A 20-year-old Kazakh DJ and record producer has won a 2021 Grammy award, becoming the first Central Asian recipient of the prestigious musical accolade.
Imanbek Zeykenov from Kazakhstan’s northern region of Pavlodar won the award on March 14 at the 63rd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in the category of the best remixed recording, nonclassical, for his version of Roses by the rapper Saint Jhn.
“[The] best thing for [a] musician is to get a Grammy, [and] we made it!” Zeykenov wrote on Instagram after his victory was announced.
After graduating from high school in the town of Aqsu, Zeykenov studied at a school for railways and was employed by a rail company.
Music was his hobby. His remix of Saint Jhn’s “Roses” became extremely popular on YouTube and was a top-five hit on the U.S, Billboard Hot 100.. Last May the remix also topped the charts in Britain.
After the initial success of the song, Zeykenov worked with Russia’s Effective records and agreed with Saint Jhn, whose real name is Carlos St. John Phillips, to issue an official single.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the award ceremony had many pretaped performances, while host Trevor Noah officiated the four-hour show live from downtown Los Angeles. Attendees wore masks and sat socially distanced at small round tables.
Four women won the top four prizes, including Taylor Swift, who became the first female performer to win album of the year three times. Beyoncé — with her 28th win — became the most-decorated woman in Grammy history.
H.E.R. won song of the year and Billie Eilish picked up her second consecutive record of the year honor, telling the audience that best new artist winner Megan Thee Stallion deserved the award.