Swift Makes History with 4th Album of the Year Grammy; Women Dominate Ceremony

Connor Forbes
Connor Forbes
10 Min Read
Photo by Getty Images for the Recording Academy

Grammy Awards

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – As expected, women dominated the Grammy stage Monday evening, sweeping all of the top honors as Taylor Swift earned a record-setting fourth prize for album of the year, Miley Cyrus won record of the year for “Flowers” and Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” from the movie “Barbie” won song of the year.

Over the course of the 3 1/2-hour Grammy telecast at Crypto.com Arena, the only men to take the stage to accept awards were Jay-Z — who received a Global Impact Award — and Finneas O’Connell, who accepted the song of the year honor alongside his sister and collaborator, Billie Eilish.

Otherwise, the 66th annual Grammy Awards was a celebration of female artists, with Swift capping the night as she accepted the album of the year statuette for “Midnights.” It was her fourth career win in the category, breaking a tie she was previously in with Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon, who all won it three times. Swift previously won in the category for her albums “Fearless,” “1989” and “Folklore.”

“I would love to tell you that this is the best moment in my life,” Swift told the star-studded crowd as she accepted the top award of the night. “But I feel this happy when I finish a song or when I crack the code to a bridge that I love or when I’m shot-listing a music video, or when I’m rehearsing with my dancers or my band or getting ready to go to Tokyo to play a show.

“For me, the award is the work. All I want to do is keep being able to do this. I love it so much. It makes me so happy.”

Swift made her legions of fans happy earlier in the telecast, when “Midnights” won for best pop vocal album.

“So I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I’ve been keeping from you for the last two years — which is that my brand new album comes out April 19th,” she said. “It’s called `The Tortured Poets Department.”‘

Swift’s team posted a photo of the album cover on her Instagram page at that moment, and within minutes it received more than 6 million likes.

Cyrus also won two awards during the telecast portion of the Grammys — the first Grammys of her career. In addition to record of the year, “Flowers” also earned Cyrus a prize for best pop solo performance. She also performed the song during the show.

The pop solo performance award was presented to her by Mariah Carey, leaving Cyrus starstruck.

“Oh my God, I just got stuck in the rain in traffic and thought I was gonna miss this moment. And I could have missed the award, that’s fine, but not Mariah Carey,” Cyrus said on stage.

She went on to tell a story that she said described the origins of “Flowers.”

“So there was a little boy that all he wanted for his birthday was a butterfly and so his parents gave him a butterfly net and he was so excited,” Cyrus said. “He just went outside out in the sun and started swinging and swinging. But with no luck. … He finally let go and he surrendered and he was okay that he wasn’t going to capture this beautiful butterfly. And right when he did is when the butterfly came and landed right on the tip of his nose. And this song, `Flowers’ is my butterfly.”

When she returned to the stage later to accept the record of the year honor, she said, “This award is amazing, but I really hope that it doesn’t change anything because my life was beautiful yesterday. Not everyone in the world will get a Grammy, but everyone in this world is spectacular.”

Billie Eilish and Finneas took home the song of the year prize for “What Was I Made For?,” a song penned for the motion picture “Barbie.” During the pre-telecast awards ceremony Sunday afternoon, the song won the Grammy for best song written for visual media.

Eilish hailed all the other nominees in the song of the year category, calling it a list of “incredible people, incredible artists, incredible music.” But she also hugged Finneas, saying, “Thank you to my brother who’s my best friend in the world and makes me the person I am today.”

She also thanked “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig “for making the best movie of the year.”

Finneas recalled getting a call “out of the blue” and being asked if they wanted to be on the “Barbie” soundtrack.

“And I was like, yeah, of course we do,” he said. “We just continue to be just deeply, deeply privileged, lucky people. … We feel very humbled, very grateful.”

The song of the year award is presented to songwriters, while record of the year is given to the artist.

The other top award of the night — best new artist — went to Victoria Monét.

“I just want to say to everybody who has a dream I want you to look at this as an example,” she said as she accepted the honor. “… This award was a 15-year pursuit. I moved to L.A. in 2009. And I like to liken myself to a plant who was planted and you can look at the music industry as soil. And it can be looked at as dirty or it can be looked at as a source of nutrients and water. And my roots have been growing underneath the ground unseen for so long. And I feel like today I’m sprouting finally above ground.”

Singer-songwriter SZA went into the night with a leading nine nominations. She wound up winning a total of three, although she was shut out in the top categories. During the telecast, she won the Grammy for best R&B song for “Snooze,” while during the pre-telecast ceremony, she scored prizes for best progressive R&B album for “SOS” and best pop duo/group performance for “Ghost in the Machine,” a collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers.

Lainey Wilson’s “Bell Bottom Country” won the prize for best country album, giving Wilson her first career Grammy Award. She said the album “has truly changed my life.”

“I am from a farming community in northeast Louisiana, a little town of 200 people and I’m a fifth generation farmer’s daughter,” she said. “And I would consider myself a farmer too, and everybody that I surround myself with, I think they’re farmers too, but they’re story farmers. And it’s about getting up every single day and planting those seeds and watering them and watching them grow. And sometimes when you find the right farming community, you can have a harvest of a lifetime. And I truly believe that and I think that’s exactly what this is tonight.”

The Grammy telecast, hosted by Trevor Noah, featured its usual wide array of performances, including the first-ever Grammy appearance by Joni Mitchell, while Billy Joel took to the stage to perform his recently released “Turn the Lights Back On,” his first new song in 17 years.

Others performing during the show included SZA, Eilish, Dua Lipa, Rodrigo, Burna Boy and Luke Combs, who performed “Fast Car” — a song he covered last year — alongside original artist Tracy Chapman.

U2 appeared live during the telecast from the Sphere in Las Vegas, where the Irish supergroup has been performing in a venue-opening residency.

During an extended “In Memoriam” segment, Stevie Wonder paid tribute to his friend and collaborator Tony Bennett, singing the tune they sang together, “For Once in My Life.” Oprah Winfrey took the stage to pay tribute to the late superstar Tina Turner, while Lenny Kravitz hailed the life of Clarence Avant, the “Godfather of Black Music.”

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Photo by Getty Images for the Recording Academy
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