She didn’t win album, record or song of the year, but Beyoncé was queen of the 63rd annual Grammys Sunday evening, collecting four overall awards to become the most honored female artist in Grammy history, while Megan Thee Stallion capped a banner year by collecting the prize for best new artist.
Taylor Swift took home the album of the year award for “Folklore,” and last year’s Grammy darling Billie Eilish scored a repeat win for record of the year with “Everything I Wanted.” H.E.R.’s protest anthem “I Can’t Breathe” was named song of the year.
But despite failing to win in the top categories during the socially distanced downtown Los Angeles ceremony, it was Beyoncé’s night. When she won the award for best R&B performance for “Black Parade,” it was her 28th career Grammy, surpassing Alison Krauss to become the most honored female artist in Grammy history. She also moved within striking distance of becoming the winningest artist of all time. The late Hungarian conductor Georg Solti holds the overall Grammy record with 31 wins. Beyoncé is now tied with producer Quincy Jones, who also has 28 career Grammys.
“I am so honored. I’m so excited,” Beyoncé said. “Thank you guys. As an artist I believe it’s my job and all of our jobs to reflect the times, and it’s been such a difficult time. So I wanted to uplift, encourage, celebrate all of the beautiful Black queens and kings that continue to inspire me and inspire the whole world. This is so overwhelming. I’ve been working my whole life, since 9 years old, and I can’t believe this happened. This is such a magical night.”
So charmed was Beyoncé’s night that during the afternoon pre-telecast awards ceremony, she shared a Grammy win for best music video with her 9-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, who became the second-youngest Grammy winner of all time. They won the honor with WizKid for “Brown Skin Girl,” for which Blue Ivy has a writing credit, and she also appeared in the video.
The youngest person to ever win a Grammy is Leah Peasall, who was 8 when she won an award with her two sisters for their contribution to the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack.
Megan Thee Stallion also had a big night, winning best new artist and scoring a pair of Grammys for her collaboration with Beyoncé, “Savage,” which won for best rap performance and best rap song.
Her win for best new artist marked the first time a rapper has won the honor in two decades.
“I don’t want to cry, but first of all, I want to say everybody is amazing, every artist that was nominated for this award is so amazing, so shout out to all of y’all,” she said.
She thanked her team and supporters for “sticking by me through my craziness,” noting, “it’s been a hell of a year, but we made it.” She concluded by paying tribute to her mother, Holly Thomas, who died in 2019.
“I really want to say thank you to my momma,” she said. “She’s not here with me today, but I know she’s with me in spirit, and she always believed I could do it.”
When she took the stage later with Beyoncé to accept the award for best rap song for “Savage,” she paid homage to Grammy’s new queen.
“I definitely want to say thank you to Beyoncé,” she said. “If you know me, you have to know that ever since I was little, I was like, `You know what, one day I’m gonna grow up and gonna be like the rap Beyoncé.’ That was definitely my goal.”
So impressive was Megan Thee Stallion’s work over the past year that Eilish, who beat her for the record of the year honor, spent almost her entire acceptance speech trying to give the award to the rapper.
“Megan, girl, I was gonna write a speech about how you deserve this, but then I was like, there’s no way they’re going to choose me,” Eilish said. “I was like, it’s hers. You deserve this. You had a year that I think was untoppable. You are a queen. I want to cry thinking about how much I love you. You are so beautiful. You’re so talented. You deserve everything in the world. I think about you constantly. I root for you always. You deserve it, honestly. Genuinely, this goes to her. Can we just cheer for Megan Thee Stallion.”
Swift, accepting the album of the year honor for “Folklore,” hailed her collaborators, then paid tribute to her massive fan base.
“We just want to thank the fans,” she said. “You guys met us in this imaginary world that we created, and we can’t tell you how honored we are forever by this. Thank you so much. And thank you to the Recording Academy. We will never forget you did this for us.”
It was Swift’s third win in the category, a record for a female artist. She previously won for “1989” and “Fearless.”
H.E.R. shared the song of the year honor — which recognizes songwriters — with Dernst Emile II and Tiara Thomas for “I Can’t Breathe.”
“We wrote this song over Facetime, and I didn’t imagine that my fear and that my pain would turn into impact and it would possibly turn into change,” H.E.R. said about the song written in response to national outrage over police brutality and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “And I think that’s what this is about. And that’s why I write music. That’s why I do this. I’m so, so, so grateful.
“I want to thank God for giving me the gift of a voice and a pen and using me as a vessel to create change,” she said. “I want to thank my mom. I recorded this song myself in my bedroom at my mom’s house. And I want to thank my dad. He cried. He was in tears when I wrote this song and I played it for him, he was the first person I played it for.
“… We are the change that we wish to see. That fight that we had in us the summer of 2020, keep that same energy.”
Miranda Lambert won the Grammy for best country album for “Wildcard,” and she hailed the women-dominated category that also included Ingrid Andress, Brandy Clark, Ashley McBryde and Little Big Town.
“We’re such a family in country music, so I feel like holding this right now I’m holding this for all of us, especially us girls,” she said.
And in a message to country music fans, she added, “I miss the hell out of you all and I can’t wait to get back out with the fans. I love you so much, thank you.”
It was Lambert’s second career Grammy win for best country album. She also took home the honor in 2015 for “Platinum.”
Harry Styles won his first career Grammy for best pop solo performance for “Watermelon Sugar.”
“Wow, today everyone who made this record with me, thank you so much,” he said. “This was the fist song we wrote after my first album came out, during a day off in Nashville. … I feel very grateful to be here, thank you.”
Dua Lipa won for best pop vocal album for “Future Nostalgia.”
“`Future Nostalgia’ means the absolute world to me and it has changed my life in so many ways,” she said. “But one thing that I’ve really come to realize is how much happiness is so important. I felt really jaded at the end of my last album where I felt I only had to make sad music to feel like it mattered, And I’m just so grateful and so honored because happiness is something that we all deserve and need in our lives.’
The 63rd annual Grammy Awards were held in a socially distanced manner due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the ceremony moved out of its traditional home at Staples Center. The event instead originated from a tented stage at L.A. Live, with Staples Center looming in the background.
Nominees for each category were seated in the tent at the well-spaced tables. Performances during the nearly four-hour telecast ceremony were done in an adjoining performing space.