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Bay Area Artists 'Bring Home' Grammy Gold

By Betty Yu & Molly McCrea

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- There was no traditional red carpet at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, but that didn't stop one Bay Area winner from rolling one out and celebrating in West Oakland.

"Thank you everyone who's taken this journey with me! I mean 6 years ago we were playing on the street," exclaimed Xavier Dphrepaulezz, also known as Fantastic Negrito.

On Sunday night, Xavier won his 3rd Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

"The first one, I was shocked! The second one was like 'Ok, I'm going to be a 2-timer!" The third one? I mean we've been going thru so much with the pandemic," commented the artist and musician.

He was not the only one from Bay Area to bring home a golden gramophone.

H.E.R. -- aka Gabriella Wilson of Vallejo -- won Best Song of the Year for "I Can't Breathe," a protest song written in response to recent police killings of unarmed black people.

Former San Francisco Symphony maestro Michael Tilson Thomas and producer Jack Vad both got a Grammy for Best Classical Compendium for The Diary of Anne Frank & Meditations on Rilke.

Ledisi who spent much of her life in Oakland won for Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Anything for You."

As for Best Music Film: the Grammy goes to Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.

"I'm absolutely certain that she's extremely grateful and thankful to the Academy," said long-time friend and manager John Boylan, who served as music supervisor on the film. The film was produced by Bay Area film makers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.

Ronstadt, who lives in San Francisco, stopped singing after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. The film captures her history, her versatility and her amazing voice.

Boylan told KPIX 5 that before the pandemic, he attended many screenings and heard many in the audience exclaim about the beauty of Linda's voice. Her vocal cords are described as like sterling silver pipes from heaven's angels.

"It's a good thing the film was made," noted Boylan.

Also, up for best music film was We Are Freestyle Love Supreme, a documentary about an improvisational rap group.

One member, Anthony Veneziale, is from San Francisco. He had joked with KPIX 5 that he knew he was not going to win, and his kids put their bets on another nominated movie: Beyonce's Black is Supreme.

The family ordered a peanut butter chocolate ice cream cake with "Congratulations Beyonce" iced on the top to celebrate dad's loss. When the Ronstadt movie won, the entire family recorded a message and sent it to KPIX 5. They said, "Congratulations Linda Ronstadt!"

Back in West Oakland, some VIPs showed up to walk the red carpet for Xavier and talk to the press. Among them was Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

"Fantastic Negrito just doesn't own the keys to the city; he owns the soul of this city," said Mayor Schaaf.

The artist threw his outdoor red-carpet party at his new record company, Storefront Records, formerly an old liquor store.

He intends to record other independent artists who march to a different drummer.

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