Eilish, Aust brothers win big at Grammys

Luke and Joel Smallbone from the Christian pop band King and Country have won two Grammys.
Luke and Joel Smallbone from the Christian pop band King and Country have won two Grammys.

The Grammy Awards were a family affair with American siblings Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell dominating and Sydney's Smallbone brothers picking up two coveted trophies.

Eilish, the Los Angeles-raised rebel 18-year-old, and O'Connell, the 22-year-old singer-songwriter-producer, won a combined 11 awards.

They created the edgy, avant-pop album When We All Fall sleep, Where Do We Go? in a small bedroom in their Los Angeles home and to their surprise Sunday's Grammy haul included album, song and record of the year.

Eilish also became the youngest winner of best new artist.

"Can I just say Ariana deserves this," Eilish, looking out into the audience at fellow nominee Ariana Grande, said while accepting album of the year.

An equally lost for words O'Connell said they did not write a speech "because we didn't write an album to win a Grammy".

"We wrote an album about depression and suicidal thoughts, and climate change and being the bad guy, whatever that means," O'Connell said.

The Grammys took on a sombre tone with news breaking just before the ceremony started that Kobe Bryant, the retired LA Lakers superstar, died with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash near the LA suburb of Calabasas.

The ceremony was held in the Lakers' home venue, the 20,000-seat Staples Center, where Bryant reigned for 20 NBA seasons.

Dark times were also the inspiration for Sydney-raised, Nashville-based brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone.

The brothers combined with country music icon Dolly Parton on Sunday to win best contemporary Christian music performance or song for God Only Knows.

Joel said Parton was attracted to their song because it reached out "to the marginalised, the depressed, to the suicidal".

A few minutes later the Smallbones were back on stage to claim best contemporary Christian music album nod for Burn the Ships.

Luke Smallbone said he was inspired to write a song on the album by the experience of taking his wife Courtney to a mental health facility five years ago.

"I realised in the process of writing this song there were so many people in life that need new beginnings, a fresh start, a new dawn," Luke said.

Rapper Lizzo entered the ceremony with eight nominations, the most of any artist.

With Eilish dominating Lizzo ended up with just three wins including best pop solo performance for her global hit Truth Hurts.

The Grammy ceremony was not so good for Australian alternative dance group Rufus Du Sol and DJ Harley "Flume" Streten.

Rufus Du Sol, for Solace, and Flume, for Hi This is Flume (Mixtape), were nominated in the best dance/electronic album category but British duo The Chemical Brothers' No Geography was the winner.

Rufus Du Sol was also up for the best dance recording for Underwater but the Chemical Brothers' Got To Keep On took the trophy.

Melbourne band The Teskey Brothers, for Run Home Slow, also fell short in the best engineered album, non-classical category.

Eilish and O'Connell's When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? won the Grammy.

Australian Associated Press