The awards, dubbed "music's biggest night" by organizers, are celebrating the past year's most popular North American music.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis earned a trio of rap trophies — best rap album for The Heist along with best rap performance and rap song for the catchy Thrift Shop — at the pre-telecast ceremony, which was hosted by singer, songwriter and compser Cyndi Lauper.
The hit duo also picked up the first award of the evening telecast: best new artist.
"I want to thank our fans: the people who got us on this stage, before there was any media, before there was any buzz about us, before there was a story, there were our fans, and it spread organically through them," Macklemore, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, said onstage.
"We made this album without a record label. We made it independently and we appreciate all the support."
Meanwhile, the latest album from French duo Daft Punk, Random Access Memories, picked up a pair of pre-telecast trophies: best electronic/dance album and best engineered album.
Another of this year's top nominees, Justin Timberlake, earned a pair of early Grammys as well: best R&B song for Pusher Love Girl and best music video for Suit and Tie (an award that goes to director David Fincher).
A pair of Canadians were also among the early evening winners: B.C. crooner Michael Bublé and Vancouver-born, Montreal-based Jennifer Gasoi. Bublé nabbed his fourth Grammy in the best traditional pop vocal album category for To Be Loved, while jazz artist and children's entertainer Gasoi won best children's album for Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well.
A host of Canadians lost out in the earlier ceremony, where more than 70 categories are awarded, including rapper Drake, rocker Neil Young, composer Mychael Danna and singer-songwriter Deric Ruttan.
Other top nominees still in contention tonight include rap heavyweight Jay-Z, New Zealand teen singer Lorde, rising U.S. hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar, singer Robin Thicke and emerging country artist Kacey Musgraves.
Some Canadians to watch on Grammy weekend:
Nominees in central categories include:- Album of the year:The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles; Random Access Memories, Daft Punk; Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, Kendrick Lamar; The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; Red, Taylor Swift.
- Record of the year (for performance): Get Lucky, Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams; Radioactive, Imagine Dragons; Royals, Lorde; Locked Out of Heaven, Bruno Mars; Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams.
- Song of the year (for songwriting): Just Give Me a Reason, Jeff Bhasker, Pink & Nate Ruess; Locked Out of Heaven, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine & Bruno Mars; Roar, Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Katy Perry & Henry Walter; Royals, Joel Little & Ella Yelich O’Connor; Same Love, Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert & Ryan Lewis.
- Best New Artist: James Blake; Kendrick Lamar; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; Kacey Musgraves; Ed Sheeran.
Over the past week, the U.S. Recording Academy, which administers the Grammys, has held a series of events honouring nominees and special award winners. Celebrations included a producers and engineers ceremony saluting Canadian icon Neil Young on Tuesday and a Friday gala celebrating the 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year: influential singer-songwriter Carole King.
In recent years, the Grammys broadcast has become known for unconventional or unlikely musical pairings, which have the potential to become memorable match-ups (for better or worse).
In keeping with tradition, this year's tag-team performers include metal icons Metallica performing with classical pianist Lang Lang, rapper Kendrick Lamar with alt-rockers Imagine Dragons, R&B singer Robin Thicke with power balladeers Chicago and soul legend Stevie Wonder with dance hitmakers Daft Punk.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Lorde, Pink and surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will also take the stage during the televised gala.
The festivities continue Sunday evening at the Staples Center in Los Angeles with the televised Grammy gala — hosted by performer LL Cool J — beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The broadcast will air on CBS and Citytv.
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