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Three from Fayetteville won Grammy Awards

Recording industry’s top prizes go to J. Harrison Ghee, NaTasha Williams and Bryce Bordone


Three people who grew up in Fayetteville and Cumberland County — J. Harrison Ghee, NaTasha Yvette Williams and Bryce Bordone — won Grammy Awards this month.

Performers Ghee and Williams won Grammys for Best Musical Theater Album, as lead vocalists in “Some Like It Hot,” which opened on Broadway in December 2022. Ghee is a 2007 graduate of E.E. Smith High School and Williams a 1988 graduate of Cape Fear High School.

Bordone, an audio engineer, won for his work on Taylor Swift’s 2022 “Midnights” album. “Midnights” was named Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. Bordone is a 2004 graduate of Fayetteville Academy. He has had seven Grammy nominations, including this win.

Everyone who makes a significant contribution to the production of an album shares the awards it receives, according to the Grammy website. The Grammy Awards draw international attention as the Recording Academy honors performers, engineers and others for “excellence in the recording arts and sciences.”

In addition to winning a Grammy this month, Ghee, who is nonbinary, received on Saturday a Visibility Award from the Human Rights Campaign of North Carolina, an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization. They received the award at a gala in Charlotte. 

The Grammys were awarded Feb. 4 in Los Angeles. In interviews on Monday, Williams and Ghee were still excited about their win.

Ghee said they were “still processing, still taking what is truly a joyous moment.”

Williams was on an emotional high more than a week later. “It was just an amazing feeling, and — I don’t know — I feel floaty, still floating,” she said.

Bordone declined an interview request. Fayetteville Academy made a post on Facebook to celebrate his success.

What it was like to win

The “Some Like It Hot” musical, based on the movie of the same name, opened on Broadway in December 2022 and closed in December 2023. The plot is about two men in the 1930s who are on the run from gangsters after witnessing a murder. To hide, the men disguise themselves as women and join an all-female band.

Ghee was a lead performer and Williams was a featured performer. In June, Ghee won a Tony — Broadway’s highest honor — as one of the first openly nonbinary actors to win the award. Williams was a Tony nominee for her performance.

Two Sundays ago, they received their Grammys for the “Some Like It Hot (Original Broadway Cast Recording)” album.

The day was rainy and chaotic, Williams said, but that gave her optimism as she made her way to the awards ceremony venue.

“I thought, ‘Oh my goodness. This morning has been a little bit horrific,’” she said. “My husband and sister are fighting for space in the bathroom. It was terrible getting to the place.

“I was like, ‘Maybe this is a good sign. This might be a good moment, because we have to deal with these challenges — if we pass this test, and we stay positive and we press our way through, something good is going to happen.’”

Ghee had confidence, too.

“Everything seemed pretty aligned and destined for the day, and I even got my nails painted gold, in hopes of manifesting bringing home the gold,” they said.

And then the announcer called out, “And the Grammy goes to ‘Some Like It Hot!’” for the Best Musical Theater Album.

Ghee was with a friend. “And we screamed and jumped up and went for the stage,” they said. They said they called their family back in North Carolina. “My mom and my brother were both speechless,” they said.

It went quickly, Williams said, and the event gave them limited time on the stage.

“We were just overjoyed. It was amazing,” she said. “It was really, really fast — you know, it’s 45 seconds for you to absorb this lifelong dream that you’ve had in terms of wanting to stand in that place, and them calling your name and ‘the Grammy goes to.’”

Ghee also wins Human Rights Campaign award

In addition to winning a Grammy this month, Ghee was honored by the Human Rights Campaign of North Carolina with a Visibility Award at the organization’s gala in Charlotte on Saturday. The Human Rights Campaign is an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization.

“I’m so humbled to receive the Visibility Award from the Human Rights Campaign in my home state because there was a time when I didn’t feel seen here,” Ghee said in their remarks when they received the award. “I hope to continue to open doors for everyone to feel seen and represented.”

They cited several predecessors and others part of the LGBTQ+ community — actress and comedienne Jackie “Moms” Mabley, fashion journalist and editor André Leon Talley, actress Ariana DeBose, playwright James Ijames and performer Joey Arias for their courage in “showing the world what North Carolina has to offer when it comes to queer representation and talent.

“I vow to never stop being visible so that someone else can see themselves and know that anything is possible,” they said.

Williams appears on stage in Wilmington this month

Williams said “Some Like It Hot” closed in December as the audiences were running small. “So it did close earlier than we all hoped. But it was fantastic while it was there,” she said.

Broadway as a whole has not rebounded since the pandemic, Williams said.

“Audiences are different and prices are high and everything is just working against it, so we just are still fighting to have theater come back as strong and robust as it was,” she said.

Williams has other performance gigs lined up in the coming year, she said. These include appearing in “Death of a Salesman” at Thalian Hall in Wilmington, Feb. 22 to March 3.

She also has a singing performance of Broadway tunes and Gospel songs in Wilmington on Feb. 26, she said.

She is scheduled to be honored at 6:45 p.m. Monday at the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Ghee taking a rest before more gigs

Ghee said they’re taking some time to relax, then will appear in cabaret shows, and are scheduled to appear in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” in Chicago this summer.

Senior reporter Paul Woolverton can be reached at 910-261-4710 and pwoolverton@cityviewnc.com.

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grammy awards, grammys, fayetteville, cumberland, j. harrison ghee, natasha williams, bryce bordone