The Wisconsin indie rock band ended up taking home the honor, beating out category favorite Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, the Band Perry and Skrillex.
Frontman Justin Vernon uncomfortably accepted the award in front of the many talented musicians who filled the Staples Center for the 54th annual Grammy Awards ceremony. “It’s really hard to accept this award,” Vernon said humbly. “There’s so much talent out here on the stage and there is a lot of talent that’s not here tonight.”
Minaj had been heavily favored to win the award. Her Pink Friday album was a commercial success that took the Queens, New York, native from mixtape rapper to global pop icon. But Bon Iver made some strides over the past year themselves. With their 10-track 2010 album Bon Iver, the band made plenty of waves, earning themselves a #1 Billboard Rock Album and #2 album in the country overall.
Like Nicki, Bon Iver crossed over into other genres, including singer Justin Vernon’s collaboration with Kanye West. Vernon appeared on Yeezy’s “Monster” alongside Nicki, Jay-Z and Rick Ross and also contributed to ’Ye’s “Lost in the World,” both off of West’s Grammy Award-winning My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy .
“It’s also hard to accept because 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,” Vernon continued. “With that discomfort, I do have a sense of gratitude. I want to say thank you to all the nominees and all the non-nominees that have never been here and never will be here.”
Vernon ended his speech by thanking the Grammy voters for the “sweet hookup” and closed, of course, by shouting out Eau Claire, Wisconsin.