Bon Iver were the surprise winner at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday (February 12, 2012), picking up the award for Best New Artist despite self-releasing their debut album 'For Emma, Forever Ago', five years ago. The man behind the group, Justin Vernon, was typically gracious during his acceptance speech but revealed he was "uncomfortable" attending such big events.
Bon Iver was the outsider to pick-up Best New Artist, with rapper Nicki Minaj the overwhelming favorite to triumph. Country rockers The Band Perry were also quietly tipped after a superb year, as were nominees J.COLE and Skrillex. However, it was Justin Vernon who took home the award, and with it made a humbling acceptance speech, saying, "It's really hard to accept this award.There's so much talent out here... and there's a lot of talent that's not here tonight. It's also hard to accept because you know, when I started to make songs I did it for the inherent reward of making songs, so I'm a little bit uncomfortable up here". Reaction on Twitter was a mixed, with fans of Minaj outraged the New Yorker didn't win the award and Bon Iver fans obviously delighted. The win was no-doubt a surprise for Vernon himself, who played down his group's chances during an interview with the New York Times in December, saying, "I don't think the Bon Iver record is the kind of record that would get nominated for a Grammy.I kinda felt like going up there and being like: 'Everyone should go home, this is ridiculous. You should not be doing this. We should not be gathering in a big room and looking at each other and pretending that this is important. That's what I would say".
Vernon has long aired his critical views of awards ceremonies - in a blog post last August he blasted the VMA's, saying, "Why do we NEED this shit so bad? Why don't we just have MUSIC? DO music? soul? I don't know".