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Grammys 2024: The Girls Club

Grammys 2024: The Girls Club 

 

To my absolute delight, The Grammys 2024 brought a wave of female celebration. We saw our childhood hero Mylie Cyrus glowing with happiness at winning her hugely overdue first Grammy, and Phoebe Bridgers as the night’s outright winner. Seeing all of these talented women cheering each other on was so warming, wholesome, and really affirmed my belief in a growing sense of female solidarity for the coming year.  

 

For many up-and-coming female artists and bands, people are so quick to brand them as ‘industry plants’ as if women being successful is an impossible feat that cannot be achieved without a leg up. While these artists do not need an award to label their worth as artists, it is a great show of appreciation for their hard work and the dedication to their art.  

 

The majority of the ceremony’s performers were female demonstrated by the opening performer to the show being pop music’s golden girl, Dua Lipa. Dua Lipa, who is smashing her genre was joined by equally legendary women in history such as Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell – her long overdue first Grammy’s performance at aged eighty! The legacy of these women is colossal, and this idea of the female legacy was, of course, reaffirmed by Taylor Swift. 

 

In a surprise appearance, the icon that is Celine Dion presented the award as Taylor made history as the first artist to win album of the year 4 times, and her lucky number 13 Grammy. Always one to consistently boost up other women in the industry, she remained humble as ever, and shouted out her close friend Lana Del Rey, saying “I think so many female artists would not be where they are and would not have the inspiration that they have if not for the work that she’s done. I think she’s a legacy artist—a legend in her prime right now.”  

 

The evening’s first presenter was Mariah Carey, onstage just three days after receiving the Impact Award from the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective. Carey presented Best Pop Solo Performance, and ecstatically announced: "And yes, this year all five nominees are women!" This was taken by Mylie Cyrus, who seemed just as excited to see Carey as the award! After performing the winning single “Flowers” in which she charmingly joked "Why are you acting like you don't know this song?", Miley Cyrus afterwards admitted her motivation for performing was to watch herself back in bed the next day. Despite her excitement at her first win, she glowed in her speech, in which she characteristically signed off: "I don't think I forgot anyone, but I might've forgotten underwear... bye!" 

 

Women won in every category bar two this year, with SZA having the most nominations and the experimental R&B artist was given her award by gushing friend Lizzo. Tyla must be mentioned, as the 22-year-old is now the highest charting African female solo musician in Billboard history at just a month out from even releasing her debut studio album, the viral pop star was nominated in the stacked inaugural Category of Best African Music Performance.  

 

It didn’t end there, Victoria Monét won Best R&B Album and was also the oldest winner of Best New Artist. Joni Mitchell has only been on the rise and took home Best Folk Album, Lainey Wilson dominated with Best Country Album and of course, we can’t forget about boygenius’ sweep.  

 

As Trevor Nelson announced "There’s a band that has already won today called boygenius, it’s three women. That’s how good a year it is for women." For Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker, they had a massive year. The boys won Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Alternative Music Album. Despite recently announcing a hiatus, we can only hope for some more solo music to be released from these three geniuses! 

 

In a historically male dominated category, it was inspiring to see women take over the Rock and Alternative category after such a huge year of rock music. Paramore won two awards in this category and all I can say is its crazy it’s taken this long for the Rock and Alternative category to recognise female-fronted rock bands.

 

According to Billboard, in the past 10 years, women have only made up 13.6% of Grammy nominees across the “Big Four” categories (Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year).  In response to former Grammy Chairman, Neil Portnow’s comments in 2018 when asked about the lack of female nominees and winners, “Women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls… need to step up,” Phoebe Bridgers responded in her acceptance speech, "To him I’d like to say: I know you’re not dead yet, but when you are, I hope you rot in piss.” 

 

Eyes were not dry on this evening though. Joni Mitchell’s performance was hugely evocative and emotional after recovering from a brain-aneurysm, she’s been outwardly returning to the spotlight to the appreciation of the whole industry. Along with this was Annie Lennox of The Eurythmics’ tribute to Sinead O’Connor, who has recently been nominated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lenox’s rendition of "Nothing Compares 2 U", with glittery tears running, performed with completely captivating gravitas, and as the song finished Lenox raised a fist, and spoke a simple, direct sentence that the outspoken activist O'Connor surely would have appreciated: "Artists for ceasefire, peace in the world." 

 

In such a huge year, The Grammy’s have certainly made improved steps in recognising female talent in the music industry, but they’re still slacking. In 2019, the Grammy’s launched the Producer & Engineer Inclusion Initiative. The purpose of this initiative was to push the music industry toward a better consideration for women in production and engineering roles. Since that initiative was launched, zero women have been nominated in the Producer of the Year category. Despite this, we can celebrate and appreciate the women who have been recognised as well as the ones that haven’t’ and hope a future in which industry professionals can take the hint and credit good music where its due.  

 

 Words by Millie Cain she/her

 

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