This year’s Grammy Awards show took place under new and unfamiliar circumstances. In response to the global pandemic, the Grammys were held in a socially distanced manner at the Los Angeles Convention Centre, with a combination of live performances and pre-recorded segments. There was immense support for the live performances which took place from artists such as Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Black Pumas, Cardi B, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Doja Cat, Maren Morris, John Mayer and many more.
The strong line-up of performances certainly compensated for the unprecedented times, where live shows and concerts have simply been put on hold indefinitely.
The Grammys have faced major backlash from loyal fans of high-profile artists, and also the artists themselves, on accounts of corruption and criticisms of lack of diversity in those who were awarded with the prestigious Grammy trophy. This year, Zayn was one of the most prolific artists, who had taken to his social media in order to express his dissatisfaction with the unjust, ‘lack of inclusion and transparency of the nomination process’, after he was snubbed in this year’s list of nominees. Whilst there remained those who outright condemned the award show, there also remained those who had the opposite reaction, as the truth is; the Grammys never fail to surprise. This year saw The Stroke win their first ever Grammy, despite this being their first nomination, following years of being overlooked by the awards show. The band’s 2020 album ‘The New Abnormal’ won the ‘Best Rock Album’ category, against fierce competition from competing artists, such as The Fontains D.C and Grace Potter.
Taylor Swift had unsurprisingly been one of the main talking points, of those who had watched the Grammys unfold live. Swift’s album ‘Folklore’ had won ‘Album of the Year’ at this year’s awards show. This marks a significant moment of her journey through the music industry, following her nomination for ‘Best Country Album’ for ‘Speak Now’ which did not receive a win, and her 2015 win for ‘Album of the Year’ with her pop album ‘1989’. What people had taken away from this, was that Taylor could excel in the genre of pop music, in a way that she couldn’t so much when she created folk/country style music. This year’s Grammy win for Folklore proved differently. Despite how shocking it was to Taylor’s fans that she would release an album that differed so drastically in genre shift, from her previous pop album ‘Lover’, it outlined the fundamental fact that her abilities are not limited to any of genre of music, and she continues to grow as an artist; a fact supported by her numerous Grammy wins. This year makes Taylor Swift the first female artist ever, to win album of the year three times.
Beyoncé also made history at this year’s Grammys, after receiving an award for ‘Best R&B performance’, which marked her 28th Grammy win, ultimately making her the most-awarded female artist. Female artists had strongly dominated in many categories; Megan Thee Stallion became the first female artist to win the award for ‘Best Rap Song’ and ‘Best new artist’, and Billie Eilish won ‘Record of the Year’.
The 2021 Grammys overall had the audience reflect on what can only be described as an eventful and unpredictable year. Protest songs such as H.E.R’s I Can’t Breathe, had us reflecting on a year of solitude, whilst the live performances had us reflecting on the impact that music has had on us all as a collective, over this unprecedented period of time. You can catch up on the full ceremony below…
Words: Amy Wong