Arts & Entertainment Editor
On Sunday, Feb. 4 2023 the 66th Annual Grammys took place, and with it came iconic artists from the past and lots of arising talent in new artists, but powerful moments of advocacy. For awards, the nominees for Album of the Year included boygenius’ album “the record,” Miley Cyrus’ album “Endless Summer Vacation,” Jon Batiste’s album “World Music Radio,” and Lana Del Rey’s album “Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. Janelle Monáe’s “The Age Of Pleasure,” Olivia Rodrigo’s “GUTS” and SZAs “SOS” were also nominated. Ultimately, Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” won.
Additionally, Billie Eilish won Song Of The Year For “What Was I Made For?” from the Barbie Soundtrack, while Samara Joy proved her talent by winning Best Jazz Performance for her song “Tight.” Phoebe Bridgers accumulated four wins throughout the night. This included three with her band, boygenius, making her the artist with the most trophies from the night.
The night also included many firsts for artists, with Victoria Monét being named Best New Artist, and Miley Cyrus winning her first Grammy for Best Pop Solo performance for “Flowers.” During her performance, she excitedly yelled “Started to cry, but then remembered I just won my first Grammy!”
One of my favorite moments was the incredible performance by Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs of Chapman’s 1988 hit “Fast Car.” Arguably one of the best all-time collaborative performances, it came about after Luke Combs’ cover of the song won awards at the Country Music Association Awards in November 2023. The emotions were high, and it was powerful to see Chapman back on stage after 15 years, especially singing one of my all-time favorite songs. After the performance, Chapman’s original “Fast Car” skyrocketed to the top of the iTunes charts, introducing a new audience to this iconic song and artist.
Other honorary performances were Joni Mitchell’s first ever Grammys performance of her classic song “Both Sides Now,” and Olivia Rodrigo’s impressive performance of “vampire.” SZA also had a stylish and entertaining performance of songs like “Snooze” and “Kill Bill,” and surprised the audience with her unreleased song “Saturn.” With nine Grammy nominations, SZA went in as the most-nominated artist, and won Best Progressive R&B Album and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Leon Thomas won Best R&B Song for his work on “Snooze.”
The 2024 Grammys also included artists using their platform for advocacy. As he was accepting his Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z called on the Recording Academy to “get it right” in recognizing Black artists. In his speech, he called out that despite his wife Beyoncé becoming the most-awarded artist in Grammys history in 2023, she has yet to win Album of the Year. He continued his speech with “Some of you may get robbed, Some of you don’t belong in the category.”
Additionally, during a moving tribute to Sinéad O’Connor, Annie Lennox performed “Nothing Compares 2 U,” with Wendy & Lisa. The performance concluded with Lennox raising her fist in the air and shouted to the audience, “Artists for ceasefire! Peace in the world!” Lennox and other artists published a letter asking the US Congress and President Joe Biden to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel. Notably, this letter calls on the president to “honor all of the lives in the Holy Land and call for and facilitate a ceasefire without delay; an end to the bombing of Gaza, and the safe release of hostages.”