Canadian women win six Grammys: Morissette, Twain, Mitchell honoured

by Elizabeth Renzetti
Toronto Globe and Mail
February 29, 1996

Just in time for Sadie Hawkins day, it was an unprecedented Canadian girls' night out at the 38th annual Grammy Awards, held last night in Los Angeles.

Snarly rocker Alanis Morissette, a native of Ottawa, picked up four awards, including best rock song and album, female rock singer and album of the year. She had been nominated for six awards, which was loudly touted as an indication that the Grammys were suddenly hip and no longer the "Granny" awards.

Sultry pop-country singer Shania Twain, a native of Timmins, Ont., won one award, best country album for The Woman in Me. She had been nominated four times.

Alberta-born Joni Mitchell received one of the biggest awards - best pop album for Turbulent Indigo - and one of the biggest ovations of the evening in recognition of her role as doyenne of singer-songwriters. Before the broadcast she won a packaging award for the same record.

While Ms. Mitchell clutched her award and giddily babbled her thanks, Ms. Morissette, less than half Ms. Mitchell's age, accepted the rock vocalist prize with gravity. "This doesn't represent that I'm better than the other women on the list," she said.

American pub rockers-turned-megastars Hootie and the Blowfish beat out both Ms. Morissette and Ms. Twain for the best new artist award.

Internationally, those two Canadian singers made the biggest noises in their respective fields, "alternative" rock and new country, in the past year. Ms. Morissette, 21, who released two albums in Canada and won a Juno in her previous incarnation as a teen pop tart, has sold more than five million copies of her 1995 Jagged Little Pill.

Her frank songs about spirituality, sex and vengeance (co-written with Glen Ballard) have won her an obsessive following among young adults, especially women.

Ms. Twain, a 31-year-old who once sang at Ontario's Deerhurst Inn resort, has attracted legions of fans with her wholesomely sexy videos and bouncy pseudo-country sound. She has sold more than five-million copies of The Woman in Me, produced by husband Robert (Mutt) Lange. Ms. Mitchell, Ms. Morissette and Ms. Twain all now live in the United States.

Performances by Ms. Twain and Ms. Morissette, though subdued, were still among the highlights of an excruciatingly dull TV show that seemed no closer to cutting edge than a Rotary Club luncheon.

Other home-grown winners include Rob Bowman, a professor at York University, who won the best album notes award for his liner notes to The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles, Volume 3. Toronto jazzman Rob McConnell picked up his second Grammy for instrumental arrangement with vocals for I Get A Kick Out Of You.

Fellow Canadians fared less well. Blues guitarist Jeff Healey was shut out in the rock instrumental category, which was won by the Allman Brothers Band's Jessica. Vancouver's Bryan Adams had been nominated for male pop vocal (won by Seal for Kiss From a Rose) and song from a movie, but lost to a cartoon (Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas).


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