Female artists dominated the 2024 Grammys, just as they dominated pop music – and pop culture in general – last year. The 66th annual Grammy Awards were presented at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday (Feb. 4).
Female artists swept the Big Four awards for the third time in the past five years. Taylor Swift’s Midnights won album of the year. Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” took record of the year. Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” (which she wrote with her brother Finneas) won song of the year. Victoria Monét grabbed best new artist.
Swift became the first four-time winner for album of the year. She previously won for Fearless, 1989 and Folklore. Swift had been tied with Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon with three wins each in this category.
Serban Ghenea won as an engineer/mixer on Swift’s album. He’s the first person (not artist, mind you) to win album of the year five times. The Canadian engineer/mixer previously won in the category as an engineer/mixer on Swift’s 1989 and Folklore, Adele’s 25 and Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic.
“Flowers” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks – Cyrus’ longest run by far. “Flowers” represented a major breakthrough for Cyrus: If anyone still thinks of her as the former Hannah Montana star who then went a little overboard in trying to smash that image, it’s time to get over it. “Flowers” proved that she’s a thoroughly credible mainstream pop star.
Eilish and Finneas first won song of the year four years ago for “Bad Guy.” This year’s win for “What Was I Made For?” puts the sibling pair in a tie for the most wins in this category with (take a deep breath) Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer, James Horner, Will Jennings, U2, Adele, Bruno Mars & Christopher Brody Brown and Dernst Emile II (D’Mile).
“What Was I Made For?” is likely to win the Oscar for best original song on March 10. If it does, it would be the first song to win a Grammy for song of the year before winning the Oscar since “You Light Up My Life” 46 years ago.
Monét’s win for best new artist marks the seventh consecutive year that a female solo artist has won in that category, following wins for Alessia Cara, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion, Olivia Rodrigo and Samara Joy. This equals the longest consecutive win streak by female artists in the category’s history. From 1997-2003, the award went, in turn, to LeAnn Rimes, Paula Cole, Lauryn Hill, Christina Aguilera, Shelby Lynn, Alicia Keys and Norah Jones.
Female artists or female-led groups also took top album awards in most major genres, including pop (Taylor Swift’s Midnights), alternative music (boygenius’ The Record), rock (Paramore’s This Is Why), progressive R&B (SZA’s SOS), R&B (Victoria Monét’s Jaguar II) and country (Lainey Wilson’s Bell Bottom Country).
Boygenius, SZA, Victoria Monét and Killer Mike were the night’s top winners in terms of number of awards won, with three awards each.
Trevor Noah hosted the Grammys for the fourth consecutive year. Songwriter Justin Tranter hosted the Premiere Ceremony, where more than 80 of the 94 awards were presented, live from Peacock Theater, which is adjacent to Crypto. Both hosts were Grammy nominees this year. Noah was nominated for best comedy album; Tranter for songwriter of the year, non-classical. Alas, both lost.
Killer Mike swept the rap categories, winning best rap album for Michael and best rap performance and best rap song for “Scientists & Engineers.” Killer Mike, 48, accepted the awards exuberantly, saying they proved that you’re never too old to rap.
Boygenius’ The Record won best alternative music album. This is the fourth consecutive year that a female solo artist or all-female or female-led group has won in this category. Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters won three years ago. St. Vincent’s Daddy’s Home won two years ago. Wet Leg’s eponymous debut album won last year.
Jack Antonoff became only the second producer to win producer of the year, non-classical three years in a row. The first was Babyface, who managed to threepeat in 1995-97. In his acceptance speech, Antonoff gave thanks to Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey, praising Swift for remaining loyal to him back when he wasn’t that big a name.
Theron Thomas won songwriter of the year, non-classical, a newish category which is in its second year. Thomas’ credits for the year include Lil Durk featuring J. Cole’s “All My Life,” which won best melodic rap performance.
Lainey Wilson’s Bell Bottom Country won best country album, having already won album of the year at both the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Country Music Awards. It’s the ninth album to complete country music’s “triple crown” by winning at all three of these shows. Here’s a list with full details.
“Ghost in the Machine” by SZA featuring Phoebe Bridgers won best pop duo/group performance. This marked the third time in four years that an all-female collab won in that category. Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande’s “Rain on Me” won three years ago. Doja Cat featuring SZA’s “Kiss Me More” won two years ago.
Chris Stapleton took best country solo performance for a record-extending fourth time. Carrie Underwood and Willie Nelson have each won twice in the category. Stapleton won this year for “White Horse.” The song, which Stapleton co-wrote with Dan Wilson, was also voted best country song. A different song with the exact same title (by Taylor Swift and Liz Rose) won in the category 14 years ago.
Joni Mitchell’s Joni Mitchell at Newport (Live) won best folk album, 54 years after she won her first Grammy – best folk performance for Clouds. This Mitchell’s 10th Grammy won in competition.
Metallica won best metal performance for a record-extending seventh time. They won this year for “72 Seasons.”
Karol G’s Mañana Será Bonito, which made history as the first all-Spanish language album by a woman to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200, won best música urbana album. The Colombian singer is the first woman to win in that category. Karol G’s album won album of the year at the 2023 Latin Grammys, which was held on Nov. 16 in Seville, Spain.
Samara Joy, last year’s surprise winner for best new artist, won best jazz performance for “Tight.”
Ludwig Göransson won best score soundtrack for visual mediafor Oppenheimer. The Swedish composer first won in the category five years ago for the first Black Panther.
John Williams won best instrumental composition for “Helena’s Theme” from his score for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. It makes him just the seventh person in Grammy history to win 26 or more Grammys. Beyoncé leads with 32 awards, followed by classical conductor Sir Georg Solti (31), Quincy Jones (28), Alison Krauss (27), Chick Corea (27) and classical conductor Pierre Boulez (also 26).
Williams, who turns 92 on Thursday (Feb. 8), is the fifth-oldest Grammy winner in history. He trails only blues artist Pinetop Perkins, who was 97 when he won in 2011; Tony Bennett, who was 95 when he won in 2022; comedian George Burns, who was 95 when he won in 1991; and former President Jimmy Carter, who was 94 when he won in 2019.
The Beatles’ “I’m Only Sleeping” won best music video, though the Fab Four (or what’s left of it) didn’t personally win. The award went to the video’s director, Em Cooper, and its four producers. The Beatles were credited as winners in the category 27 years ago for “Free as a Bird.”
Michelle Obama became the first first lady or former first lady to win twice for best audio book, narration and storytelling recording. She won this year for The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, having won four years ago for Becoming. Moreover, by winning a second Grammy, Obama pulls even with her husband, who won twice while he was a U.S. Senator. The Obamas are the first First Couple in Grammy history to each become multiple Grammy winners.
Elaine Martone won producer of the year, classical, for the second time. She previously won in 2007. In her acceptance speech, Martone thanked her husband, Robert Woods, who has won seven times in the category. They are the only husband-and-wife team to have each won in this category. Martone is one of three women who have won in that category, along with Joanna Nickrenz (a two-time winner) and Judith Sherman (a seven-time winner). No woman has ever won for producer of the year, non-classical.
Julian Marley & Antaeus’ Colors of Royal won best reggae album. Julian is the fourth member of the Marley family to win in this category, following Ziggy, Damian and Stephen. The patriarch of the family, Bob Marley, died in 1981, three years before the category was introduced.
Dave Chappelle won best comedy album for the fifth time in the past seven years. He won this time for What’s in a Name? He’s one of just four artists to win as many as five times in the category. Bill Cosby leads with seven. George Carlin and Richard Pryor also won five.
The Count Basie Orchestra Directed by Scotty Barnhart won best large jazz ensemble album for Basie Swings the Blues. Basie was a double winner at the very first Grammy Awards in May 1959. The jazz legend died in 1984, so he won’t personally be credited with this year’s win.
Some Like It Hot won best musical theater album, beating, among others, Kimberly Akimbo. This helps makes up for the fact that, at the Tony Awards last June, Kimberly Akimbo beat Some Like It Hot in three key categories – best musical, best book of a musical and best original score written for the theatre.
Three current trustees of the Recording Academy won Grammys. Michael Romanowski won best immersive audio album for a deluxe edition of Alicia Keys’ 2004 album The Diary of Alicia Keys. J. Ivy won best spoken word poetry album for The Light Inside. P.J. Morton won best traditional R&B performance for “Good Morning” (featuring Susan Carol). All three had won previously in those categories. Some have questioned whether their high-profile involvement in the Academy gives them an unfair advantage in the voting.