Beyonce, Taylor Swift make Grammy history as women dominate big prizes

Beyonce becomes female singer with most Grammy wins as women sweep major awards

LOS ANGELES  : Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish took the top prizes at the Grammy Awards on Sunday but Beyonce was the big winner on a history-making night marked by multiple wins for women.

Beyonce's four Grammys on Sunday - two of them shared with Best New Artist winner Megan Thee Stallion - took her total career wins to 28, surpassing the previous Grammy record for a female artist set by bluegrass singer Alison Krauss.

Swift's surprise record Folklore, recorded during coronavirus lockdowns, was named Album of the Year and made Swift, 31, the first woman to take home that prize three times.

In a socially distanced ceremony of live and pre-recorded performances, the writers of I Can't Breathe by R&B artist H.E.R won Song of the Year. It was written in response to the Black Lives Matter protests that roiled the US last summer following the killing of George Floyd.

Black culture was also celebrated in Beyonce's single Black Parade, which was named Best R&B Performance.

"It has been such a difficult time," said Beyonce, reflecting on the cultural reckoning about racism in the US. "I wanted to uplift, encourage, celebrate all the beautiful Black queens and kings that continue to inspire me and the whole world," she added.

Megan Thee Stallion, 26, known for promoting women's empowerment, came away with two more wins for her single Savage featuring Beyonce.

Eilish's ballad Everything I Wanted won Record of the Year, and the 19-year-old also won for her theme song for the upcoming James Bond movie No Time To Die. Eilish said she was embarrassed by the win, saying it should have gone to Megan.

"You deserve it. Genuinely. Can we just cheer for Megan Thee Stallion," Eilish said.

The ceremony was also aimed at moving past the devastating effects of the pandemic on the live music industry, including the cancellation of music festivals, touring and concerts.

British singer Dua Lipa won Best Pop Vocal Album for her dance-y Future Nostalgia and spoke of the value of music during hard times. "I am just so grateful and so honoured because happiness is something that we all deserve," Lipa said.

Hosted by Trevor Noah, the ceremony was packed with performances by the likes of Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, Post Malone, DaBaby, Black Pumas and Mickey Guyton. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion teamed up to perform their summer single WAP in one of the raunchier moments of the night.

It took place both indoors and outdoors in Downtown Los Angeles but mostly without the elaborate sets and special effects that traditionally mark the highest honours in music.

"We are hoping this is all about what 2021 can be, full of joy, new beginnings and coming together. Never forgetting what happened in 2020, but full of hope for what is to come," Noah said.

K-pop band BTS lost in the Best Pop Duo or Group Performance against Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande for their single Rain On Me, but performed their hit English-language single Dynamite from South Korea at the close of the show. The seven-member band had been hoping to be the first K-pop act to win a Grammy after a breakthrough year in the US for the genre. - REUTERS