This is America wins big at Grammys, Musgraves takes best album

This is America wins big at Grammys, Musgraves takes best album
(From left) Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, host Alicia Keys, former US First Lady Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez speak on stage during the 61st Grammy Awards.
PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES - Country artist Kacey Musgraves won album of the year for "Golden Hour", while "This is America" by Childish Gambino won both record and song of the year at the 61st Grammy Awards on Sunday in a breakthrough for rap at the most prestigious honors in the music business.

British pop singer Dua Lipa was named best new artist and popular rapper Cardi B won her first Grammy, taking best rap album for "Invasion of Privacy."

Gambino's searing "This is America," about police brutality and racism, became the first hip-hop track to win record and song of the year Grammys, while Drake made a surprise appearance to accept the Grammy for best rap song for "God's Plan" and Lady Gaga won three trophies.

"This is America" also took Grammys for best music video and best rap performance.

Boy band BTS arrive at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: AFP

Before Sunday the Grammys had frequently shut out hip-hop artists from its top prizes, despite rap's dominance as the biggest music genre in the United States.

Only two albums by hip-hop artists have ever won the album of the year Grammy - Lauryn Hill's "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" in 1999, and Outkast's "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" in 2004.

Musgraves also won for best country album, song and country solo performance.

This year's Grammy nominees were dominated by women and the awards show, hosted by Alicia Keys, reflected that with rousing performances by Gaga, Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Diana Ross, Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monae, Katy Perry and Musgraves.

Shawn Mendes performs at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: Reuters

In the pre-gala ceremony in Los Angeles, at which most of the more than 80 prizes are handed out, folk rocker Brandi Carlile -- this year's most nominated woman -- won her first three Grammys ever, in the Americana and American Roots categories.

Pop royalty Gaga meanwhile won an award in the visual media group for her heart-pounding hit "Shallow" of the blockbuster film "A Star Is Born," and another for best pop solo performance for "Joanne."

"I'm not gonna be able to wear any makeup tonight," Gaga tweeted. "I'm in tears with honour and gratitude."

Genre-bending experimental artist Beck scored the prize for Best Alternative Music Album.

Brandi Carlile arrives at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: Reuters

This year, five of the eight Album of the Year nominations went to female artists: Cardi B, Carlile, Monae, R&B prodigy H.E.R. and country star Musgraves.

In the Best New Artist category, six of the eight nominees are women.

A thrilled Carlile beamed as she accepted three consecutive trophies.

"Americana music is the island of the misfit toys. I am such a misfit," Carlile said, speaking about the difficulties of coming out as a lesbian in her teen years and never attending school dances.

Lady Gaga wins Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Shallow at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: AFP

"To be embraced by this enduring and loving community has been the dance of a lifetime. Thank you for being my island," she said.

In a charming twist, US president Jimmy Carter won his third Grammy in the Spoken World Album category for the audio version of his best-selling book "Faith: A Journey For All."

BACKSTAGE DRAMA

But industry drama was threatening the evening gala, with a number of superstars declining to take part in the glitzy concert portion at the Staples Center.

Pop mega-star Ariana Grande -- who dropped her highly anticipated album "Thank U, Next" just before the Grammys -- slammed producer Ken Ehrlich over her decision not to perform, suggesting he was "lying" about her readiness.

Ricky Martin and Camila Cabello perform at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: Reuters

PRAISE FOR WOMEN 'OVERDUE'

Hopes that women would get their due comes after the head of the Recording Academy -- which includes more than 13,000 music professionals -- told them last year to "step up" if they wanted to do better on Grammys night.

The brazen comment drew outrage and prompted the executive, Neil Portnow, to say he would resign when his contract expires this summer.

Songstress Keys, a 15-time Grammy winner, hosted Sunday's televised ceremony -- the first woman to do so in 14 years.

Keys told CBS news this year's greater representation from women was "far overdue."

Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus perform at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: AFP

She hailed the importance "particularly for women to have our seat at the table, to represent the fact that we are so here and so incredible and we are the creators of our music."

"There's a great respect that is deserved to women and you will see that live embodied on Sunday."

Scroll down for more photos:

Janelle Monae performs at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: Reuters

 

Lauren Daigle wins Best Contemporary Christian Music Album and Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: AFP
Cardi B and Offset arrive at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: Reuters

 

Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga arrive at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: Credits
St Vincent arrives at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: Reuters
Actress Nina Dobrev arrives at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: Reuters
Dua Lipa arrives at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: Reuters
Actress Jameela Jamil arrives at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: Reuters
Actress Tracee Ellis Ross arrives at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: AFP
Post Malone arrives at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: AFP
Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott arrive at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: AFP
Chaka Khan arrives at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: AFP
Music producer Zedd arrives at the 61st Grammy Awards.Photo: AFP

 

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