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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Taylor Swift makes history on a night dominated by women

Taylor Swift performs at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., May 26, 2023. (Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet/The New York Times)

By Ben Sisario

Women thoroughly dominated the 66th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, with a history-making album of the year win by Taylor Swift and victories by Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, SZA, Lainey Wilson, Colombian pop star Karol G and the band boygenius.

The wins capped a year when women were extraordinarily successful in pop music, and also signified a change for the Grammys, which have frequently been criticized — as recently as five years ago — for overlooking female artists on the show.

In addition to the wins, the show featured powerful performances by SZA, Eilish, Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo and even Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman — two godmothers of modern songwriting who have made only rare public appearances in recent years.

In taking album of the year for “Midnights,” Swift became the first artist to win the Grammys’ top prize four times, beating a trio of male legends — Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon — who had three.

“I would love to tell you that this is the best moment of my life,” Swift said when accepting the award. “But I feel this happy when I finish a song or when I crack the code to a bridge that I love,” she said, and added: “For me the reward is the work.”

Other highlights included:

— Eilish, along with her brother, Finneas, won song of the year for “What Was I Made For?,” a dreamy but haunting meditation from Greta Gerwig’s film “Barbie.” The song also took best song written for visual media, and the “Barbie” soundtrack took best compilation soundtrack for visual media.

— R&B singer and songwriter Victoria Monét won three prizes, including best new artist. Boygenius, an indie-rock supergroup that sold out venues like Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl last year, won a total of three awards, and one of its members, Phoebe Bridgers, took a fourth — more than any other artist at this year’s ceremony — as part of a collaboration with SZA.

— Mitchell, 80, performed at the Grammys for the first time, playing her 1968 song “Both Sides Now” nine years after an aneurysm that at first left her unable to speak. Seated in a plush chair, clasping a cane, she was surrounded by supporters including Brandi Carlile, who has lately been Mitchell’s biggest evangelist. After the performance, stars like Beyoncé and Swift clapped wide-eyed.

— In another major moment, Chapman made a very rare public appearance, performing her 1988 favorite “Fast Car” in a tender duet with Luke Combs, whose note-for-note cover of Chapman’s song became a surprise cross-generational hit last year. Dressed in jeans and a plain button-down shirt, Chapman seemed to have watery eyes as she strummed her acoustic guitar and sang.

— Celine Dion, the Canadian diva who announced in 2022 that she has a rare neurological disease that makes it difficult for her to sing, was another rare appearance at the show, announcing the award for album of the year.

— It wasn’t all just the ladies. Billy Joel, who recently released “Turn the Lights Back On,” his first new pop song in nearly 20 years, performed that track and his classic rocker “You May Be Right.” U2 performed from its residency at the Sphere, a futuristic new venue in Las Vegas.

— During an expanded “in memoriam” segment lasting more than 20 minutes, Stevie Wonder honored Tony Bennett, Annie Lennox paid tribute to Sinéad O’Connor and Fantasia Barrino-Taylor (introduced by Oprah Winfrey) sang “Proud Mary” in honor of Tina Turner.

— Political content was scarce on the show, which largely avoided any controversial stances. Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, recognized the killing of music fans at an Israeli music festival on Oct. 7, and Lennox said, “Artists for cease-fire; peace in the world.”

— Jay-Z, accepting the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, called out the Grammys for failing to honor Beyoncé, his wife, with album of the year, despite her 32 awards, mostly in down-ballot genre categories. “When I get nervous I tell the truth,” he said.

— Killer Mike, a veteran Atlanta rapper and activist, won three rap awards, including best rap album (“Michael”). Shortly after, he was escorted out of the Arena by police officers. Later, the Los Angeles Police Department said that Killer Mike, who was born Michael Render, was booked on a misdemeanor battery charge and that he was being released.

— The Grammys added a new category, best African music performance, which was won by Tyla, a South African singer, for the song “Water.” The show also featured a performance by Burna Boy, a Nigerian performer who is one of the biggest stars of the Afrobeats genre.


Record of the Year

“Flowers,” Miley Cyrus

Album of the Year

“Midnights,” Taylor Swift

Song of the Year

“What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie,” Billie Eilish O’Connell and Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)

Best New Artist

Victoria Monét

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical

Jack Antonoff

Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical

Theron Thomas

Best Pop Solo Performancwe

“Flowers,” Miley Cyrus

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Ghost in the Machine,” SZA featuring Phoebe Bridgers

Best Pop Vocal Album

“Midnights,” Taylor Swift

Best Dance/Electronic Recording

“Rumble,” Skrillex, Fred again.. and Flowdan

Best Pop Dance Recording

“Padam Padam,” Kylie Minogue

Best Dance/Electronic Music Album

“Actual Life 3 (January 1 - September 9 2022),” Fred again..

Best Rock Performance

“Not Strong Enough,” boygenius

Best Metal Performance

“72 Seasons,” Metallica

Best Rock Song

“Not Strong Enough,” Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, songwriters (boygenius)

Best Rock Album

“This Is Why,” Paramore

Best Alternative Music Performance

“This Is Why,” Paramore

Best Alternative Music Album

“The Record,” boygenius

Best R&B Performance

“ICU,” Coco Jones

Best Traditional R&B Performance

“Good Morning,” PJ Morton featuring Susan Carol

Best R&B Song

“Snooze,” Kenny B. Edmonds, Blair Ferguson, Khris Riddick-Tynes, Solána Rowe and Leon Thomas, songwriters (SZA)

Best Progressive R&B Album


Best R&B Album

“Jaguar II,” Victoria Monét

Best Rap Performance

“Scientists & Engineers,” Killer Mike featuring André 3000, Future and Eryn Allen Kane

Best Melodic Rap Performance

“All My Life,” Lil Durk featuring J. Cole

Best Rap Song

“Scientists & Engineers,” André Benjamin, Paul Beauregard, James

Blake, Michael Render, Tim Moore and Dion Wilson, songwriters (Killer Mike featuring André 3000, Future and Eryn Allen Kane)

Best Rap Album

“Michael,” Killer Mike

Best Spoken Word Poetry Album

“The Light Inside,” J. Ivy

Best Jazz Performance

“Tight,” Samara Joy

Best Jazz Vocal Album

“How Love Begins,” Nicole Zuraitis

Best Jazz Instrumental Album

“The Winds of Change,” Billy Childs

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

“Basie Swings the Blues,” The Count Basie Orchestra directed by Scotty Barnhart

Best Latin Jazz Album

“El Arte Del Bolero Vol. 2,” Miguel Zenón and Luis Perdomo

Best Alternative Jazz Album

“The Omnichord Real Book,” Meshell Ndegeocello

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

“Bewitched,” Laufey

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

“As We Speak,” Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer, featuring Rakesh Chaurasia

Best Musical Theater Album

“Some Like It Hot,” Christian Borle, J. Harrison Ghee, Adrianna Hicks and NaTasha Yvette Williams, principal vocalists; Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Bryan Carter, Scott M. Riesett, Charlie Rosen and Marc Shaiman, producers; Scott Wittman, lyricist; Marc Shaiman, composer and lyricist (Original Broadway Cast)

Best Country Solo Performance

“White Horse,” Chris Stapleton

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

“I Remember Everything,” Zach Bryan featuring Kacey Musgraves

Best Country Song

“White Horse,” Chris Stapleton and Dan Wilson, songwriters (Chris Stapleton)

Best Country Album

“Bell Bottom Country,” Lainey Wilson

Best American Roots Performance

“Eve Was Black,” Allison Russell

Best Americana Performance

“Dear Insecurity,” Brandy Clark featuring Brandi Carlile

Best American Roots Song

“Cast Iron Skillet,” Jason Isbell, songwriter (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit)

Best Americana Album

“Weathervanes,” Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Best Bluegrass Album

“City of Gold,” Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway

Best Traditional Blues Album

“All My Love for You,” Bobby Rus

Best Contemporary Blues Album

“Blood Harmony,” Larkin Poe

Best Folk Album

“Joni Mitchell at Newport (Live),” Joni Mitchell

Best Regional Roots Music Album

“New Beginnings,” Buckwheat Zydeco Jr. and the Legendary Ils Sont Partis Band

“Live: Orpheum Theater Nola,” Lost Bayou Ramblers and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (tie)

Best Gospel Performance/Song

“All Things,” Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, songwriter

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song

“Your Power,” Lecrae and Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Best Gospel Album

“All Things New: Live in Orlando,” Tye Tribbett

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

“Church Clothes 4,” Lecrae

Best Roots Gospel Album

“Echoes of the South,” Blind Boys of Alabama

Best Latin Pop Album

“X Mí (Vol. 1),” Gaby Moreno

Best Música Urbana Album

“Mañana Será Bonito,” Karol G

Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album

“Vida Cotidiana,” Juanes

“De Todas Las Flores,” Natalia Lafourcade (tie)

Best Música Mexicana Album (Including Tejano)

“Génesis,” Peso Pluma

Best Tropical Latin Album

“Siembra: 45° Aniversario (En Vivo en el Coliseo de Puerto Rico, 14 de Mayo 2022),” Rubén Blades con Roberto Delgado and Orquesta

Best Global Music Performance

“Pashto,” Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain featuring Rakesh Chaurasia

Best African Music Performance

“Water,” Tyla

Best Global Music Album

“This Moment,” Shakti

Best Reggae Album

“Colors of Royal,” Julian Marley & Antaeus

Best New Age, Ambient or Chant Album

“So She Howls,” Carla Patullo featuring Tonality and the Scorchio Quartet

Best Children’s Music Album

“We Grow Together Preschool Songs,” 123 Andrés

Best Comedy Album

“What’s in a Name?,” Dave Chappelle

Best Audiobook, Narration and Storytelling Recording

“The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times,” Michelle Obama

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media

“Barbie: The Album” (Various Artists)

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (Includes Film and Television)

“Oppenheimer,” Ludwig Göransson, composer

Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media

“Star Wars Jedi: Survivor,” Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab, composers

Best Song Written for Visual Media

“What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie: The Album,” Billie Eilish O’Connell and Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)

Best Music Video

“I’m Only Sleeping” (The Beatles), Em Cooper, video director; Jonathan Clyde, Sophie Hilton, Sue Loughlin and Laura Thomas, video producers

Best Music Film

“Moonage Daydream” (David Bowie), Brett Morgen, video director; Brett Morgen, video producer

Best Recording Package

“Stumpwork,” Luke Brooks and James Theseus Buck, art directors (Dry Cleaning)

Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package

“For the Birds: The Birdsong Project,” Jeri Heiden and John Heiden, art directors (Various Artists)

Best Album Notes

“Written in Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos,” Robert Gordon and Deanie Parker, album notes writers (Various Artists)

Best Historical Album

“Written in Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos,” Robert Gordon, Deanie Parker, Cheryl Pawelski, Michele Smith and Mason Williams, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer; Michael Graves, restoration engineer (Various Artists)

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical

“Jaguar II,” John Kercy, Kyle Mann, Victoria Monét, Patrizio “Teezio” Pigliapoco, Neal H Pogue and Todd Robinson, engineers; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer (Victoria Monét)

Best Engineered Album, Classical

“Contemporary American Composers,” David Frost & Charlie Post, engineers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Riccardo Muti and Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Producer of the Year, Classical

Elaine Martone

Best Remixed Recording

“Wagging Tongue (Wet Leg Remix),” Wet Leg, remixers (Depeche Mode)

Best Immersive Audio Album

“The Diary of Alicia Keys,” George Massenburg and Eric Schilling, immersive mix engineers; Michael Romanowski, immersive mastering engineer; Alicia Keys and Ann Mincieli, immersive producers (Alicia Keys)

Best Instrumental Composition

“Helena’s Theme,” John Williams, composer (John Williams)

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella

“Folsom Prison Blues,” John Carter Cash, Tommy Emmanuel, Markus Illko, Janet Robin and Roberto Luis Rodriguez, arrangers (The String Revolution featuring Tommy Emmanuel)

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals

“In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” Erin Bentlage, Jacob Collier, Sara Gazarek, Johnaye, Kendrick and Amanda Taylor, arrangers (säje Featuring Jacob Collier)

Best Orchestral Performance

“Adès: Dante,” Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)

Best Opera Recording

“Blanchard: Champion,” Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; Ryan Speedo Green, Latonia Moore and Eric Owens; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)

Best Choral Performance

“Saariaho: Reconnaissance,” Nils Schweckendiek, conductor (Uusinta Ensemble; Helsinki Chamber Choir)

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

“Rough Magic,” Roomful of Teeth

Best Classical Instrumental Solo

“The American Project,” Yuja Wang; Teddy Abrams, conductor (Louisville Orchestra)

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

“Walking in the Dark,” Julia Bullock, soloist; Christian Reif, conductor (Philharmonia Orchestra)

Best Classical Compendium

“Passion for Bach and Coltrane,” Alex Brown, Harlem Quartet, Imani Winds, Edward Perez, Neal Smith and A.B. Spellman; Silas Brown and Mark Dover, producers

Best Contemporary Classical Composition

“Montgomery: Rounds,” Jessie Montgomery, composer (Awadagin Pratt, A Far Cry and Roomful of Teeth)

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