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SZA and Swift win Grammys, as Tracy Chapman wows gala audience

by Agence France Presse

LOS ANGELES, United States: The Grammys gala opened with electrifying performances Sunday including a revenge fantasy from top nominee and triple winner SZA, as Taylor Swift notched a win and kept her eye on history.

Legend Tracy Chapman delivered a moving rendition of her 1988 classic “Fast Car” with country star Luke Combs, who found streaming success with a cover of the track.

It was a rare public appearance from Chapman, whose crystal-clear vocals had many audience members swaying and singing along, including Taylor Swift — who looked statuesque in a white Schiaparelli gown with black opera gloves — and Oprah Winfrey.

Billie Eilish gave a soft performance of her moving, Grammy-winning hit off the “Barbie” soundtrack “What Was I Made For?” wearing 1950s-style cat-eye sunglasses and a scarf over her bright red locks.

The first awards of the gala were also doled out, with Miley Cyrus taking home the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance for her song “Flowers.”

“Oh my God, I just got stuck in the rain and traffic and thought I was going to miss this moment!” she exclaimed in accepting the award from pop icon Mariah Carey.

SZA seized three prizes on the night so far, including best R&B song, best progressive R&B album and best pop duo or group performance with Phoebe Bridgers.

Swift, who could make history with an Album of the Year win, won for Best Pop Vocal Album for “Midnights” — and announced that she will drop a new album on April 19.

And Karol G won the prize for Best Musica Urbana for “Manana Sera Bonito” — recognition that some industry watchers said wasn’t enough given that Latinos were excluded this year from the major categories.

boygenius wins big

The broadcast gala — in which just nine total awards are presented — followed the hours-long pre-show, in which the vast majority of the more than 90 gramophones were distributed.

The supergroup boygenius cleaned up in the rock categories.

Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker — the members of boygenius — were giddy with delight as they ran onstage to accept three trophies.

“I feel kinda like a kid, because that was the last time that something like this felt possible,” said Dacus, with Baker adding: “This band is my family, I love them.”

But it’s anyone’s guess who will take home the evening’s major prizes later on, with the indomitable Swift in contention in one of the more eclectic nomination fields in recent memory.

Women make up the vast majority of the contenders for the top Album and Record of the Year prizes, with just one man, the jazz polymath Jon Batiste, in the running.

History for Taylor?

An Album of the Year win for Swift would be her fourth — the most for any artist, a new record that would break the tie she is currently in with Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.

It would be a cherry on top for the 34-year-old, who is already the toast of the music world.

Related Article: Are Taylor Swift-related courses in PH important? Lecturers explain

She makes headlines with every breath, not least for her romance with NFL star Travis Kelce, who can’t make it to the ceremony as he’s tied up preparing for next weekend’s Super Bowl.

That seven of eight nominees in the Album and Record of the Year categories are women or gender fluid is a sea change many industry watchers see as long overdue.

Music from “Barbie” won two awards during the pre-show — one for best compilation soundtrack for visual media and another to Eilish for best song written for visual media.

Eilish called “Barbie” the “most incredible, most beautiful empowering movie” in her acceptance speech alongside her brother and co-writer, Finneas O’Connell.

Music from the film has more changes to win during the broadcast gala.

The rapper Killer Mike won big in the rap categories, taking home three trophies for music off his album “Michael.”

“I consciously set out to tell the story of a young Black boy growing up on the west side of Atlanta so that the world can see that our narrative isn’t just victimization and losing, but we can win, we can thrive and prosper,” he told journalists backstage.

But his wins were overshadowed as his reported detention by police went viral.

The Los Angeles Police Department did not immediately respond to a query from AFP about the situation.

Joni Mitchell beamed as she accepted the honor for best folk album for “Joni Mitchell At Newport,” a live recording of her performance at the storied festival that came just years after an aneurysm led to fears she might never play again.

“We had so much fun at that concert, and I think you can feel it on the record,” she said onstage wearing long, silky patterned robes and her signature beret.

She is set to perform during the gala broadcast ceremony for the first time, more than half-a-century after winning her first Grammy.



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