Some five years ago Justin Vernon retreated into the woods of Wisconsin simply to hibernate and reflect on the breakup of his previous band. Sunday night one of independent music’s most heralded and humble stood along with the mainstream accepting two awards on the music industry’s biggest night


Bon Iver took home two Grammy awards Sunday night; one for Alternative Album of the Year for their self-titled 2011 mainstream breakthrough and the second for Best New Artist which was accepted by the group’s frontman Justin Vernon. Bon Iver shocked most in the Best New Artist category by beating out a tough field lead by Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, Skrillex, and the Band Perry.

Bon Iver, released in June of 2011, entered the Billboard 200 at #2 and has sold over 350,000 copies in the US since.

Vernon, while accepting the award for Best New Artist, made a note to pay homage to all of the musicians who have and never will grace music’s biggest awards ceremony.

Vernon continued in his speech “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. 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.”

In the closing seconds of his acceptance speech he also shouted out his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

It has been a somewhat tumultuous week between Vernon and Grammy producers. In an interview with Billboard last week he admitted the reason Bon Iver would not be performing at the show was due to producers forcing them to do so with another artist and someone else’s song.

In the interview Vernon stated:

“We wanted to play our music, but were told that we couldn’t play. We had to do a collaboration with someone else . . . And we just felt like it was such a large stage — we’re getting nominated for this record that we made. Me and Brian (Joseph) and a bunch of our fucking friends and we were given accolades for it, and all of a sudden we were being asked to play music that had nothing to do with that. We kind of said ‘fuck you’ a little bit, and they sort of acted like they wanted us to play, but I don’t think they wanted us to play.”

View part of Vernon’s acceptance speech below.