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Alaska-rooted band Portugal. The Man wins a Grammy for ‘Feel It Still’

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: January 30
  • Published January 28

Portugal. The Man, a band with strong Alaska roots, won a Grammy on Sunday for best pop duo/group performance for the song "Feel It Still."

Other nominees in the category were: "Something Just Like This," by Coldplay and The Chainsmokers, "Despacito," by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber, "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons and "Stay," by Zedd and Alessia Cara.

As of Sunday, the song's video had more than 100,000,000 views on YouTube.

The band's founding members, John Gourley and Zach Carothers, started playing music when they were attending Wasilla High School. They eventually relocated to Portland, where they were signed by Atlantic Records in 2010. Eric Howk, originally from the Mat-Su Borough, later joined the band. The group has released five albums since 2010.

In the band's acceptance speech, Carothers made a point of the band's Alaska roots.

"We grew up in a small town in Alaska. This is crazy for us. Our heroes are dog mushers and stuff like that," he said. "We'd like to rep this for all the kids in the villages — Shishmaref, Barrow, Bethel. All the indigenous people in Alaska and around the world. You're beautiful and your culture's beautiful. Thank you for inspiring us. Hey man, rep where you're from. Be proud of who you are and where you're from."

"Feel it Still" spent 23 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 4. It has broken a record for the No. 1 position on Billboard's Adult Alternative chart, spending the most time in the top spot ever in the chart's 29-year history, Billboard said.

In a red carpet interview with Billboard before their win on Sunday, Gourley and Carothers joked about their awards show outfits and showed off Portland Trailblazers pins.

"There's amazing artists that come out of nowhere that are amazingly talented; we weren't those people, we had to work for a while and get better, we had to make our school and go to it," Carothers said.

Gourley said that the band is already working on new songs.

"We seem to be the most creative the second we finish records," he said. "Seeing the success of this song makes me want to try harder."

Carothers joked that the band likes to spend a lot time on the road, sleeping in a van at rest stops and eating quick-stop food.

"We keep it pretty real. We're from Wasilla, Alaska, and we don't forget where we came from."

John Luther Adams, a former Alaska composer, won a Grammy for best contemporary classical composition in 2015 for "Become Ocean." Cellist Zuill Bailey, artistic director of the Sitka Summer Music Festival, won a Grammy for best classical instrumental solo in 2017. Alaska singer-songwriter Jewel has been nominated four times but never taken one home.

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