The 63rd Grammy Awards: Highlights and Takeaways

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(Credit: Grammys Recording Academy)

63rd Annual Grammy’s take place with Covid-19 precautions. The event was organized to honor the music industry’s most talented artists. At the same time, many artists called out the Recording Academy for holding prejudice in nominating certain artists. “The Recording Academy has had a rocky history with acknowledging female artists; more recently, many argue that they have failed to properly recognize artists of color.”

Spandana Vagwala '22, Co Assistant Editor-in-Chief

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the world for over a year in every way possible. While it abruptly uprooted our daily work and school lives, it has more gradually placed a strain on the background noise in our lives as well – especially the world of entertainment and the music industry. With the exception of live concerts and world tours, the music industry is slowly reviving with weekly album releases, virtual concerts, and award shows as the vaccine becomes available to more people everyday. For the past 62 years, the Grammys have been defined as the biggest night in music — a night where the Recording Academy (supposedly) recognizes the best music artists and their work. Though originally scheduled to take place at the end of January, Covid-19 pushed the Grammys back 6 weeks this year. 

(Credit: Billboard)

On March 14, the 63rd Grammys kicked off with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah opening the first ever socially distanced Grammys. Unlike prior years, the performances were pre-recorded across five separate stages to give a live and in person effect, while the actual live award ceremony took place at an outdoor venue. The star-studded lineup of the Grammys this year pleased many viewers. From Harry Styles’s opening performance of “Watermelon Sugar,” and Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted,” to medley performances by Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift, the Grammys promised a show that would resonate a sense of normalcy without having the virtual barrier that was more apparent in other award shows during the pandemic. 

(Credit: Grammys Recording Academy)

The Grammys were confronted with heavy criticism for their nominations this year. The Recording Academy has had a rocky history with acknowledging female artists; more recently, many argue that they have failed to properly recognize artists of color. When nominations were announced back in November, online social media platforms erupted in anger at the lack of recognition towards certain artists, including The Weeknd, BTS, Bad Bunny, Rina Sawayama, and many more. The frustration with disproportionate nominations also carries over to the winners of each category. In years past, the Recording Academy has been called out for nominating artists of color, especially female artists of color, only to “rob” them of a well-deserved Grammy by awarding it to a white artist instead. 

Singer-songwriter Zayn Malik, who has had chart-smashing singles and albums but 0 nominations, took to Twitter the weekend before the Grammys to express his thoughts. He said: “The Recording Academy is moving in inches and we need to move in miles. I’m keeping the pressure on & fighting for transparency & inclusion. We need to make sure we are honoring and celebrating ‘creative excellence’ of ALL. End the secret committees. We need to acknowledge the need for inclusion and the lack of transparency of the nomination process and the space that creates and allows favoritism, racism, and networking politics to influence the voting process.”

(Credit: CBS News)

Despite the criticisms, the 2021 Grammys were still enjoyable, and the wins in most of the categories were not disappointing. Beyonce made Grammy history with a record-breaking 28 wins in her entire career, making her the female artist with the most Grammys ever. Other major wins include Taylor Swift’s folklore for Album of the Year, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia for Pop Vocal Album of the Year, Harry Styles’s “Watermelon Sugar” for Pop Solo Performance, Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage (remix) with Beyonce” for Rap Song and Rap Performance and the Best New Artist award, and Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted” for Record of the Year. 

(Credit: CBS News)

The Grammys this year translated the same level of enjoyment and intimacy as usual while taking the necessary precautions of our Covid-19 era. As per many online reviews, their ability to provide an award show that was almost seamless in its presentation was commendable, and we can hope that, in the future, their nominations and winners feature a more diverse and authentic array of musicians. 

For a full list of nominations and wins, visit this website.

Spandana Vagwala ‘22, Co Assistant Editor-in-Chief

22svagwala@montroseschool.org