Grammy Awards 2021: Beyonce and Taylor Swift make history as Harry Styles picks up first win
Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish won the top prizes at the Grammy Awards on Sunday in a ceremony that also saw Beyonce become the most awarded female artist in Grammy history.
Swift’s surprise lockdown record “folklore” was named album of the year and Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted” won record of the year.
Swift, 31, became first woman to win album of the year three times.
“We just want to thank the fans,” said Swift, who won the top prize with “folklore”.
Swift previously won album of the year with her albums “Fearless” and “1989”.
Beyonce made history by surpassing Alison Krauss to become the most decorated female act in Grammy history.
Beyonce earned her 28th Grammy on Sunday, picking up honours like best R&B performance for “Black Parade”, best music video for “Brown Skin Girl” as well as best rap performance and best rap song for “Savage”, with Megan Thee Stallion.
“As an artist I believe it’s my job, and all of our jobs, to reflect time and it’s been such a difficult time,” Beyonce said onstage as she won best R&B performance for “Black Parade,” which was released on Juneteenth.
She went on to say she created the song to honour the “beautiful Black kings and queens” in the world.
She added: “I have been working my whole life … This is such a magical night.”
Beyonce is now tied with producer and multi-instrumentalist Quincy Jones for the second most Grammy wins. The late conductor Georg Solti is the most decorated Grammy winner with 31 wins.
The royal family of music all won honours on Sunday: Jay-Z shared the best rap song win since he co-wrote “Savage” and nine-year-old Blue Ivy Carter – who won best music video alongside her mother – became the second youngest act to win a Grammy in show’s 63-year history. Leah Peasall was 8 when The Peasall Sisters won album of the year at the 2002 show for their appearance on the T Bone Burnett-produced “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack.
Megan Thee Stallion, who won three honours, also made history and became the first female rapper to best rap song. She’s also the fifth rap-based act to win best new artist.
Beyonce was the night’s top contender with nine nominations, including record of the year, which Swift won.
Beyonce didn’t perform but Swift did.
She sang “cardigan” and “august” from “folklore,” as well as “willow” from “evermore,” and was joined by the collaborators who helped her make the albums, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, who both won album of the year with Swift.
Silk Sonic, aka Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, also performed, bringing a throwback R&B vibe to the show with their smooth new single, “Leave the Door Open”.
Dua Lipa, who won best pop vocal album, proved her pop star status with a performance of her hits “Don’t Start Now” and “Levitating”, where she was joined by the DaBaby, who was an all-star during his own performance of his guitar-tinged rap hit “Rockstar”, flipping the song for an exceptional live rendition featuring R&B singer Anthony Hamilton, a skilled violinist and background singers.
And country singer Mickey Guyton – the first Black female nominated for best country solo performance – gave an impressive performance of her song “Black Like Me”.
Other performers included Eilish, Cardi B, Bad Bunny, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris and Harry Styles, who won best pop solo performance for the hit “Watermelon Sugar”.
Speaking to reporters following his win, Styles said: “I feel incredibly lucky to get to work in music and make music as my job every day and this is an incredibly sweet icing on the cake of what I get to do everyday, so thank you so much.
“And I want to thank my fans for giving me an environment to be free to make the music that I want to make and supporting me along the way over the last 10 years.
“And everyone who made this record with me and my label and my managers and everyone who supports me and everything, all of it, thank you so much.
“I feel very, very lucky tonight.”
Host Trevor Noah kicked off the show telling jokes about the coronavirus pandemic and the year that was 2020. He was live from downtown Los Angeles, with attendees wearing masks and sitting, socially distanced, at small round tables.
R&B singer H.E.R. won two honours, including song of the year for her protest anthem “I Can’t Breathe”, becoming one of the rare R&B songs to win the top prize. Another track about the Black experience – Anderson Paak’s “Lockdown”, released on Juneteenth – also won a Grammy, picking up best melodic rap performance.
Other double winners include Fiona Apple, Kaytranada and late performers John Prine and Chick Corea.
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