Tia Carrere wins Grammy


POSTED: Monday, February 09, 2009

Daniel Ho's “;lucky penny”; and beer-stained jacket, mementos from previous Grammy Awards shows, worked their magic once again yesterday as the three-time winner was called onstage to join Tia Carrere and accept this year's award for Best Hawaiian Music Album.

Ho's fourth Grammy, for “;'Ikena,”; his collaboration with Carrere, marked the first time since the category was created in 2005 that the award went to a recording act, rather than to the producers of a slack-key compilation album. The win was the first for Ho as a recording artist—his previous Grammys were for producing—and also made Carrere the first woman to win in the category.

The awards were announced during a pre-telecast presentation held in the early afternoon, with Carrere and comedian Wayne Brady co-hosting. Carrere backstage when her win was announced, so she had a headstart on Ho in reaching the podium.

“;I wasn't expecting this,”; she said, sounding both surprised and a little out of breath. “;I thought I was going to lose to Daniel Ho again, and instead I won with him! I am not worthy, I am truly not worthy of the people in this room.”;

Then, as a camera shot showed Ho still somewhere near the back of the room, the Sacred Hearts alumnus went just a bit tita: “;Daniel! You're the co-artist on this, what are you doing down there?”; Carrere thanked Amy Ku'uleialoha Stillman (”;an amazing lyricist and poet and Ph.D.”;) and then “;Hawaii, Hawaiian music and Grandma, for taking me to my first singing lesson.”;

Ho was accompanied on stage by his wife, photographer Lydia Miyashiro, and Stillman. Stillman expressed her thoughts in Hawaiian and English, and thanked both the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for “;acknowledging excellence in Hawaiian music by Hawaiians no matter where our life's journeys have taken us.”; Ho kept his comments short, thanking everyone “;for believing in our efforts.”;

On the phone moments after leaving the stage, he added that his first win as an artist was something special. “;I'm thrilled. I just started singing in Hawaiian.

Tia did a beautiful job on the record, and the songs are very creative thanks to Amy (Stillman).”; Ho said he'd added a new item to his annual Grammy ensemble—a Sig Zane “;Kai Palaoa”; shirt that was sewn and FedEx'd to Los Angeles in time for the show. The Zane design will be seen on the cover of an album Ho is releasing in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration next month.

Stillman said the win was “;an incredible accomplishment,”; especially since all the songs are original compositions. “;It sends a strong message about the need to continue to create and to continue to put out new material and keep everybody on their toes.”;

Two additional finalists with Hawaii ties were among the also-rans in other categories. The cast recording of the Broadway revival of “;South Pacific,”; with Hawaii's Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary, lost out to “;The Heights”; for Best Musical Show Album, and Bill Harley won out over Hawaii-born Dean Pitchford for Best Children's Spoken Word Album.