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Imanbek receiving the Best Remixed Recording award. Courtesy of CBS
Imanbek receiving the Best Remixed Recording award. Courtesy of CBS

The Grammy Awards continue to be plagued by controversy and even boycotted by a number of big names in the music industry, including The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, and others. Many question the awards show’s ability to keep up with the changing times and remain relevant as the music scene continues to develop and the Recording Academy does not provide a sufficient level of transparency of its nomination process.

Nonetheless, the 2021 Grammy Awards did include some eye-catching performances, historic wins, and a bright-colored boa on bare-chested Harry Styles. Naturally, Twitter had a lot to say about all of it. 

I do have to ask you to divert your attention to the one win this year that went unnoticed. The winner of the Best Remixed Recording nomination is Imanbek who made the viral remix “Roses” by SAINt JHN. If you were on TikTok at the start of the pandemic, you’ve probably heard this song before. 

The original track came out in 2016 and failed to receive nearly the same level of attention as its 2019 remix. Just to give some context on his background, Imanbek is a 20-year-old DJ from the small town of Aksu in northern Kazakhstan. He is a railway engineer who worked at a local railway station before his newfound fame as a musician. 

Per Imanbek’s words, he put out his rendition of “Roses” on Vkontakte, Russian Facebook, in late 2019 without actually having purchased the rights to the song and thinking of making it into an official remix. Basically, the guy was just having fun doing what he likes in his spare time. Only his creation quickly went viral with the song eventually reaching no.5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and no.1 on the U.K. chart. 

Back in summer 2020, Imanbek’s uncanny success story, made possible by modern technology and social media, caught the attention of The New York Times which featured a profile of him with dramatic black and white pictures of Imanbek taken in his hometown. 

Imanbek is yet to meet SAINt JHN as the pair reportedly only communicates via Instagram. The American-Guyanese rapper took a second to acknowledge the remix before the two reached an official agreement to release it and put out an official music video on the rapper’s YouTube channel. 

The 20-year-old Kazakhstani DJ is now a signed artist by a Russian label Effective Records and is officially the first musician from the Post-Soviet region to receive a Grammy Award. He accepted his speech via a video call when he adorably thanked his parents and his team. 

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