Georgia artists make their mark at the Grammys

Georgia singers and songwriters made a strong showing at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards both as award winners and performers. Collectively, artists from Georgia -- or affiliated with the area -- earned more than 20 nominations in a variety of categories signaling the diversity of Georgia's music scene.

Atlanta-based songwriters from RedZone Entertainment, Thaddis Harrell, Christopher Stewart and Terius Nash, who co-wrote “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” with Beyonce, took home the first award of the evening for Song of the Year. The song also earned the trio a Grammy for Best R&B Song.

“I’m feeling incredible!” said Harrell by phone from Los Angeles on Sunday night. “To actually get it and go up there and see it all happen was unbelievable…being here two years ago was just a teaser,” said Harrell referring to the 2008 Grammy win for his role as vocal producer on Mary J. Blige's Best Contemporary R&B Album, “Growing Pains.”

With this year’s win, the RedZone team has three Grammys on the shelf and Harrell said it already makes them want to work harder.

“I think it will definitely make us keep pushing for the next level and it is going to open up more doors for us. Everybody wants to be part of the hot team and it will show people that we are not just hot for this moment…we are here for the long term,” he said.

The Zac Brown Band took home the award for Best New Artist beating out another Atlanta-based musician, Keri Hilson. The band later took the stage with Leon Russell to perform their hit “Chicken Fried.”

Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Choruses won Best Surround Sound Album for production on "Transmigration," while India.Arie won Best Urban/Alternative Performance for “Pearls”  from her album “Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics.” Lady Antebellum, which has two members from the Augusta area, took the Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "I Run To You," from their self-titled album.

Other appearances from Georgia locals included Usher, who joined Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson and Carrie Underwood in a tribute to Michael Jackson singing verses of “Earth Song”, which Jackson was working on just before his death in June 2009.

Later Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland took the stage with Jon Bon Jovi in the band’s first Grammy performance. Though Sugarland did not win a Grammy this year, Nettles performed her 2007 Grammy-winning country collaboration with Bon Jovi, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.” Then she hung around to join the guys in the audience-selected classic “Livin' on a Prayer.”

For a complete list of Grammy winners visit www.grammy.com.

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