Best Children’s Album
Lisa Loeb, Feel What U Feel (Furious Rose Productions)

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
Barbara Hannigan (Ludwig Orchestra), Crazy Girl Crazy (Alpha)

Best Classical Compendium
Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor. Tim Handley, producer (James Button, Roberto Díaz & Nashville Symphony), Higdon: All Things Majestic, Viola Concerto & Oboe Concerto (Naxos)

Best Contemporary Blues Album
Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’, TajMo (Self Release (Concord))

Best Contemporary Classical Composition
Jennifer Higdon, composer (Roberto Díaz, Giancarlo Guerrero & Nashville Symphony), Viola Concerto (Naxos)

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
Jeff Lorber Fusion, Prototype (eOne)

Best Engineered Album, Classical
Mark Donahue, engineer (Manfred Honeck & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra), Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Barber: Adagio (Reference Recordings)

Best Folk Album
Aimee Mann, Mental Illness (Aimee Mann/SuperEgo Records)

Best Gospel Performance/Song
CeCe Winans, Never Have to Be Alone (PureSprings Gospel)

Best Improvised Jazz Solo
John McLaughlin, Miles Beyond (Abstract Logix)

Best Instrumental Composition
Arturo O’Farrill, composer (Arturo O’Farrill & Chucho Valdés), Three Revolutions (Self Release/Motema)

Best Jazz Vocal Album
Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dreams and Daggers (Mack Avenue Records)

Best Jazz Instrumental Album
Billy Childs, Rebirth (Mack Avenue Records)

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
Christian McBride Big Band, Bringin’ It (Mack Avenue Records)

Best Latin Jazz Album
Pablo Ziegler Trio, Jazz Tango (Zoho Music)

Best Music Film
Various Artists, The Defiant Ones (HBO)

Best New Age Album
Peter Kater, ‘Dancing on Water’ (Point of Light)

Best Orchestral Performance
Manfred Honeck, conductor (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra), “Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Barber: Adagio” (Reference Recordings)

Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano)
Aida Cuevas, Arriero Somos Versiones Acústicas (Self-Release/Cuevas)

Best Recording Package
Sasha Barr, Ed Steed & Josh Tillman, art directors (Father John Misty), Pure Comedy (Deluxe Edition) (Sub Pop)

Best Regional Roots Music Album
Lost Bayou Ramblers, Kalenda (Lost Bayou Ramblers)

Best Roots Gospel Album
Reba McEntire, Sing It Now: Songs Of Faith & Hope (Rockin’ R Records/Big Machine)

Best Song Written For Visual Media
Lin-Manuel Miranda, songwriter (Auli’i Cravalho), ‘How Far I’ll Go’ (Disney)

Best Surround Sound Album
Jim Anderson, surround mix engineer; Darcy Proper, surround mastering engineer; Jim Anderson & Jane Ira Bloom, surround producers (Jane Ira Bloom), Early Americans (Outline Records)

Best Traditional R&B Performance
Childish Gambino, “Redbone” (Glassnote Records)

Best Tropical Latin Album
Rubén Blades Con Roberto Delgado & Orquesta, Salsa Big Band (Self-Release)

Best World Music Album
Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30th Anniversary Celebration (Ladysmith Black Mambazo)


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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at

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