Beyonce, Taylor Swift etch Grammy historical past

Beyonce was the big winner on a night marked by multiple wins for women. Beyonce’s four Grammys on Sunday — two of them shared with best new artist winner Megan Thee Stallion — took her total career wins to 28, surpassing the previous Grammy record for a female artist set by bluegrass singer Alison Krauss.

Taylor Swift

Swift’s surprise record Folklore, recorded during coronavirus lockdown, was named album of the year and made Swift, 31, the first woman to take home that prize three times.

In a socially distanced ceremony of live and pre-recorded performances, the writers of I Can’t Breathe by R&B artiste H.E.R won song of the year. It was written in response to the Black Lives Matter protests that roiled the United States last summer following the police killing of George Floyd. Black culture was also celebrated in Beyonce’s single Black Parade, which was named best R&B performance.

Billie Eilish makes history

Singer Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas won the best song written for visual media Grammy award for their James Bond theme from unreleased “No Time to Die” movie. It was for the first time in the Grammys history that a track from an unreleased film won the award. In the past, the song, titled “No Time to Die”, would have been disqualified, but the Grammy soundtrack committee tweaked its rules amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It has been such a difficult time,” said Beyonce, reflecting on the cultural reckoning about racism in the United States. “I wanted to uplift, encourage, celebrate all the beautiful Black queens and kings that continue to inspire me and inspire the whole world,” she added.

Woman power

Eilish’s ballad Everything I Wanted won record of the year, and the 19-year-old also won for her theme song for the upcoming James Bond movie No Time to Die. Eilish said she was embarrassed by the win, saying it should have gone to Megan. “You deserve it. Genuinely. Can we just cheer for Megan Thee Stallion,” Eilish said.

Megan is Best new artiste

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion was named best new artiste. The 26 year-old singer from Texas, known for promoting women’s empowerment and body positivity, also won for her rap performance of single Savage, featuring Beyonce.

The ceremony was also aimed at moving past the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the live music industry, including the cancellation of music festivals, touring and concerts.

British singer Dua Lipa won best pop vocal album for her Future Nostalgia and spoke of the value of music during hard times. “I’m just so grateful and so honoured because happiness is something that we all deserve,” Lipa said.

Special tribute

Musicians who passed away last year were also honoured. Apart from the usual display of names and photos of the artistes, which is the annual feature, this year the honour also included performances of songs by four musicians — Little Richard, Kenny Rogers, John Prine and Gerry Marsden — who died in the past year.

Hosted by Trevor Noah, the ceremony was packed with pre-recorded and live performances by the likes of Lipa, Taylor Swift, Post Malone, DaBaby, Black Pumas and Mickey Guyton. Cardi B and Megan teamed up to perform their summer single WAP in one of the raunchier moments of the night.

Miranda Lambert

It took place both indoors and outdoors in Downtown Los Angeles, but mostly without the elaborate sets and special effects that traditionally mark the highest honours in the music business. Some of Sunday’s awards were announced at small venues in cities like Nashville, New York and Los Angeles.

K-Pop band BTS lost in the best pop duo or group performance against Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande for their single Rain on me, but performed their hit English-language single Dynamite from South Korea at the close of the show. — Agencies

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