The Grammy Awards is back and with breakthroughs
By: David Ho
February 6, 2023
The Grammy Awards is back in full swing in 2023 after a difficult three years for the music awards show since COVID-19 began
The 65th edition of the awards was held at Los Angeles’ crypto.com arena and hosted by South African comedian Trevor Noah for the third time. This year saw performances by Bad Bunny, Harry Styles, Mary J. Blige, Brandi Carlile, Luke Combs, Steve Lacy, Lizzo and Sam Smith with Kim Petras.
Living up to her now Grammy Award-winning album’s title, Beyoncé is truly experiencing a “Renaissance”. The Queen Bey now holds the record for the most Grammy wins.
Before tonight’s event, Beyoncé had a total of 28 awards. The previous record holder was the late Hungarian-British conductor Georg Solti with 31 wins.
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There was already much hype before the event that Beyoncé would break the record. This year, she held a whopping nine nominations, making her the artiste with the most nominations this year.
“We are witnessing history tonight! Breaking the record for the most Grammy wins of all time, be upstanding and show your respects, it’s Renaissance!” declared James Corden before presenting her with the award for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album.
Her other wins this year include Best Dance/Electronic Recording, Best Traditional R&B Performance, Best R&B Song. The former Destiny’s Child member was also nominated for Record of The Year, Album of The Year, Song of The Year, Best R&B Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media.
“I would like to thank my uncle Johnny, who is not here. But he is here in spirit,” began a clearly emotional Beyoncé in her thank you speech. She also made sure to “thank the queer community.”
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Beyoncé had previously paid tribute to her Johnny back in 2019, when she accepted an award from GLAAD. In the liner notes of Renaissance, she also dedicated the album, a house music album steeped in references to black gay culture, to her late uncle who was a member of the community.
It proved to be an evening of numerous other breakthroughs.
Kim Petras became the first transgender woman to win a Grammy. Her duet “Unholy” with Sam Smith picked up the golden gramophone for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
Viola Davis also became the 18th person to achieve the EGOT – winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. She achieved this by getting Best Audio Book, Narration & Storytelling Recording for her autobiography Finding Me.
There was also the first-ever Grammy Song for Social Change award. It was given to Iranian singer-songwriter, Shervine Hajipour, for his song “Baraye”. This song became the anthem of the Mahsa Amini protests, a fight for freedom and women’s rights.
Some oldies but goodies are also among those given the Grammy spotlight this time.
ABBA’s ninth and final album, Voyage, was up for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album, while their song “Don’t Shut Me Down” was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The iconic Swedish quartet did not end up picking up any wins, but the nominations came in as a surprise. It is a much-delayed nod of appreciation as the supergroup did not receive any nominations until 2021.
Taylor Swift’s Red also finally won Grammy recognition a decade after its initial release. The singer-songwriter re-recorded her fourth solo venture after well-publicised disputes over rights to the masters of her back catalogue.
The re-recorded “Red” (Taylor’s Version)’ has gone on to gain critical acclaim. A 10-minute re-recording of “All Too Well” from the album picked up Best Music Video. Swift’s 12th Grammy now marks her as an award-winning director, which was her directing debut.
Other notable wins include Bonnie Raitt winning Song of the Year for “Just Like That”. The song tells the story of a woman mourning the death of her son, who finds comfort from the man who received his heart in a transplant.
The “Holding Out for a Hero” songstress seemed genuinely stunned when First Lady Jill Biden called out her name. We predict memes to come.
Harry Styles picked up Album of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for Harry’s House. He was nominated for Record of The Year, Song of The Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, and Best Music Video.
Lizzo picked up the much-coveted Record of the Year award for “About Damn Time”. She gave a dazzling performance of that track and ‘Special’ while accompanied by a choir. The singer-songwriter-flautist gave a truly joyful acceptance speech that gave props to both Prince and Beyoncé.
Adele won Best Pop Solo Performance for her song ‘Easy on Me’ but her encounter with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson proved to be just as memorable. She previously admitted she would “actually cry” if she met the actor-wrestler. But the hug and kiss they went for left her just beaming.
Billed as “music’s biggest night”, this year’s awards show finds the entertainment industry back to its full bloom of glitz and glamour, from red carpets and parties to the presentation ceremony itself.