Alaska-grown band Portugal. The Man won its first Grammy at the Recording Academy’s 60th annual awards show, held in New York City on Sunday.
The band’s founding members, John Gourley and Zach Carothers, are from Alaska and met at Wasilla High School, where they started playing music together. They’re joined by fellow Alaskan Eric Howk, as well as Zoe Manville, Kyle O’Quinn and Jason Sechrist.
Based in Portland, the band is known for music often described as “alternative.” But they took the Grammy award for best pop duo or group performance with their catchy song “Feel It Still.” It was their first-ever Grammy nomination.
In accepting the award Sunday night, Carothers mentioned growing up in small-town Alaska.
“This is crazy for us,” Carothers said. “Our heroes were dog mushers and stuff like that. This is nuts.”
Along with some onstage shenanigans by the band, Carothers also briefly shared the band’s appreciation for Alaska Native culture and gave shout-outs to several rural Alaska communities.
“Shishmaref, Barrow, Bethel. All the indigenous people in Alaska and around the world. You’re beautiful, your culture’s beautiful. Thank you for inspiring us,” Carothers said. “And, yeah man, rep where you’re from. Be proud of who you are and where you’re from.”
“Feel It Still” spent weeks at the top of music charts, peaking at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. At the Grammys, it beat out other songs with heavy radio play, including “Despacito,” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber and “Thunder,” by Imagine Dragons.
As of Monday, “Feel It Still” was still at 23 on the Hot 100.