Since 1959, the Grammy Awards have recognized outstanding achievements in the music industry. Alongside the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys, the Grammys are among the most prestigious entertainment awards. Plenty of famous musicians and entertainers have been honored with the award, but it may surprise you to learn that many political figures, including three former US presidents, have also received at least one Grammy Award. Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton have won Grammys for Best Spoken Word Album, a category that has recently been renamed Best Audio Book, Narration and Storytelling Recording.
Jimmy Carter undoubtedly has the most Grammy connections of any former president. He has been nominated nine times and won three. He first won the Best Spoken Word Album Grammy in 2007 for Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis. He won again in 2016 for A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety and in 2019 for Faith - A Journey for All. Former President Bill Clinton is also a Grammy winner – in two different categories. In a collaboration with Mikhail Gorbachev, Sophia Loren, and the Russian National Orchestra, Clinton won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf/Beintus: Wolf Tracks in 2004. A year later, he took home the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for the autobiography My Life.
Barack Obama won both of his Grammys before becoming president. He nabbed his first award in 2006 for the memoir Dreams from My Father and again in 2008 for The Audacity of Hope.
Spoken word, presidential style:
- While serving as First Lady in 1997, Hillary Clinton won a Grammy Award for the audio edition of It Takes a Village. Former First Lady Michelle Obama won a Grammy in 2020 for her best-selling memoir Becoming.
- Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2018 for Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In. He lost to Carrie Fisher, who won for her last book, The Princess Diarist.
- Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2014 for her best-selling book A Fighting Chance. That year, the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album was posthumously awarded to Joan Rivers for Diary of a Mad Diva..