Joey Alexander just received a standing ovation at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.
In addition to being one of the youngest artists to receive a Grammy nomination, the 12-year-old pianist and Motema recording artist also became one of the youngest people to ever grace the stage at the Grammys – And he managed to do it twice in one night.
Alexander performed Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance” yesterday afternoon during the Grammys pre-telecast ceremony before making his way across the street to the Staples Center to prepare for his next performance.
After being introduced by National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences president Neil Portnow and rapper Common, Alexander performed a solo rendition of his original composition “City Lights,” which is a Latin-infused ode to his new home of New York City – Almost 10,000 miles away from his native Indonesia.
Amusingly, it seemed like Herbie Hancock (Alexander’s mentor), Jidenna, Don Chedle, and Paul Schafer were the only ones that knew what was going on, while the rest of the audience looked on almost bemused by the 12-year-old’s virtuosity.
Alexander’s rendition of Giant Steps was nominated for ‘Best Improvised Jazz Solo’ at this year’s Grammys, while his début album My Favourite Things was also nominated for ‘Best Jazz Instrumental Album.’ Although he didn’t win this year, he became the first jazz performer in recent memory to stand as a named performer at the Grammys’ main televised event. For the first time in a long time, a jazz performer performed on the same stage as the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Adele, and Justin Bieber.
Arguably, that’s worth a lot more than a Grammy…